Dear Biofuelwatch supporter
Welcome to our final update of the year. Thank you to everyone who has supported us throughout the year. With your continued support, we will keep working to ensure we see meaningful responses to climate change, and protection of forests and the people and wildlife depending on them from pro-corporate false climate solutions.
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- 2022 roundup
- Email your MP
- Fuel Poverty Action appeal
- Report: carbon capture from biomass & waste incineration: hype vs reality
- Biofuelwatch appeal
- Barclays Drop Drax
- Axe Drax
- Renewable diesel is not renewable
- Drax and the Green Energy Con
1. 2022 ROUNDUP!
Thank you to everyone who has supported us this year across the globe through our online or in person actions. Our collective voices have continued to speak out for forests, and demand climate justice. Here in the UK Drax has continued with its destructive practices. As we reported in the summer, Drax has applied to the Planning Inspectorate to add unproven carbon capture equipment to two of its wood-burning units at its power station near Selby in Yorkshire. As well as helping Drax argue for the continuation of its destructive tree burning, this also allows for a dangerous reliance on unproven ‘negative emissions’ technology in climate policy. Thank you to everyone who objected to the Planning Inspectorate.
In October this year a BBC Panorama investigation carried out by Joe Crowley into Drax’s sustainability claims revealed that Drax is cutting down primary forests in Canada. Biofuelwatch and our supporters have been sounding the alarm about Drax harming Canadian forests for many years. You can watch the full programme on BBC iPlayer or view a clip and article here.
The brilliant team at Sharklays published an article on their website looking at Barclays’ long association with Drax highlighting a £300m facility (loan) shown in Drax’s most recent annual report. Following this, Biofuelwatch, along with a number of other climate activists and groups, started our campaign to ask Barclays to put an end to its financing of Drax. You can take part in our ‘Barclays Drop Drax’ campaign below.
This year has also seen the creation of The Stop Burning Trees (SBT) Coalition which is made up of groups and individuals coming together to take action against the destructive biomass industry. From environmental campaigners, to trade unionists and health campaigners, the coalition is demanding an end to the biomass industry and the £billions in subsidies given to Drax and other companies for burning trees and polluting.
Working with European partners this year we were pleased to help publish a joint article with Environmental Paper Network, and Dogwood Alliance which exposed Albioma’s greenwashing of their coal-to-biomass conversions in the French Overseas Territories of Martinique, Guadeloupe and Réunion. The French energy company is in the process of converting or replacing at least four coal power plants in French Overseas Territories to biomass. Albioma’s website implies that it relies on sugarcane, but in reality it increasingly burns wood pellets from Enviva, which routinely sources wood, including whole logs from mature trees, from the clearcutting of highly biodiverse coastal hardwood forests in the Southeastern USA.
Thank you to everyone who supported us in person or online for our International Day of Action in April where we sent a collective message to both Vattenfall and Drax that burning wood from trees is not low-carbon and harms forest ecosystems. In October our International Day of Action on Big Biomass was focused on Barclays and its investments in Drax and we took part in the global ‘Wave’ to raise awareness of the global environmental and social impacts of burning forest biomass.
Our colleagues in the USA have been busy raising awareness, challenging decision makers and working together with like-minded activists. In the summer we shared our latest briefing about BlackRock’s harmful investments in energy from forest and tree plantation wood. Our colleague Gary Hughes has been active on the ground in California challenging the conversion of refineries in San Francisco bay to make fuel from food.
2. EMAIL YOUR MP
We are asking for your support to help us protect forests, wildlife, communities and the climate by calling on your MP to stop existing Renewable Obligation Certificate (ROCs) subsidies for tree burning in UK power stations as quickly as possible; to ensure that all future subsidies go to genuinely low carbon energy sources and climate action; and finally, to stop Drax from getting more subsidies under the guise of carbon capture and storage.
3. FUEL POVERTY ACTION
As the cost-of-living crisis and energy crisis soar leaving many people vulnerable this year we are asking if you can support Fuel Poverty Action who campaign to protect people from fuel poverty. They challenge energy companies and unfair policies that leave people to endure cold homes and take action for warm, well-insulated homes and clean and affordable energy, under the control of people and communities, not private companies.
4. REPORT: CARBON CAPTURE FROM BIOMASS & WASTE INCINERATION: HYPE VS REALITY
Biofuelwatch has released a comprehensive report about carbon capture from biomass power and heat plants and from waste incinerators. The report compares the reality of existing projects and the technical challenges they face with claims that such technologies can make a substantial contribution to climate change mitigation and remove CO2 that has been emitted into the atmosphere from fossil fuel burning. The report juxtaposes Drax Group’s limited experience with carbon capture with its extremely ambitious proposals for BECCS at its Yorkshire power station. You can read the full report below:
5. BIOFUELWATCH APPEAL
The UK is burning more imported wood pellets for electricity than any other country in the world. Many of those pellets come from the Southern US, where biodiverse native wetland forests are under threat from the rush for biomass. Forests which are home to thousands of plant and animal species, some of them found nowhere else on the planet, are being clear-cut at a rapid pace and pellets made from those clear-cut forests are being burned by Drax Power Station in the UK. More and more communities are being polluted by giant pellet mills as their forests are cut down and shipped overseas. Biofuelwatch has been working hard to end this madness but we rely on support and funding to be able to do so. Please consider making a donation to Biofuelwatch, to help us continue campaigning against big biomass, and to push for subsidies to be granted instead to genuine low-carbon renewables.
6. BARCLAYS DROP DRAX
Following the recent BBC Panorama investigation into Drax’s logging and burning of trees from some of the world’s most precious forests in Canada, awareness of the devastating impacts of biomass burning is growing. Please help us spread the word further by joining us to call on Barclays Bank to stop funding Drax’s planet-wrecking tree burning.
On Friday 18th Nov along with BankTrack, Environmental Paper Network and Money Rebellion we hosted a webinar on ‘Barclays and Drax’s tree burning – how to stop the money pipeline’. You can watch this below if you missed it.
7. AXE DRAX
Our friends at Axe Drax are still crowdfunding for support towards their legal costs. The Axe Drax team is a group of volunteer activists who want government and corporations to tell the truth about the irreparable damage biomass causes, remove the billions in subsidies given to Drax and other biomass power stations around the UK and instead use this money to fund a just transition including retraining and transferring workers in the biomass industry, funding genuine renewable energy and developing a plan of de-growth and moving away from the profit motive which is fuelling the climate crisis towards community based solutions. Please donate if you are able to support them financially, and share the crowdfunder with others online.@axe_drax need funds to take on the UK's largest carbon emitter, are you able to help so they can keep challenging Drax/UK Government. Funding will be used to cover legal costs for those arrested and charged, and for the materials for… Click To Tweet
8. RENEWABLE DIESEL IS NOT RENEWABLE
Our colleague Gary Hughes in California has written this short op-ed piece which was published in the Eureka Times-Standard in the heart of the redwood region in Northern California.
9. DRAX AND THE GREEN ENERGY CON
In October we ran a webinar called ‘Drax and the Green Energy Con’ with special guest speakers included Michelle Connolly from Conservation North, Tegan Hansen from Stand.Earth and Joe Irving from Axe Drax and the Stop Burning Trees Coalition. They told us more about the recent BBC Panorama and Canadian Broadcasting Corporation investigations into Drax’s logging and burning of trees from some of the world’s most precious forests in Canada. We also heard about Drax’s links to Barclays Bank and discussed how we can take action to protect forests, communities and wildlife around the world from Drax as part of the International Day of Action on Big Biomass on the 21st of October 2022! You can access the webinar here if you missed it: