Newsletter September 2020

We hope that you and your loved ones are keeping safe and well at this difficult time and that you have had a good summer. As we look forward to the start of autumn, we have some exciting campaign updates and upcoming events to share with you.

1. Cut Carbon not Forests  

2. ‘Net zero festival’ of false solutions 

3. Petition – protect planned nature reserve in Swedish Lapland

4. Webinars 

5. #AxeDrax End the Train of Destruction Protests 

6. Open Letter to transfer existing subsidies from tree-burning to renewables

7. Biofuelwatch Sounds Alarm on Sudden Pivot to Biofuels in California Refinery Sector

8. No to Genetic Engineering in our Forests 

9. Burned screenings

10. Crowdfunding Appeal to Stop the Portland Waste Incinerator in Dorset

Cut Carbon Not Forests

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.  

‘Net Zero Festival’ of false solutions

From 30 September – 2 October 2020, an online ‘Net Zero Festival’ will be showcasing a range of ‘solutions’ to the climate emergency. But the phrase ‘net zero’ has opened a door to a host of false solutions that will set us back in the fight for climate justice.

Among other speakers, the Net Zero Festival will give a platform to companies including Shell, Drax and Heathrow Airport.

Far from tackling the climate crisis, many of these companies have a history of serious human rights abuses and nature destruction. Others promote false solutions such as ‘net-zero aviation’ that are simply a smokescreen for further land grabs and deforestation. We cannot allow net-zero to be a doorway to further corporate control of the climate. 

Biofuelwatch in collaboration with the UK Youth Climate Coalition is planning two webinars in the week before the festival with speakers from Biofuelwatch, Stay Grounded, Friends of the Earth, Global Forest Coalition and Possible, so we can collectively learn about these false solutions and challenge them together. 

This webinar series will give a brief overview of some of the false solutions being promoted under the banner of ‘net zero’. The first webinar on 23rd September will focus on Bioenergy, a type of geoengineering known as Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS), Nature-Based Solutions and Net-Zero Aviation. The second on 29th September will focus on “Green” Flights, Gas, Nuclear & Incineration. both will take place from 7pm -8:30pm (BST). Please come along to learn more about the issues and we can take action together. 

Petition – protect planned nature reserve in Swedish Lapland

Please support this urgent petition from our friends at Skydda Skogen to help protect the Karatj-Råvvåive old-growth forest in Northern Sweden from logging.

The forest company that owns the land has been lobbying to turn the southern part of the forest into a so-called ‘eco park’ instead of giving the forest real protection as a nature reserve. If the ‘eco park’ plan is approved, forest management would be allowed, including logging. The petition is calling for the whole forest to be preserved as a vital nature reserve. 

You can find out more about why we need to protect the Karatj-Råvvåive as a nature reserve here and by watching the above video. 


Would you like to know more about biomass, bioenergy and how we can take action to protect forests from tree burning in power stations?

Along with our Net Zero webinars in September, we are delighted to announce a series of Biofuelwatch webinars in the next few weeks which will be available to watch live online or later on our website.

Please watch this space for more information in the coming month. 

#AxeDrax End the Train of Destruction Protests

A huge thank you to everyone that took part in the ‘End the Drax Train of Destruction’ protest on the 14th of August 2020.

This was an amazing coordinated action by the #AxeDrax group across 10 locations in the North of England which included groups from Friends of the Earth, Extinction Rebellion, The Save Rimrose Valley Campaign, The Stockport Climate Action Group, local Green Party groups, Unison and Biofuelwatch. You can see some of the fantastic photos, videos and press articles about the protest here

Actions ranged from banner drops to puppet shows and socially-distanced community outreach. The peaceful and creative protests were calling for an end to Drax’s tree burning and the Drax ‘trains of destruction’ which carry millions of tonnes of wood pellets from ports in Liverpool, Hull & Immingham to burn at Drax Power Station in Selby. Many of these pellets come from clear-felled biodiverse forests in Europe and the Southern USA.

