Report Raises Concerns Over Biomass Production

Joanna Schroeder

A new report from Carbon Trade Watch, “Nothing Neutral Here: Large-scale biomass subsidies in the UK and the role of the EU ETS,” is sounding alarms over the UK’s move to increase biomass consumption as part of its green economy plans. Earlier this month, Brazilian Suzano Papel e Celulose received approval for what is believed to be the most advanced genetically modified (GM) tree plantation trial ever.

The report ties together demand for biomass in the UK to the role of the EU’s Emissions Trading System and what Carbon Trade Watch says is the destructive expansion of industrial monoculture tree plantations around the world. The report came on the heals of an April 26, 2012 announcement from the UK government regarding its bioenergy strategy that included increased energy production from biomass. Carbon Trade Watch believes the “British biomass boom” will benefit polluters and cause “widespread environmental destruction through land grabs and deforestation.”

“The British government seems determined to lock the country into a dirty energy pathway that fuels climate chaos, arguably the greatest modern day threat to human survival,” said report author Joseph Zacune. “Campaigners are warning that the government’s new bioenergy strategy will require around 80 million tonnes of wood for biomass energy that would unleash land grabs and cause major emissions from deforestation. Why should we continue to subsidise polluters in favour of appropriate energy solutions like wind, solar and tidal energy?”

According to Carbon Trade Watch, local communities across the UK are campaigning to stop biomass-fueled power plants while companies are “greenwashing their polluting activities.

Tamra Gilbertson co-director of Carbon Trade Watch added, “Climate justice struggles bring together grassroots networks, groups and individuals that are demanding tough action against the root causes of climate change and for a truly sustainable, affordable and democratic energy system. To continue the same over-production and over-consumption of energy is a dead-end but governments continue to ensure that profit-seeking corporations control the energy systems and pollute our skies.”

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