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Nothing Neutral Here: Large-scale biomass subsidies in the UK and the role of the EU ETS 14.05.12

Earlier this month Brazilian pulp and paper giant Suzano Papel e Celulose gained approval for the world’s most advanced trial of genetically modified (GM) trees to meet the global demands of biomass energy expansion

A new report from Carbon Trade Watch, “Nothing Neutral Here: Large-scale biomass subsidies in the UK and the role of the EU ETS”, raises critical concerns over the UK’s unprecedented plans to increase biomass consumption as part of efforts to promote a ‘green economy’. The report links the demand for biomass in the UK, the role of the EU’s Emissions Trading System and the destructive expansion of industrial monoculture tree plantations around the world.

On 26 April the UK government launched its new bioenergy strategy, claiming that energy from biomass can make an important contribution to the decarbonisation of the economy. Carbon Trade Watch reveals how the British biomass boom is set to benefit polluters and cause widespread environmental destruction through land grabs and deforestation.

The author of the report, Joseph Zacune stated: “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. 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?”

UK-based power companies use the biomass carbon neutrality myth in the EU Emissions Trading System to justify their shift towards biomass and greenwash their polluting activities. This deceptive accounting undermines analysis that places emissions from biomass on a par with fossil fuels. Across the UK, local communities and activists have been campaigning to stop biomass-fuelled power plants. The new report aims to help link these UK campaigns with campaigns from supplier companies specifically in the US, Canada and Brazil.

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.”

Download the Report Nothing Neutral Here: Large-scale biomass subsidies in the UK and the role of the EU ETS (PDF 800KB)

Source: Carbon Trade Watch

Peter Shield

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