Dear Biofuelwatch supporter
Welcome to our packed October 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.
- Website Questionnaire
- Call out for writing volunteers
- BECCS myth busting video and International Day of Action on Big Biomass
- Global day of Action for Climate Justice and the peoples Summit for Climate Justice.
- Polluters Award results
- GE Trees are not a climate solution
- California Legislation
- California Biofuel Refinery projects
- CCNF Say no to burning trees for energy petition
- Burned screening
As you will have seen from one of our previous mail outs we are looking at making improvements to our website. To help us with this we would really like to know your views. We have pulled together a short questionnaire which you can access below, if you haven’t already, please do fill this in. Thank you to all those who have already done so.
Call out for writing volunteers
We are looking for people who can write occasional letters to the editor of local and national newspapers in response to articles that promote the biomass industry or false solutions to climate change. If you have time to write letters in a relatively short time frame, and don’t mind us contacting you when we see articles that need a response, please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘writing volunteers’ in the subject and we’ll add you to our list. Please tell us which area you live in and whether you have any particular areas of interest or knowledge about biomass, climate change, energy or forest ecosystems. We are particularly looking for people based in Yorkshire and the Humber to respond to claims made by Drax in the local media.
BECCS myth busting video and International Day of Action on Big Biomass
Thursday 21st October was a day of action where Biofuelwatch joined groups from around the world to raise awareness of the impacts of large scale Biomass. Thank you to those who participated in the online actions by posting and sharing on social media.
One of the biggest false solutions which is being promoted by the industry and global leaders is bio-energy with carbon capture and storage, or BECCS for short. To raise awareness on this day of action we released two videos which aim to bust some myths about BECCS.
Global day of Action for Climate Justice and The People’s Summit for Climate Justice
The ‘Global Day of Action for Climate Justice’ will take place on November 6th. This will be a mass mobilisation across the world to bring together movements to build power for system change. Linked to this the ‘People’s Summit for Climate Justice’ will take place between 7th and 10th November. A programme of events has been set up which you can join in person in Glasgow and also online so you can take part globally. If you want to know how you can get involved in both click the button below.
Polluter Awards results
Thank you to everyone who voted in the Scottish and UK polluter awards which were organised by Glasgow Call Out Polluters in collaboration with Culture Unstained, UK Youth Climate Coalition, 350.org, Biofuelwatch, Impact, and Friends of the Earth Scotland. Winners have been announced with Drax winning 3 out of the 4 categories it was nominated for in the UK polluter awards.
@DraxGroup chainsawed and burned their way through the competition to take home our Lifetime Achievement Award!— Glasgow Calls Out Polluters (GCOP) (@Ggow_COP) October 2, 2021
Thanks to the Drax Tower @biofuelwatch and @LiverpoolFoE for accepting the award.
Watch the awards: https://t.co/pIlQgnFKTW pic.twitter.com/kl4UYEh4DT
GE Trees are not a climate solution
The campaign to stop Genetically Engineered (GE) Trees released a statement last month to counter the efforts of GE tree researchers who are sinking their teeth into the climate crisis as the next great way to get their GE trees commercialised.
Genetically engineered trees are not a climate solution. They are a dangerous distraction, and a threat to forests and communities that will worsen the climate crisis rather than fix it. As concern about the climate crisis intensifies, so does rhetoric surrounding the role of trees and carbon storage. The science is clear that halting the destruction of forests, including respecting the territorial rights of communities and peoples who depend on forests, is among the most effective, proven, and available means of removing carbon from the atmosphere, and that undisturbed forests with diverse species, rich intact soils and deadwood store far more carbon than industrial tree plantations.
Despite this established science, the tree biotechnology industry and its allies in academia are cynically capitalising on the climate crisis to promote their genetically engineered (GE) trees as a climate “solution.” GE trees are being designed specifically to be cut on short rotations to provide a rapid supply of wood to the so-called “bioeconomy” for bioenergy, biochemicals and bioplastics, wood for construction, alternatives to concrete, and many other purportedly “green” uses. Please read and share the full statement to spread awareness about yet another false solution being promoted.
