NEWSLETTER December 2020

Dear Biofuelwatch supporter

Welcome to our final update of the year. Thank you to everyone who has supported us throughout the year. With your continued support, we will keep working to ensure we see meaningful responses to climate change and protection of forests and the people and wildlife depending on them from pro-corporate false climate solutions. 

  1. A brief reflection on 2020
  2. Save Rimrose Valley – Fund-raising appeal
  3. Negative Emission Technology: Can they deliver?
  4. Cut Carbon not Forests
  5. Polluters award
  6. Dirty Wood Pellets plant in California
  7. Papua
  8. New briefing on “forestry residues”
  9. Burned Screening – 18th Jan 2021

A brief reflection on 2020

This year has brought a great deal of uncertainty with COVID-19, but with your support Biofuelwatch and our partners have continued to speak out for forests and demand climate justice. We wanted to share some of these successes with you and say thank you. 

Early on during lockdown and with little possibility of gathering to protest outside Drax’s AGM, many of you supported our first online protest by sending your pictures to our Love Trees #AxeDrax virtual selfie wall

We were also delighted to work with the wonderful #AxeDrax group and other fantastic campaigners to organise online and in-person #AxeDrax actions, including an amazing “End the Drax Train of Destruction” protest in August. You can see some of the pictures and videos of the protest to highlight the devastating impact of Drax’s tree burning here: 

We were very pleased to announce a campaign success in June this year. Many of you contacted your MP or took part in the consultation to ensure that future renewable subsidies are not given to new tree-burning power stations. Following this, we received a letter from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to say that they will be retaining the higher environmental standards for biomass subsidies introduced in 2018. This campaign win would not have been possible without your support and thank you very much for your great help with the consultation. These rule changes apply to future subsidies, called Contracts for Difference; our campaign to redirect existing subsidies, called Renewable Obligation Certificates, to cleaner energy continues.

With many meetings taking place online, this year has also given the opportunity to join with other organisations and take part in webinars and film screenings of the award-winning documentary ‘Burned: are trees the new coal?’ to spread our collective message further. These events include our joint webinars with the UK Youth Climate Coalition on false climate solutions and our session with Global Forest Coalition on forests, bioenergy and monoculture tree plantations at the COP26 Coalition Global Gathering for Climate Justice

Thank you to all that have joined our webinars and made them such a success. You can find recordings to these webinars here

Fundraising appeal

This year, we are asking if you can support this fundraising appeal from the Save Rimrose Valley campaign to oppose Highway England’s plan to build a dual carriage way through Rimrose Valley in Sefton in Liverpool.

The Save Rimrose Valley team is a group of local volunteers who have been campaigning since 2017 to protect the beautiful Rimrose Valley country park from destruction. The group has also been a wonderful supporter of the #AxeDrax campaign.  

If Highway England’s plans for a dual carriageway go ahead, the destruction of Rimrose Valley will mean a whole community losing essential green space and wetland area which is a haven for wildlife. Building the dual carriageway will also see an increase in air pollution which will damage communities, their health and their future. 

Please click below to find out more and see how you can support. Thank you.  

Negative Emission Technology: Can they deliver?

A negative emission technology (NET) is a technological approach to removing greenhouse gases that have already been emitted into the atmosphere. That differs from “mitigation” which focuses on preventing emissions in the first place. Aside from concerns about how future availability of NETs might undermine current and near term mitigation efforts, there are further serious concerns: the technologies that are currently proposed are unproven at commercial scale and may never prove scaleable. They are extremely expensive and could worsen rather than improve our climate woes.

Biofuelwatch has produced a new briefing about Negative Emissions Technologies, with a focus on Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) and Direct Air Capture (DAC). Please click the button below to read more. 

MP alert/ CCNF

Thank you very much to everyone who has already emailed their MP about the exciting new Cut Carbon Not Forests coalition campaign. The campaign is calling on the Government to end over £1 billion in UK renewable subsidies for dirty energy from tree burning in UK power stations. Instead we are calling on the government to invest this money in low-cost and truly clean and renewable energy. 