You can find out more about the Liverpool #AxeDrax protest and the links between Drax and the campaign to save Rimrose Valley here. You can also see videos of the #AxeDrax protests in Warrington, Rochdale, Sowerby Bridge in the Calder Valley and outside Drax here

If you’d like to find out more about the #AxeDrax group and how you can get involved in future #AxeDrax actions, please see here or you can email

The group has members from across the UK and we meet every Monday at 5pm on zoom. Everyone is welcome!

Open Letter to transfer existing subsidies from tree-burning to renewables

Our campaign to redirect around £1 billion in existing renewable subsidies from tree burning in power stations like Drax to genuinely lower-carbon renewables, including wind and solar power, continues. Drax alone receives £2.1 million per day in renewable subsidies which are paid for through a surcharge on our energy bills. 

To take action, we have an Open Letter for community, environmental, trade union and health groups to ask the Government to transfer these subsidies from tree burning to renewables. If you are part of a group and would like to sign the letter you can do this by filling in the google form found here or emailing us Please also share this with any groups who may want to be involved. More information on why we need to scrap subsidies for biomass can be found here 

Biofuelwatch Sounds Alarm on Sudden Pivot to Biofuels in California Refinery Sector

Biofuelwatch’s US team also has important updates about plans to convert oil refineries into biofuel plants in California.The Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) is a high profile but poorly understood markets-based mechanism implemented by California state authorities as a foundational element of the state’s vaunted climate portfolio. The  stated objective of the LCFS is to gradually reduce the ‘carbon intensity’ of liquid fuels used in the state through a variety of technical practices, as well as promoting the broader use of biofuels. 

The substantial subsidies for biofuel production currently available under the LCFS has combined with the recent collapse in traditional energy markets such as petroleum to cause significant convulsions in the California fuel refining sector. One recent development is the leveraging of the false promise of biofuels by Big Oil giant Phillips 66 to disarm the local community organizing against expansion of their operations by announcing the conversion of their north San Francisco Bay refinery to the largest ‘renewable diesel’ manufacturing facility on the planet. 

Biofuelwatch took the opportunity of offering comment on the update of the Integrated Energy Planning Report by the California Energy Commission to offer a stark warning about the severe social and environmental limits of biofuels. Ongoing Biofuelwatch research on the LCFS has prompted our organization to sound an alarm more broadly about the dangers of the mechanism perpetuating a long term lock in on fossil fuels while using the fake green spin of biofuels to confuse the public about the harsh climate realities of biofuel feedstock production and manufacturing.

No to Genetic Engineering in our Forests

We would also be grateful if you would like to support this urgent petition to stop the planting of genetically engineered (GE) chestnut trees in America. Researchers developing an engineered American chestnut, supposed to resist the blight that drove the tree to near extinction, are applying for USDA permits to enable widespread distribution. This would be the first GE forest tree, and the first time a GE organism was released with the intention to allow it to spread freely through ecosystems. 

Posing as a philanthropic effort to restore a beloved tree species, the Genetically Engineered American Chestnut will open the floodgates to the release of many other GE forest trees, most of which are engineered for characteristics useful for bioenergy and pulp production. Biofuelwatch is working to prevent the release of GE AC – and we need your support. Please sign the petition below  to send a clear message to reject GE trees. 

Burned screening 

If you or a group you are part of are interested in organising a 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 power stations, please email us at 

Crowdfunding Appeal to Stop the Portland Waste Incinerator in Dorset

Finally, we are supporting a community crowdfunding campaign in Portland in Dorset to oppose the construction of a huge waste incinerator on the beautiful and iconic north-east coast of the Isle of Portland. 

There are major concerns that the new waste incinerator would increase traffic congestion and air pollution for local communities as well as CO2 emissions. It would also threaten areas of great ecological importance for flora and fauna and the pollutants from the chimney stack emissions would threaten exceptionally rare and sensitive plants and insects, such as butterflies, which are vulnerable to nitrogen deposition and changes in air quality.  

The crowdfunding appeal is aiming to raise £11,000 to fund campaign expenses, especially professional Planning, Ecology and Air Quality reports as well as leaflet printing and advertising.