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New IEA report projected to increase ‘modern’ bioenergy generation globally

Today the International Energy Agency (IEA) has released its report: ‘Net Zero by 2050: A roadmap for the global energy system’. According to the report’s ‘Net Zero Emissions’ scenario an almost three times increase in ‘modern’ bioenergy generation globally is projected by 2050, alongside a huge increase in land used for bioenergy production. An area the size of Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay combined is estimated to be required, including industrially-logged forests, tree plantations and energy crops. This could see the most vulnerable communities being denied access to forest resources, and suffering from land grabs for commercial interests as supply chains are commodified. 

The IEA’s model represents an alarming shift from ‘traditional’ biomass, which includes communities accessing wood for cooking or heating, to ‘modern’ bioenergy, which is mostly commercialised biomass. This model would not help communities gain access to clean technologies, or alleviate health impacts associated with burning biomass. By relying heavily on bioenergy to meet climate goals and promoting false climate solutions and dangerous industries, the IEA is also ignoring the overwhelming evidence on the issue, and the voices of hundreds of scientists and impacted communities.

This adds to the current impact of biomass burning, making the projection a disaster for forests. Drax power station in the UK is already the world’s largest tree burner, with much of the wood burnt coming from clear felled biodiverse forests in the Southeastern USA, Canada and Europe. This logging and tree burning is destroying forests, harming wildlife, polluting communities and making the climate crisis worse. The IEA proposal in this report to increase tree burning in power stations will be an even greater disaster for forests, wildlife, communities and the climate. The global impact this will have on the climate has recently been summarized in a letter which was signed by 500 scientists.  

We are asking you to lend your voice to send a clear message that we are: 

1) Calling on governments to protect and restore forests around the world, not to log them and burn them in power stations for energy. Those in the UK can contact their MP here.  

2) Calling on governments to transfer subsidies from climate-wrecking tree burning in power stations to genuinely renewable energy such as wind and solar power.