In order to win the campaign, we need to convince enough MPs to support this ask and call on the Secretary of State to make the necessary legislative changes. 

Please do contact your MP if you have not done so already. The best way to convince MPs tends to be attending a (probably now virtual) surgery. However, don’t worry if you haven’t got time for this, sending an email is great too and you can find a sample email via the link below. If you are outside the UK, please follow the Cut Carbon not Forest Twitter and Facebook pages and spread the word.

Polluters award

The UK polluters awards 2020-21 have just been launched and Biofuelwatch is very excited to join forces with fellow groups working to kick big polluters out of COP26, including, Glasgow Calls Out Polluters, the UK Youth Climate Coalition, Friends of the Earth Scotland, Culture Unstained, BP or not BP? and Medact

You can vote for 4 different awards to find the UK’s biggest polluters, ranging from bogus ‘Net Zero’ pledges to the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award – acknowledging lifelong commitments to dastardly polluting ways. 

This year, Drax has been nominated for three out of the four awards for its climate-wrecking tree burning, its links to environmental injustice and its plans to build the UK’s largest ever fossil gas power station. Drax is nominated for the (Net) Zero Credibility Award, the Slimiest Greenwashing Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award and we need your help to get as many votes as possible for the UK’s biggest carbon emitter and the world’s biggest tree burner! 

Dirty Wood Pellets plant in California 

Our colleague in California has recently written a blog which is highly recommended to read (link below). The blog is about a small rural Northern California indigenous and Latinx community of Calpella where the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) have certified Mendocino Redwood Company who have constructed and begun to operate a small scale (35,000 tons/year) wood pellet manufacturing plant. Local activists have uncovered documentation which highlights the mill was sited, constructed and began operation with absolute no public notice and no opportunity for public comment. 

The ongoing difficulty in getting clear and transparent answers to questions about the pollution controls installed at the plant, as well as other related matters that the local community has raised as concerns, remains a reason to question the degree to which the FSC brand and logo can be used to cover up and distract the public and consumers from the real environmental and social harms associated with the manufacture of products that carry the FSC label. Biofuelwatch will continue to work with partners to illuminate this case study and the potential public health impacts of biomass energy. To read the full blog and find out more please click the button below: 


With colleagues from Rainforest Rescue, Environmental Paper Network, GFC, GRAIN, Pusaka, Walhi, and others, we have launched new campaign work to raise awareness and provide support to groups in Indonesia who are facing several proposed new “food estates”, in conjunction with new legislation that will limit the ability of local and indigenous peoples to resist land grabbing and destruction of their forests. 

Prior food estate programs, such as the “Mega rice” project essentially handed over large areas of peatland forest to logging and palm oil interests, and never produced food.  They were a social and environmental disaster and there is little basis for assuming these new proposals will be any different. International solidarity with activists in Papua and throughout Indonesia is of paramount importance – especially given growing recognition of the important role of intact forest ecosystems for our climate, and the looming threat of vast new demands for palm oil for the aviation sector.

New Briefing on “Forestry Residues”

It is often claimed that burning forest residues is better for the climate and less harmful to the environment than burning whole logs for energy. A new Biofuelwatch briefing shows that this a myth and that, in fact, the legal definitions in the UK and EU allow any amount of whole logs to be classified as a ‘forestry residue’. Furthermore, removing treetops, twigs, leaves and even stumps from forest and tree plantations depletes soil nutrients and soil carbon and thus harms future tree growth, as well as harming other species

Online Burned Screening 18th Jan 2021

If you’re free on Monday 18th January at 7.30pm, please join Biofuelwatch and Climate Friendly Bradford on Avon for an online screening of the award-winning documentary “Burned: are trees the new coal?” which reveals the shocking destruction of our forests for fuel and highlights how we can take action to protect forests from tree burning in UK power stations. We’ll be joined by special guest speakers and everyone is welcome! You can sign up for free here: 

We are planning more online screenings and webinars in the new year in collaboration with groups fighting the wood pellet industry in the southern US and Estonia. If you, or a group you are part of, are interested in organising an event with us , please email us at