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Category Archives: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Green coalition says feds must admit true costs of climate change

The Canadian Press in the Saskatoon Star Phoenix
November 6, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada

OTTAWA — Almost two dozen Canadian environment groups are urging the federal Liberal government to make sure its next budget acknowledges that climate change is costing the country hundreds of millions of dollars every year. “These costs are actually really big and if we are ignoring them there is a big hole in the budget,” said Andrew Gage, a staff lawyer and project lead for the climate change program at West Coast Environmental Law. The organization is one of 22 environment advocacy organizations in the Green Budget Coalition, which released its annual list of asks for the federal budget Wednesday. Although the Liberals’ next budget is still months away, the coalition’s wish list is normally released during the fall budget planning season. This year, the group is hoping the added momentum for taking action on climate change, emanating from this year’s election campaign, gives a little more oomph to their demands.

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Not all carbon offsets are created equal

By Nelon Bennett
Business in Vancouver
November 5, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada

…Do carbon offsets actually do anything to address climate change? Or are they merely greenwashing certificates issued to high-flying climate scolds who burn tonnes of CO2 while flying from city to city to lecture people on the importance of cutting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions? Carbon offsets have been likened to medieval indulgences that allowed the sinful to buy their way into heaven. Some critics call them a licence to pollute. …“Offsets can be effective – especially if targeted at projects that are verifiable and generate high public benefits,” said Hadi Dowlatabadi, a UBC professor. He has some serious reservations with offsets that fund forestry conservation projects, however. So does Mark Jaccard, professor of sustainable energy at Simon Fraser University. A recent ProPublica investigation – provocatively titled “Why Carbon Credits for Forest Preservation May Be Worse than Nothing” – underscores some of Jaccard’s and Dowlatabadi’s skepticism.

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Will Canada ever learn from California’s wildfires?

By Glenn McGillivray, managing director, Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction
The Globe and Mail
October 30, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada

Large swaths of California are once again ablaze… an omen portending a future that will see bigger and faster-moving wildfires… And this, say fire experts, is a bad sign for Canada’s west, which has already seen a doubling of area burned since the early 1970s, and is projected to see another doubling – possibly a tripling – by the end of the century. …We are fortunate to have an organization called the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC), whose primary job is to coordinate the sharing of forest-fire-fighting resources among the provinces and, sometimes, between countries. The well-conceived and well-run service provided by CIFFC goes a long way to filling gaps that arise when provincial resources are pushed to the max by overly active wildfire seasons, such as those experienced in B.C. in 2017 and 2018 and Alberta this year. But much more will have to be done.

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Renewable natural gas start-up company completes key milestone converting Alberta forest residues into pipeline-quality gas

By G4 Insights, Natural Resources Canada, Natural Gas Innovation Fund, Canadian Gas Association, Alberta Innovates, ATCO, FPInnovations
Alberta Innovates
October 28, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada – An innovative clean energy start-up company, G4 Insights Inc., has successfully demonstrated in a field trial that forestry industry residues can be turned into renewable natural gas (RNG). Their RNG technology demonstration project has been supported by a federal-provincial-industry partnership with the common goal of clean energy distribution into homes, businesses and industry connected to the natural gas infrastructure system. The federal-provincial-industry consortium includes Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), the Natural Gas Innovation Fund (NGIF), Alberta Innovates (AI), ATCO and FPInnovations, who have collectively invested a total of $2.8 million in grants and in-kind, for the testing and demonstration of G4 Insights’ PyroCatalytic Hydrogenation (PCH) technology. This technology, when commercialized, will convert forestry biomass into RNG that can be added to the existing natural gas distribution system and used interchangeably by customers without any equipment modifications.

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Electric cars and fewer fish: Pattison’s empire faces up to climate change

By Brent Jang
The Globe and Mail
October 27, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada

Jim Pattison

Jim Pattison… the 91-year-old B.C. billionaire is too busy working to indulge in nostalgia. He is looking to the future, trying to understand the impact of climate change on the numerous sectors in which his company operates. That impact is unlikely to be small. For businesses to survive and thrive, they must adapt to shifts in the marketplace, such as drivers who are increasingly adjusting their buying behaviour because of concerns about global warming, he said in an interview. …He expects zero-emission cars to eventually become the norm. …Through Great Pacific Capital Corp., he also owns 51 per cent of lumber-producer Canfor Corp. …“Wood is environmentally friendly,” he said, noting that Canfor plants tens of millions of tree seedlings annually to regenerate forests, helping to absorb carbon dioxide. [to access the full story, a G&M subscription is required]

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Public input sought to help B.C. prepare for climate change

By Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy
Government of British Columbia
November 7, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Province is looking for public input to help develop a new strategy that will better prepare B.C. communities for the impacts of climate change. “Across British Columbia, we are seeing and feeling the steadily increasing effects of climate change – from record wildfires, to severe droughts and floods, to the job impacts of beetle-killed forests,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “British Columbians expect governments at all levels to act. Our CleanBC plan fights carbon pollution and puts our province on the path to a cleaner and stronger future — taking care of this special place for ourselves, our kids and our grandkids. Together, we can make sure our communities are prepared for future climate impacts, because waiting until they happen just makes no sense.” People can share their thoughts until Jan. 10, 2020, through an online questionnaire

