Biofuelwatch Newsletter March 2020

Dear Biofuelwatch Supporters

Welcome to our first newsletter of 2020 full of updates about campaigns that we – and you – have been supporting, and policy developments. Important reading for anyone who wants to see meaningful responses to climate change and who is concerned about protecting forests and the people and wildlife depending on them from pro-corporate false climate solutions.

In this update you will find:

  1. Coronavirus Update from Biofuelwatch
  2. BlackRock: Defund Deforestation, Drop Drax
  3. Update on Yeo Valley petition
  4. Polluters Out Campaign
  5. Open letter Calling for biomass subsidies to be redirected to clean renewables
  6. Geoengineering Gets Big Push In Deceptive Climate Bill Introduced In California State Legislature

1.Coronavirus Update from Biofuelwatch

We hope you’re all staying safe and well in these uncertain and scary times. No doubt all of you will be observing social distancing and helping to stop the spread of the epidemic. While a lot of people currently have to focus on immediate survival through the Coronavirus crisis, the climate and biodiversity crises continue. At Biofuelwatch, we will continue to speak out for forests and for all our future, using online tools. Needless to say, there will be no street protest outside this year’s Drax AGM (though we hope that Drax and other companies will refrain from holding their AGM other than online in any case). Drax’s AGM is in April. We will be organising some online actions you can all take part in from home to coincide with it, so watch this space for more details coming soon. 

In the meantime, Biofuelwatch has signed up to the Principles for Just Recovery from Covid-19 by civil society organisations – because this problem will be with us for a long time, and the way we respond now needs to take existing struggles and injustices into account.

If you either need extra support from your community during the crisis, or can offer help to others, there are a number of mutual aid groups around the country, you can find out more at Covid Mutual Aid or through this Facebook group.

2.BlackRock: Defund Deforestation, Drop Drax

On March 23rd, 32 organisations worldwide wrote to BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager and third largest shareholder in Drax Plc, asking them to divest from biomass and Drax.

While BlackRock has had a lot of publicity recently over its investments in fossil fuel, timber, agribusiness and pulp and paper companies, its biomass connection has been less in the spotlight until now. 

3.Update on Yeo Valley petition

A huge thank you to everyone who has already signed and shared the petition to ask Yeo Valley to switch its energy supplier from Haven Power, owned by Drax, to clean energy.

So far, almost 900 people have signed and we would be very grateful if you know any other groups who might be interested in sharing it. We also have a facebook post and tweet for sharing on social media. 

Sadly, Yeo Valley is continuing to defend Drax’s biomass burning at the moment.  This page has information about Yeo Valley’s response to the petition and a draft email if you would like to contact Yeo Valley directly to ask them to switch from Drax’s tree burning to a renewable energy supplier. 

You can also email Yeo Valley on and call them on 01761 462 798.

4.Polluters Out Campaign

Last week, we were delighted to join the youth-led Polluters Out online action to call for an end to the influence of fossil fuel companies and other big polluters over UN climate negotiations, including COP26. 

We joined campaigners from around the world in contacting the UN and asking them to end big polluter sponsorship of the UN Conference of the Parties (COP) climate summit and to stop corporate lobbying of climate negotiations. 

This is particularly important for Biofuelwatch as we know that the UK’s biggest polluter and the world’s biggest wood burner, Drax, will be lobbying at COP26. 

If you would like to know more about the Polluters Out campaign, please see here. You can also sign the Polluters Out petition here

5.Open letter Calling for biomass subsidies to be redirected to clean renewables

We are in the process of relaunching our campaign to redirect subsidies for biomass to genuinely low-carbon clean renewables such as wind, wave and solar power. Watch this space for an exciting coalition campaign online soon. In the meantime, we have launched an open letter to the secretary of state for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy which organisations can sign on to. So if you’re part of an environmental organisation, community group or trade union, you can view and sign  the letter by click the below button:

Please help us by getting the letter out to different groups that you’re part of or know and that may sign. If groups have any questions about the content of the letter, please direct them to us and we will be happy to respond.

Please note that at the moment the letter is open to sign ons from groups, not individuals. The campaign launch in April will be based on an action that individuals can take.

6.Geoengineering Gets Big Push In Deceptive Climate Bill Introduced In California State Legislature

Photo: GE eucalyptus trees, Global Justice Ecology Project

Our colleague in California has written a blog on California state legislators surreptitious yet aggressive effort to promote unproven and risky climate geoengineering, California state legislators have recently introduced a bill that places extensive emphasis on the presumed potential of trees, forests and soils for carbon sequestration — while explicitly promoting a climate policy framework vision that celebrates and advances morally hazardous and environmentally dangerous geoengineering technologies for “carbon dioxide removal” (CDR) and “negative emissions.”

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