Welcome to our final newsletter of 2023 full of updates about campaigns that we – and you – have been supporting, and policy developments. 

1. Reflection on the year

2. MP Pledge

3. Fundraising appeal 

4. Update from California 

5. Big biomass appears in an invisibility cloak in the COP28 decision

1.Reflection on the year

We started the year by sharing our 15 year report which looked back at some of our campaigning over the years in the UK, Europe, USA and beyond. Our reflection has inspired us to document the amazing work which is ongoing through an annual review, the first of which we published early this year. Thank you to everyone who has taken part in our calls to action, online and in person. We will continue to challenge climate wrecking companies, and the false solutions promoted by Drax, and Lynemouth, to help protect communities and forests across the globe.  

Campaigning in the UK: We joined and hosted a number of actions this year including The Big One and Drax AGM, we have added a selection of photos and videos of this to our website which you can see by clicking here. On the 15th and 16th of September Biofuelwatch joined campaigners from around the world for a weekend of action calling for an end to climate wrecking fossil fuels and tree burning. Actions included rallies in London, Leeds and Edinburgh, a two day Barclays protest in Liverpool, and online photo actions. Following the actions in September we turned our attention to mobilise for the International Day of Action Against Big Biomass on the 19th October. We were part of a network of over 200 NGOs globally taking action to highlight the negative environmental and social impacts of large scale biomass energy. We were joined by activists in London, Liverpool and York outside Barclays to highlight the bank’s financing of biomass, and calling on it to “Drop Drax”. We also took part alongside other organisations in challenging Drax’s application for consent to develop BECCS at its Selby plant. We have also continued to host and present at webinars and workshops. Thank you to everyone who has joined us, if you missed any you can find all our webinars and videos on our YouTube channel here.

Stop Burning Trees: It’s been a busy year for the Stop Burning Trees Coalition! From coalition members working tirelessly on objecting to Drax’s BECCS application, to organising protests outside DESNZ, Drax’s AGM, Barclays and around the UK – the coalition has been doing everything it can to resist Drax’s greenwash. Alongside Biofuelwatch and other coalition members we’ve launched e-actions, putting pressure on politicians around the country to stop the subsidy regime. In Yorkshire, SBT has been part of a number of campaigns including calling on York Pride to cut ties with Drax; calling on universities to #DropDrax from careers fairs; and working on a local outreach strategy to help raise awareness of the harm Drax is committing and, most importantly, the green transformation we could have if we redirected tree burning subsidies to genuine renewables and green jobs.

US campaigning: In the Western US our colleague has played an active role alongside other groups working in coalition to stop the arrival of the global wood pellet industry to California. Our education and advocacy has also aimed to address and mitigate the harms of a dangerous turn to liquid biofuels which we are seeing in the state. Biofuelwatch also continues to serve on the steering committee for the Campaign to Stop GE Trees. This past year has seen ongoing efforts to raise awareness about the underlying motivations for genetically engineering trees. 

Campaigning in Europe: We continue our campaigning work outside of the UK in other European countries through networking with and supporting NGOs and grassroots groups in Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands, Estonia, Portugal and the west Balkans, you can see more in our annual report. 

Thank you again to everyone who has supported our campaigns throughout the year globally, while we have given a brief reflection here there is so much more we have included in our annual report. 

2. MP Pledge

Our MP pledge is still ongoing, if you have not done so already please email your MP about the pledge here, if you have already contacted your MP and have received a reply please email the reply to us at as we can help you with a response. Better still, one of the most effective ways to engage with your MP is to meet with them. If you have written to your MP and not received a reply you can call them asking for a response to your email or you can ask to meet them face to face. We have prepared lots of resources here which can help you. 

3. Fundraising Appeal

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. Update from California

Our colleague in California has added a new blog addressing concerns about authorities in California continuing their push for liquid biofuels despite a series of red flag warnings about public safety and climate impacts. You can read the full blog below:

5. Big biomass appears in an invisibility cloak in the COP28 decision

Our Colleagues at EPN released a PR this week on COP28 decision text which heightens concern over big biomass energy expansion, its high carbon emissions and community impacts. You can read more here.