Dear Biofuelwatch supporter
Welcome to our first newsletter of 2021 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.
- Greenhouse Gas Removal (GGR) consultation deadline 26th Feb!
- Drax Update
- MP alert – Cut Carbon Not Forests
- Estonia – Money to Burn
- Dr. Richard Dixon article on BECCS
- California Refinery Conversion Permitting Process Underway
- Biofuelwatch and Community Radio Media Outreach in California
- UK Polluter Awards
- Burned Screenings
- Myth buster video
1. Greenhouse Gas Removal (GGR) consultation deadline 26th Feb!
Thank you to everyone who has already submitted a response to the GGR consultation to ask the UK government not to fund false solutions like bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) from burning trees in power stations. There are still a few more days left to get yours in if you haven’t done so already. Please follow the link below to submit your response.
To help, there is a draft email which you are very welcome to personalise or simply complete your basic details and submit as it is. You can read more about the consultation by clicking the link below. Please help us tell policymakers that public money must be spent on real solutions, not dangerous distractions.
2. Drax update
Drax has been in the news a lot recently for various reasons. Most significantly, Drax has been fined $2.5 million for air quality violations in Mississippi, around its Amite wood pellet facility. This is the largest known penalty of its kind against a biomass company.
The air quality testing that led to the fine was done in 2017-18, but the case has taken this long to conclude, so local residents are likely to have been exposed to similar levels of pollution in the intervening years.
Sadly, the one-off $2.5 million fine is a similar amount to the £2 million that Drax receives every single day from the UK government which allow it to continue these dirty practices.
Drax has also announced its intention to acquire a major wood pellet company – Canadian Pinnacle Pellets. As well as making itself a bigger contender in wood pellet supplies, this will mean Drax is more closely implicated in the felling and burning of precious forests in Canada, including Caribou habitat. Read more from Canadian NGO Stand Earth.
And a piece of good news in the fight against fossil fuels, Drax is unlikely to go ahead with its proposed 3GW gas-fired power station despite the unbelievable high court ruling in its favour. Drax has framed its abandonment of the gas project in terms of a renewed optimism on Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage, which would also be bad news for the climate.
3. MP alert – Cut Carbon Not Forests
We continue to be an active member of the 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 and 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 online 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 have contacted your MP, thank you so much we would love to read any responses they have sent you. Please do forward these to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
4. Estonia – Money to Burn
We are delighted to share an article by Money to Burn which is an investigation by a team of journalists and European newsrooms looking into everything related to the biomass trade, from subsidies, to certifications, to the European Lobby.
This particular article focuses on Estonia and its exports of pellets overseas which is having an harmful impact on the country’s forests.
5. Dr. Richard Dixon article on BECCS
Dr Richard Dixon, Director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, has written an article in The Scotsman about a recent report by Friends of The Earth on the disastrous impact of governments and companies who push the idea of Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) as a way of doing little about the climate crisis but presenting a positive front. The report highlighted that there is no active carbon capture and storage (CCS) plant in Europe, and in other parts of the world CCS plants are being used to extract more oil.
The article is further evidence that BECCS is not a solution to the climate crisis we find ourselves in. Please read the full article below.
6. California Refinery Conversion Permitting Process Underway
Our Colleague, Gary, based in California has been following refineries switching to biofuels in the Bay area which is being fast tracked since the pandemic as people stopped driving and flying. He has written a blog, linked below, uncovering one of the greatest challenges in the climate crisis which is to decipher and unmask the climate traps that are being paraded as solutions.
The pivot in the California refinery sector towards biofuels is a worrying development which we should be paying close attention to and reviewing. To find out more and ready the full blog clicking the button below.
7. Biofuelwatch and Community Radio Media Outreach in California
We are pleased to share podcasts that our colleague in the USA, Gary, has been hosting on a range of issues related to our work in the USA and particularly California and Chile. Podcasts have been a great way to reach out to a wider audience during the pandemic and the shows are a must listen. Gary has very kindly shared the links to shows which aired this year. We will try to update these on our website but please also feel free to follow the shows to get updates.
8. UK Polluter Awards
The UK polluters awards 2020-21 are still accepting votes, so please do get your votes in. These are a collaboration which includes Biofuelwatch, 350.org, Glasgow Calls Out Polluters, the UK Youth Climate Coalition, Friends of the Earth Scotland, Culture Unstained, BP or not BP? and Medact, joining forces to kick big polluters out of the COP26 international climate summit.
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 and its links to environmental injustice.. Drax is nominated (among some stiff competition) 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!
9. Burned Screenings
We have two screenings coming up:
Please do join us the online screening of this 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 also have time for a discussion with guest speakers including from the southern USA about how we can take action to protect forests. Everyone is welcome!
10. Myth buster video
There are many myths about biomass but the reality is that biomass electricity threatens our climate and degrades forests, yet our government continues to call it green energy. As part of the Cut Carbon Not Forests coalition campaign, Rita from Dogwood Alliance breaks down common myths about biomass and explains why billions in subsidies must end now.
The video is based on this series of mini reports and factsheets busting the myths perpetuated by the biomass industry. To find out more about the Cut Carbon Not Forests campaign visit the website here, please also follow on twitter and Facebook if you have not done so already.