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Forestry carbon offsets grapple with image problem

By Nelson Bennett
Business in Vancouver
November 6, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

Carbon offsets and emissions trading evolved out of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol as a mechanism that could be used by industries that either couldn’t reduce their emissions. In anticipation of a large emissions trading market developing, a profusion of carbon offset companies popped up. …But the regulated market did not develop as expected. …The Western Climate Initiative, which originally envisioned several states and Canadian provinces agreeing to develop a regional emissions trading market, withered on the vine. …The failure of the WCI to develop as expected has put a drag on both Offsetters and the Great Bear Rainforest’s offset market. …Forestry offset projects also suffer from an image problem, so there may be some reticence on the part of voluntary buyers to invest in that particular sector. Verifying the carbon sequestration of a forest conservation project is a bit of arcane accounting science.

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Salish Soils taking over wood waste collection from Sunshine Coast Regional District

By Sophie Woodrooffe
Sunshine Coast Reporter
November 4, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

As of Nov. 13 wood waste will no longer be accepted at the dump on Dusty Road. Instead, Salish Soils in Sechelt will be collecting the waste… Wood waste will continue to be collected at the Pender Harbour Transfer Station. For several months the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD), which runs the landfill, wrestled with the build-up of wood waste… SCRD directors voted to award a $500,000 contract to Salish Soils in May, which would introduce a new wood processing method. …Salish Soils would collect the wood, grind it and send it to Howe Sound Pulp and Paper. But that contract was due to start in fall, leaving an interim period when wood would continue accumulating at the Sechelt landfill. In September, directors unanimously voted to award Salish Soils an interim contract worth approximately $200,000 to haul and dispose of the material from Pender Harbour and the Sechelt landfill before the larger contract kicks in…

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Climate action gets new teeth with accountability act

By Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy
Government of British Columbia
October 30, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

Better accountability, transparency and more detailed targets for climate action will be mandated under a new Climate Change Accountability Act. “We’re committed to meeting our climate targets and making sure our CleanBC plan gets us to where we need to go – that means being honest and transparent about our progress to make sure people can determine we’re on the right track,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. …To make sure the Province is on track for long-term legislated emissions reductions, government will be required to set an interim emissions target on the path to the legislated 2030 target – which is 40% in greenhouse gas reductions below 2007 levels. Separate 2030 sectoral targets will also be established following engagement with stakeholders, Indigenous peoples and communities throughout the province. This will make sure carbon pollution is reduced effectively across B.C.’s economy, homes, workplaces and transportation choices.

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SaskPower to Build Wood Scrap Burning Power Plant in Meadow Lake

By Theresa Simon-Worobec
Discover Moose Jaw
October 27, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

The First Nations-owned Meadow Lake Tribal Council Bioenergy Centre will soon be the new home of a Saskatchewan energy first.  The First Nations-owned Meadow Lake Tribal Council Bioenergy Centre will soon be able to generate carbon-neutral power using sawmill residuals, or leftover sawdust and wood pieces. Last week, SaskPower and Meadow Lake Tribal Council signed a Power Purchase Agreement for up to eight megawatts of biomass power.  “It’s considered carbon-neutral because you’re taking wood that’s already been used and using that to generate electricity,” said Joel Cherry, SaskPower representative. “The forestry industry, in general, is renewable because you’re planting trees to replace the ones that you’re cutting down.” Cherry said the new plant will make use of scraps from the local sawmill. 

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Granisle wins award for biomass heat system

By Blaire McBride
Smithers Interior News
October 23, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Village of Granisle has won an award for its ecologically-friendly efforts to heat local buildings. The 2019 Climate and Energy Action Award was presented to Granisle mayor Linda McGuire at a town hall meeting on Oct. 16 by Janice Keyes, Senior Manager with the Vancouver-based Community Energy Association (CEA). Granisle won the accolade in the corporate operations category for its biomass heating system that burns locally-sourced wood chips to heat seven buildings including the curling rink, the civic hall and the library. It has also partnered with the school district to sell heat to the Babine Elementary Secondary School.

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Planned biofuel plant for Northern Peninsula ‘still active,’ minister says

By Ariana Kelland
CBC News
November 5, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada East, Canada

Gerry Byrne

The future of the proposed Timberland biofuel plant on the Northern Peninsula isn’t dead in the water, according to Minister Gerry Byrne, but it’s far from a done deal. PC MHA Pleaman Forsey asked about the plant during the opening of the fall sitting of the House of Assembly Monday, nearly one year after Timberlands, the local subsidiary of Active Energy Group, secured timber rights. “Twelve months have passed, no timber has been cut, no ground has been broken to build a plan,” Forsey said during question period. “The people on the Northern Peninsula is  wondering if this project will happen at all.” Byrne, minister of fisheries and land resources, said his department has been in touch with the company in the last several weeks about the project.

