Dear Biofuelwatch supporter

Welcome to our May 2021 newsletter 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.

@biofuelwatch May 2021 newsletter is out, important reading for anyone wanting to see meaningful responses to #climatechange protecting forests, the people & wildlife depending on them from pro-corporate false climate solutions. Click here To Tweet our newsletter
  1. Drax AGM virtual protest
  2. Open letter to BEIS
  3. International Dawn Chorus Day
  4. Hoodwinked in the Hothouse
  5. German petition
  6. New report: Why EU forests biomass standards wont stop destruction
  7. Standing Trees Vermont
  8. California: Resist the siren call of aviation biofuels
  9. Burned screening- 9th June
  10. IEA Report

Drax AGM virtual protest

A huge thank you to everyone who took part in the Forests Are Not Fuel’ action for Drax’s AGM on the 21st April to protect forests and the climate. 

Please see the link below for a selection of the amazing photos and videos that were posted on the day. Along with the online action, there were some wonderful socially-distanced actions, including at Liverpool’s Peel Ports where millions of tonnes of wood pellets arrive from clear-felled US forests. These pellets are then taken by train across the North of England to burn in Drax in Selby.’ 

In Northampton, where Drax was holding its AGM, the road leading to Drax’s subsidiary, Opus Energy, was blocked by activists.

Open letter to BEIS

Conservation and environmental justice organisations in the USA, Estonia, Canada and Portugal have written an open letter to Mr Kwarteng and Ms. Trevelyan, UK Government Ministers of State for Business, Energy and Clean Growth. The letter is calling on them to take urgent action to stop the UK’s subsidies for biomass electricity and use the money which will be saved on expanding genuinely low-carbon, clean renewable energy sources. 

International Dawn Chorus Day

Sunday 2nd May was ‘International Dawn Chorus Day’ which both Biofuelwatch and Cut Carbon Not Forest Coation (CCNF) took part in. We were delighted to take part to celebrate the magical sound of birdsong. We also aimed to highlight the threat which birds around the world are facing from the wood pellet and biomass industries. Forests in the Southern USA, Canada, Estonia and Latvia are home to many rare and endangered birds but these forests are being logged to provide wood pellets that are shipped to the UK and burned in power stations like Drax. In 2019, the UK imported 8.5 million tonnes of wood pellets and the majority of these pellets were burned at Drax Power Station in Yorkshire which is the world’s largest tree burner. 

This is all done under the premise of ‘green energy’ and subsidised to the tune of millions of pounds a day. But burning trees for electricity actually makes climate change worse, not better. Thank you very much to everyone who shared pictures, dawn chorus videos and messages to call on MPs to take urgent action to protect birds around the world from UK tree burning.

Hoodwinked in the Hothouse

At a time when governments are rolling out climate change policies around the world, activists and experts from climate and environmental justice groups across North America and globally are explaining why real climate solutions must go beyond the greening of business-as-usual and require an entirely different framework for addressing the climate crisis. These groups have come together to publish the Third Edition of ‘Hoodwinked in the Hothouse: Resist False Solutions to Climate Change’ to highlight the need for real solutions that go beyond the profit motive. 

German petition

Two German environmental NGOs, Deutsche Umwelthilfe and ROBIN WOOD, supported by German forester and author of ‘Hidden life of Trees’ Peter Wohlleben, have set up a petition to prevent the burning of wood in converted coal plants in Germany. This has already happened in Wilhelmshaven and Hamburg. The aim is to send the petition to the plant operators and Environmental Ministries of the respective German state governments to help stop the plans for wood burning in German coal plants. To find out more or sign the petition please click the button below:   

New report: Why EU forests biomass standards wont stop destruction

Biofuelwatch is proud to be a co-author of this new report: “Unsustainable and Ineffective: Why EU Forest Biomass Standards Won’t Stop Destruction”. The publication reveals that the European Union (EU) Renewable Energy Directive (RED) sustainability criteria fails to ensure that biomass does not harm forests and fails to ensure that bioenergy helps tackle the climate crisis. The report includes several case studies from British Columbia, Estonia, France, Portugal and Finland.

Standing Trees Vermont

On the 7th and 13th May, two exciting events took place in Vermont. The first was the ‘March of the Trees’. The goal of this march was to remind the state government that if we leave trees standing, they will help mitigate the climate disaster we face by absorbing and storing CO2, helping us avoid ever greater biodiversity loss. The event was hosted by the Upper Valley Affinity Group and supported by Standing Trees Vermont, Bread and Puppet Theater and Extinction Rebellion Vermont. You can view pictures and video of the day here. 

The second event on the 13th May was “A Standing Trees Vermont Conversation” with Danna Smith, executive director of Dogwood Alliance, co-author of “The Great American Stand,” and a leading forest advocate. The discussion was an opportunity for participants to learn about the history of southern forests, discuss strategies and tactics for resistance that can be adapted to help protect forests in the Northeast USA along with opportunities for the future. You can view the recording of this discussion below.

California: Resist the siren of aviation biofuels

Our colleague in California has a new blog on our website which discusses how the aviation industry, with the assistance of elected officials and government agencies, is shifting its focus towards promoting aviation biofuels as a climate solution. Whilst we do need to reduce emissions from aviation dramatically, which would include improving locally-oriented and community-supported ground and marine transportation. The blog explains why such climate dead ends / false climate solutions such as aviation biofuels must be resisted.

Burned screening- 9th June

If you’re free on Wednesday 9th June from 19:30pm UK time , please join Biofuelwatch, West Bristol Climate Action and Cut Carbon not Forests for an online screening of the award-winning documentary “Burned: are trees the new coal?” with special guest speakers from the Southern USA. The film 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 about how we can take action to protect forests. Everyone is welcome!

IEA Report

Finally, you may have seen that the International Energy Agency (IEA) released its report: ‘Net Zero by 2050: A roadmap for the global energy system’ last week. 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. 

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 goes against the evidence which has been put forward by hundreds of scientists and impacted communities.