Our colleague Gary in California reports on two bills as the California legislative session draws to an end. One of these being the ‘Net Zero’ Bill. This bill endeavored to further expand the legal framework for the promotion of controversial carbon capture technologies in nearly every imaginable form and was supported by a large array of mainstream climate and corporate environmental organisations, as well as an array of green capitalist trade associations. The bill was put up to vote in the Senate on the last day and failed to pass. Though it was given the right to reconsideration by the consensus of the Senate, it never received another vote and instead was sent to the inactive file. Grassroots climate justice groups from around the state breathed a sigh of relief, while corporate environmentalists argued this was a special opportunity to find a unique ‘compromise’ with the fossil fuel industry on CCS, essentially supporting an approach to climate that has been rejected by the climate justice community in the state, the nation and around the world. California may have temporarily dodged a ‘net zero’ bullet, but there can be no doubt that the dangerous traps of ‘net zero’ remain across the policy landscape and will emerge to cause major problems again in the not so distant future.
The second bill which received far less media and political attention was the ‘Carbon Dioxide Removal’ geoengineering bill. The Trojan Horse element of the bill lies in how, deep in the text of the bill about ‘natural’ sequestration, language was embedded explicitly promoting Direct Air Capture, Carbon Capture Use and Sequestration, and even Carbon Capture and Mineralisation, an unproven geoengineering concept which was amended into the bill at the very last moment. This bill was overwhelmingly approved and is now on the desk of Governor Newsom awaiting his signature to become law. However environmental justice coalitions, which Biofuelwatch is working with, are continuing their push back on this, you can read more on this below.
California Biofuel Refinery projects
Thousands of pages of draft environmental review documents for two massive proposed California refinery conversions to biofuels were released earlier this month, setting the clock ticking for public engagement on the permitting of these unprecedented bioenergy facilities.
The documents show that comments provided by concerned organisations during the ‘Scoping’ phases have been largely ignored. County authorities have also stated that a public hearing may not take place. This means those that participate or have concerns may not get the opportunity to voice these in person. Even though there are signals that the authorities responsible for these projects are more interested in protecting polluter investments and corporate profits, we will continue to speak out on protecting people and the planet and work with others doing the same.
Webinars: Carbon Capture and Storage : green solution or climate disaster?
We were delighted to host this webinar in collaboration with Corporate Europe Observatory, Climate and Energy Program with the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) and Friends of the Earth Scotland. As the UK prepares to host the UN COP26 Climate Conference in November 2021, more and more politicians, companies and business leaders are promoting carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies as a contribution to ‘net zero emissions’ (a term widely used to justify carbon offsets and all sorts of false climate solutions). Amongst the companies promoting CCS from hydrogen production and biomass power plants are some of our biggest polluters, such as BP, Shell, Ineos and Drax. This evening of inspiring speakers highlighted why CCS is a dangerous distraction from the real actions and solutions we need.
Actions and demonstrations
Thank you to everyone who joined us on Tuesday 19th October for an online action and in person demonstration to take over the publicity of the world’s biggest tree burner, Drax, as the company attended the Global Investment Summit in London. The Global Investment Summit is designed to showcase “green technology” ahead of COP26. Drax was using the Summit to promote its climate-wrecking tree burning and its unproven bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) technology, despite admitting to climate campaigners in March this year that its carbon capture and storage claims are not based on any real-world evidence (click button below to read full statement)
The Global Investment Summit was held at the Science Museum which has just signed a new sponsorship deal with the polluting mining company Adani. The Museum already has deals with BP, Shell, Equinor and Drax, who is the sponsor of this event.
CCNF says no to burning trees for energy petition
There’s still time to sign the petition from the Cut Carbon Not Forest coalition, of which Biofuelwatch is part, telling the government to stop burning trees for energy. Thanks to a big push on the International Day of Action on Biomass on Thursday it’s very close to 30,000 signatures, and we’d love to see that number get as high as possible.
BURNED tells the little-known story of the accelerating destruction of our forests for fuel, and probes the policy loopholes, huge subsidies, and green-washing of the biomass industry. In the Southeastern US, trees are being cut down and shipped to Europe to be burned primarily in Drax Power Station in Yorkshire, the largest biomass power station in the world. Far from the renewable energy source the industry claims it to be, biomass can be as much or more polluting than coal, and the clear-felling of trees is having devastating effects for nearby communities and the surrounding biodiversity.
If you or a group you are part of are interested in organising a screening of this award winning documentary please email us at: email@example.com. We may be able to organise guest speakers from wood pellet-sourcing regions shown in the film.