Drax Wood Pellets Have Devastating Impact On Baltic Forests, Report Shows

Read time: 4 mins

Drax's “insatiable” demand for wood is harming Baltic forests, campaigners have claimed following the publication of a damning report.

Compiled by NGOs in Estonia and Latvia, the report reveals that together the two countries exported more than three million tonnes of wood pellets last year – equivalent to at least 200 square kilometres of clearcut forest.

Comment: Policymakers Shouldn't Trust Drax's Bizarre Tree-Burning Climate Solution

Read time: 5 mins
Drax worker

By Almuth Ernsting, bioenergy campaigner with Biofuelwatch

If there were a prize for the most bizarre climate mitigation idea, power company Drax Plc’s latest “green innovation” project would be a strong candidate.

Drax’s Yorkshire power station is the UK’s biggest carbon dioxide emitter and the world’s largest wood burner. It burns more imported wood every year than the UK produces, much of it sourced from the clearcutting of biodiverse, carbon-rich southern US forests.

Creative Carbon Accounting: How Industry and Government Make Burning Wood Look Like a Climate Solution

Read time: 10 mins
A biomass train

The UK has recently committed to breaking even on the greenhouse gas emissions generated by its economy. This means that for every tonne of carbon dioxide released, a tonne will be captured or locked away elsewhere. It’s a nifty concept, known as ‘net zero’, but it relies on accurately, honestly, counting emissions. And already, countries are undertaking what teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg has called “creative carbon accounting” to balance their books.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in the biomass industry. It burns waste or wood to generate energy, much like coal. Biomass also emits carbon-dioxide and other greenhouse gases —again, much like coal.

Unlike coal, however, biomass emissions are being kept off the carbon dioxide balance sheet for most nations, in a way that campaigners allege is dishonest.

'It’s the Opposite of the Right Thing' — 96k-Signature Petition Calls on Government to Block Drax Gas Plans

Read time: 3 mins
Say No to Drax Gas banner

Campaigners have called on the government to refuse planning permission for the country’s biggest gas plant, saying that providing public subsidies for the project contradicts the UK’s climate commitments.

Energy company Drax plans to modify the existing coal electricity generation units to gas generation and battery storage at its biomass and coal plant in Yorkshire. But it is asking for further public subsidies to undertake the development.

Open Letter: 75 Environmental Groups Call on Government to Abandon Drax Gas Plans

Read time: 6 mins

Environmentalists are urging the government to withhold support for what would be the UK’s largest gas plant.

A coalition of 75 groups has sent an open letter (published below) to the Planning Inspectorate and Energy Secretary Greg Clark, calling on the government to refuse to subsidise the plans.

Signatories include the Green Party, Friends of the Earth, and several Frack Free campaign groups.

Energy company Drax has submitted a planning application to replace its coal burning plants at a power station in Yorkshire with gas-fired units. The proposal was submitted after the government announced it would phase out all coal power generation by 2025. Drax is seeking government subsidy for the project. Today is the final day of consultation on the plans.

UK Coal Industry Admits ‘Crisis’, Tells Government Coal Can Help Transition to Renewable Energy

Read time: 4 mins

UK coal companies have told key members of the UK Government that its industry is “currently in crisis” and that a policy that puts a rising price on carbon pollution was already forcing closures in its industry.

The admissions come in the minutes of the UK Coal Forum’s February meeting, quietly published a few days ago, where Department for Energy and Climate Change Minister of State Andrea Leadsom and Joanna Wain, policy adviser for energy and climate change tax at the Treasury, met with key coal and steel industry figures.

The minutes show that industry representatives criticised the carbon price floor and the government’s announcement to phase-out unabated coal by 2025, arguing that neither of these initiatives would help decarbonise the economy.

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