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A harmful gasoline threatens to undermine the world’s renewable power guarantees

A harmful gasoline threatens to undermine the world’s renewable power guarantees


A flurry of bulletins and pledges marked the primary a number of days of the UN local weather summit in Dubai. Notably, a name to triple renewable power growth by 2030 — signed by over 100 international locations, together with Canada — is being pushed by some world leaders to be a binding objective within the remaining settlement.

Whereas this dedication represents ambition for some, individuals from world wide attending COP28 with an eye fixed to human rights and forest destruction (myself included) are warning a couple of highly effective impostor within the renewable power sphere: forest biomass. With devastating impacts on communities, biodiversity and the worldwide local weather, the rising forest biomass business may flip clear power goals into nightmarish destruction.

The forest biomass business has ballooned lately with the assistance of large subsidies geared towards the inexperienced power transition. Members of the business like U.Okay. power big Drax, which owns the vast majority of amenities in British Columbia, produce wooden pellets which might be burned by energy utilities abroad to generate electrical energy.

International locations world wide — together with Canada, the US, the U.Okay., Japan and members of the European Union — are selling burning wooden pellets comprised of forest biomass as a “clear” power answer. Nonetheless, forest biomass is something however a secure different to fossil fuels.

Burning wooden to generate electrical energy, typically in present coal energy vegetation, produces excessive carbon emissions — as excessive or larger than coal. What’s extra, the necessity to keep a gentle provide of wooden pellets is resulting in the destruction of significant, carbon-rich forests.

Air pollution from a wooden pellet mill in Burns Lake, B.C. Burning wooden to generate electrical energy produces excessive carbon emissions. Picture by Stand.earth

The size of harm brought on by the forest biomass business has been made practically invisible at each stage. Enhancements are wanted to make sure carbon accounting techniques extra precisely mirror the emissions related to biomass, which is a fair dirtier gasoline than coal by many measures.

Whether or not the pledge to extend renewables by 30 per cent will successfully lower carbon emissions is dependent upon how renewable power is outlined. Proper now, the United Nations Framework Conference on Local weather Change contains each genuinely low-carbon options like wind and photo voltaic alongside sources of power like forest biomass. The necessity to extra precisely report emissions aligns with the first-ever world stocktake now being undertaken by delegates in Dubai to evaluate progress towards discount targets outlined within the Paris Settlement.

At a COP28 occasion on Dec. 5 for the “power, business and simply transition” themed day, Drax and different large biomass power representatives continued to obscure the affect of this business and push their agenda to burn forests as a substitute for fossil fuels.

With devastating impacts on communities, biodiversity and the worldwide local weather, the rising forest biomass business may flip clear power goals into nightmarish destruction, writes @talltegan #cdnpoli #bcpoli #COP28 #OldGrowth

Drax branding round a U.Okay.-sponsored renewable power pavilion learn “seize the chance,” referring to (unproven and problematic) carbon seize know-how. However, the presence of Drax and different bioenergy pursuits on the world warming summit reveals it’s really governments which were captured.

Underpinning Drax operations are large subsidies from the U.Okay. authorities to the tune of £2 million a day. Canada has additionally used public funds to bolster the inexperienced picture of forest biomass power. Simply final month, Canada expanded its “clear” power tax credit to incorporate biomass.

There isn’t any doubt that we want a renewable power transition. Forest biomass might seem to supply a straightforward answer — and one which retains corporations like Drax in enterprise — however it’s a large drawback for our collective means to deal with the local weather disaster in a simply means. That’s as COP28 attracts to a conclusion, the Biomass Motion Community, representing organizations throughout six continents, is sounding the alarm in Dubai.

Canada is the third largest exporter of forest biomass on this planet and with the U.Okay., co-chairs the Powering Previous Coal Alliance, which has promoted biomass as a solution to get off coal.

As a substitute of introducing new subsidies that prop up a false local weather answer at dwelling, international locations like Canada ought to intervene at COP to explicitly denounce forest biomass, name for much-needed adjustments to world carbon reporting and accounting to precisely mirror emissions, and uphold a simply transition for communities all over the place.

Tegan Hansen (she/her) is a senior forest campaigner for Stand.earth and a member of the EPN’s International Biomass Motion Community. She lives on Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh territories (Vancouver, B.C.) and is a delegate to COP28 in Dubai.



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Written by bourbiza mohamed

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