Monthly Archives: February 2017

Adapting to Sea-Level Rise – 5/2014


Published on May 14, 2014

Around the world sea level is rising. Compounded by stronger and more frequent storms, lives and infrastructure well beyond beaches and ocean front properties are increasingly at risk for flooding and worse. Protecting natural barriers and wetlands from additional development, along our coastlines and in impacted inland waterways, is critical to saving wildlife and helping to prevent new catastrophic loss resulting from events like super storm Sandy. Coastal states are now developing additional adaptation projects to help protect communities, industry and agriculture in flood prone areas. (Documentary).

5-2014 We’ve updated the preview clip for our documentary currently in production, “Adapting to Sea-Level Rise.” New interviews in Washington DC with Manley Fuller of Florida Wildlife Federation and former US Representative for Delaware and Co-Author of the Coastal Barrier Resources Act, Tom Evans.

£450m lost over failed green power programme | News | The Times & The Sunday Times
Ben Webster, Environment Editor

February 23 2017, 12:01am, The Times

Britain is wasting hundreds of millions of pounds subsidising power stations to burn American wood pellets that do more harm to the climate than the coal they replaced, a study has found.

Chopping down trees and transporting wood across the Atlantic Ocean to feed power stations produces more greenhouse gases than much cheaper coal, according to the report. It blames the rush to meet EU renewable energy targets, which resulted in ministers making the false assumption that burning trees was carbon-neutral.

Green subsidies for wood pellets and other biomass were championed by Chris Huhne when he was Liberal Democrat energy and climate change secretary in the coalition government. Mr Huhne, 62, who was jailed in 2013 for perverting the course of justice, is now European chairman of Zilkha Biomass, a US supplier of wood pellets.

…(read more).

Burning wood for energy makes global warming worse

New Scientist

Published on Feb 23, 2017

Countries in the EU, including the UK, are throwing away money by subsidising the burning of wood for energy, according to an independent report. Read more:

The EU’s renewable energy policy is making global warming worse | New Scientist

Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty

By Michael Le Page

Countries in the EU, including the UK, are throwing away money by subsidising the burning of wood for energy, according to an independent report.

While burning some forms of wood waste can indeed reduce greenhouse gas emissions, in practice the growing use of wood energy in the EU is increasing rather than reducing emissions, the new report concludes.

Overall, burning wood for energy is much worse in climate terms than burning gas or even coal, but loopholes in the way emissions are counted are concealing the damage being done.

“It is not a great use of public money,” says Duncan Brack of the policy research institute Chatham House in London, who drew up the report. “It is providing unjustifiable incentives that have a negative impact on the climate.”

The money would be better spent on wind and solar power instead, he says.

It is widely assumed that burning wood does not cause global warming, that it is “carbon neutral”. But the report, which is freely available, details why this is not true.

More emissions

Firstly, burning wood produces more carbon dioxide, methane and nitrogen dioxide per unit of energy produced than coal. When forests are logged, their soils also release carbon over the next decade or two. There are also emissions from the transport and processing of wood, which can be considerable.

…(read more).

Biomass subsidies ‘not fit for purpose’, says Chatham House | Carbon Brief

Subsidies should end for many types of biomass, a new Chatham House report argues, because they are failing to help cut greenhouse gas emissions.

The report adds that policymakers should tighten up accounting rules to ensure the full extent of biomass emissions are included.

The analysis outlines how policies intended to boost the use of biomass are in many cases “not fit for purpose” because they are inadvertently increasing emissions by often ignoring emissions from burning wood in power stations and failing to account for changes in forest carbon stocks.

It argues that UK and recently revised EU rules for bioenergy are inadequate for managing and monitoring the emissions from burning biomass.

Carbon Brief examines the main arguments of the report, which cut through the long-running debate about the climate impacts of burning biomass.

Contentious issue

The rising demand for renewable power around the world has led to a large increase in the production and burning of wood pellets. Advocates, such as power firm Drax – the UK’s largest biomass user – argue they are more reliable for providing baseload power than other renewables, such as wind or solar.

Worldwide production hit a record 28 million tonnes (Mt) in 2015, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), up from under 20Mt just three years earlier. Meanwhile, the UK has become the world’s largest importer of wood pellets, burning 42% of the 15.5Mt of total global imports in 2015.

…(read more).

Most wood energy schemes are a ‘disaster’ for climate change – BBC News
By Matt McGrath Environment correspondent

23 February 2017

Using wood pellets to generate low-carbon electricity is a flawed policy that is speeding up not slowing down climate warming.

That’s according to a new study which says wood is not carbon neutral and emissions from pellets are higher than coal.

Subsidies for biomass should be immediately reviewed, the author says.

But the industry rejected the report saying that wood energy cuts carbon significantly compared to fossil fuels.

Critical role

While much of the discussion has focussed on wind and solar power, across Europe the biggest source of green energy is biomass.

It supplies around 65% of renewable power – usually electricity generated from burning wood pellets.

EU Governments, under pressure to meet tough carbon cutting targets, have been encouraging electricity producers to use more of this form of energy by providing substantial subsidies for biomass burning.

However this new assessment from Chatham House suggests that this policy is deeply flawed when it comes to cutting CO2.

…(read more).

U.K. Claim That Burning Biomass Is Clean Seen as `Flawed’ – Bloomberg
by Anna Hirtenstein February 23, 2017, 4:00 AM EST February 23, 2017, 8:24 AM EST

  • Wood-to-power can emit more CO2 than coal, Chatham House says
  • BEIS reiterates stance that burning biomass is carbon-neutral

The U.K. government’s view of biomass as a carbon-neutral energy source is a “flawed assumption,” according to report from Chatham House.

The U.K. counts emissions from the supply chain that produces and delivers wood pellets or chips used in biomass power plants, but not when they’re burned to make electricity, the London-based research group said Thursday.

The report rebuts government policy, and comes as power producers including Drax Group Plc are using more of the fuel in an effort to reduce emissions produced from coal.

“Current policies that treat biomass as carbon-neutral do not reflect their real impacts on the climate,” said Duncan Brack, associate fellow of the energy, environment and resources Department at Chatham House. “Public money should only be used to subsidize technologies that genuinely reduce carbon emissions.”

…(read more).

Burning of woody biomass more harmful than coal, says report – BT

The UK has spent hundreds of millions of pounds subsidising the burning of woody biomass which releases more emissions than coal, research has found.

Last updated: 23 February 2017, 20:00 GMT

The UK has spent hundreds of millions of pounds subsidising the burning of woody biomass which releases more emissions than coal, research has found.

Using wood – much of it imported from America – for biomass power and heat is often seen as a relatively cheap and flexible way of supplying renewable energy, but a report by Chatham House suggests the process could be more harmful than traditional energy sources.

Duncan Brack, author of the report – Woody Biomass for Power and Heat Impacts on the Global Climate – wrote that “while some instances of biomass energy use may result in lower life-cycle emissions than fossil fuels”, this was not the case in “most circumstances”.

…(read more).

Europeans are cutting down U.S. forests for so-called ‘sustainable’ energy

Andrew Freedman

MashableFebruary 24, 2017


nations, including the UK, are making a grave accounting error that will result in the emissions of more planet-warming greenhouse gases, according to a new report from an independent London think tank.

By counting the burning of wood pellets from felled forests in the U.S., Canada and Russia as a “renewable” or “sustainable” form of energy, nations in the European Union are masking their full impact on the environment, the report warns.

The study, from Chatham House, comes as European officials debate policies that favor particular energy sources, including biomass energy such as wood pellets, as a way to cut planet-warming carbon dioxide.

SEE ALSO: Something is very, very wrong with the Arctic climate

The report warns that contrary to what many policy makers have been saying, bioenergy involves about as much carbon emissions as coal. In fact, if wood is burned to make steam for electricity, this practice may be 50 percent more carbon intensive than coal per unit of electricity produced.

Bioenergy policy may seem like an issue buried in the weeds (so to speak) of climate policy, but scientists say the future severity of global warming is at stake in determining the European Union’s (EU) policies toward biomass burning.

…(read more).

If the wrong policies remain in place, the EU may inadvertently torpedo the globe’s chances to live up to the commitments made under the Paris Climate Agreement.

“The Paris temperature goal is in peril because of the way we’re dealing with bioenergy,” William Moomaw, a professor at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, said in an interview.

The EU is the world’s biggest user of biomass for electricity generation, with its use growing quickly.

With the Trump administration wavering on its support for the climate pact, the policies adopted by other nations and groups of countries have taken on an increased importance.

According to the report, emissions from the burning of wood pellets are never truly accounted for, either at the point of combustion or when trees are cut down to make the pellets.

State of the World’s Forests 2016: Forests and agriculture – land use challenges and opportunities

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Published on Jul 18, 2016…

Agriculture remains the most significant driver of global deforestation. Large-scale commercial agriculture and subsistence agriculture currently account for 73 percent of deforestation in the tropics and subtropics. However, it is possible under certain conditions to achieve sustainable agriculture and food security while also halting deforestation. A new study from FAO – The State of the World’s Forests 2016: Forests and agriculture – land use challenges and opportunities – identifies more than 20 countries that have maintained or increased forest area, and improved food security since 1990. This video focuses on successful methods in Costa Rica, Viet Nam and The Gambia.