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Saving the forest and the trees: Charity buys woman’s old-growth Acadian forest

By Tori Weldon
CBC News
October 31, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada East, Canada

NEW BRUNSWICK — A charity based in Sackville is buying an old-growth forest in Cambridge-Narrows that has been in environmentalist Robena Weatherly’s family for generations. Community Forest International bought the 350-acre property (about 141 hectares) through its carbon offset program. Weatherly still has the original land grant given to her great-great-great-grandfather, neatly written on yellowed paper. It’s dated 1812. …CFI is a non-profit that works to protect forests. It developed a carbon offsetting program that essentially sees businesses pay the group to preserve old-growth forests.

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Tree planting alone won’t solve the climate crisis, but it’s a start, says expert

CBC News
October 28, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada East, Canada

Frederik Vroom

Cities, provinces and people should consider planting more trees to help the climate crisis, although that won’t solve the entire problem, says a manager with a non-profit tree-planting organization visiting St. John’s this week. Frederik Vroom of Tree Canada is in Newfoundland and Labrador to address a provincial forestry conference, but his tree-planting message comes on the heels of both national and international strategies to incorporate silviculture into the fight to lower the planet’s carbon emissions. …”My main message is to really think clearly about where to put the trees, and what kind of trees where,'” he said. …Fast-growing trees, such as birches or poplars, capture more carbon than slow-growing varieties like spruce or oak. Vroom also recommended planting species native to the area to ensure they are as well adapted.

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Scaling Up Conference 2019

Scaling Up Conference
October 24, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada East, Canada

Scaling Up 2019, Canada’s annual industrial bioeconomy international business conference, will be held November 4 to 6, 2019 in downtown Ottawa at the beautiful Chateau Laurier Hotel. Never before has there been a lineup of speakers like this in the cleantech, innovation or bio-circular economy space at a conference in Canada. Register, and book your hotel now. ” look forward to seeing you there”, said Jeff Passmore, Scaling Up Chair. Scaling Up 2019 is pleased to announce that this year’s conference will once again be carbon neutral. Greenhouse gas emissions associated with delegate travel and event space will be offset by Walker Environmental Group retiring offsets registered on the CSA Clean Projects™ Registry.

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Carbon emissions from deforestation much smaller than previously thought, economists say

By Ohio State University
Science Daily
November 4, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

Cutting down trees inevitably leads to more carbon in the environment, but deforestation’s contributions to climate change are vastly overestimated, according to a new study. Deforestation for timber and farmland is responsible for about 92 billion tons of carbon emissions into the environment since 1900, found a study led by researchers at The Ohio State University and Yale University. “Our estimate is about a fifth of what was found in previous work…” said Brent Sohngen. He said that widely accepted estimate didn’t take into account the planting of new trees and other forest management techniques that lessen the environmental burden. The model used in this study did take those factors into account. …The study appears in the Journal of Forest Economics. …Previous estimates argued that about 27 percent of humanmade net carbon emissions were from deforestation whereas the new research estimates that the correct number is just 7 percent.

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Tobi Lutke Changes Name to Lorax on Twitter After Pledging to Plant 1,000,001 Trees

By Paul Farrell
Heavy
October 30, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

Tobias Lutke

Tobi Lutke pledged to plant 1,000,001 trees to beat Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s pledge to plant 1,000,000, trees at the behest of YouTuber Jimmy “MrBeast” Donaldson. Lutke made the pledge on the afternoon of October 30. Tobias Lutke is the German-Canadian founder and CEO of e-commerce business Shopify. Following his pledge, Lutke changed his name on Twitter to Lorax. Lorax is a reference to the titular character from Dr. Seuss’ 1971 book of the same name who considered a guardian of the forest. Lutke’s philanthropic pledge came shortly after he announced that his company had reached one million users in the third quarter of 2019. …Lutke has said that his plan to donate 1,000,001 trees had hit a stumbling block as the online forms make it impossible to pledge that much, an obvious attempt to prevent against pranksters.

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Sorry, Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey: There’s so much CO2 in the atmosphere that planting trees isn’t enough to save us

By Aylin Woodward
Business Insider
October 31, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

Elon Musk has pledged to donate $1 million to a campaign that hopes to plant 20 million trees around the world starting on January 1. He even changed his Twitter name to Treelon. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey followed suit with a $150,000 pledge of his own. The campaign, #TeamTrees, is spearheaded by the YouTube influencer Jimmy Donaldson, aka MrBeast, in collaboration with the Arbor Day Foundation. It hopes to plant the trees on every continent except Antarctica between January and December 2022. According to the campaign website, #TeamTrees and the Arbor Day Foundation are focused on planting new trees because “forest restoration has the most global climate mitigation potential compared to all other natural climate solutions.” They cite a 2017 study …that suggested reforestation would be the best means of keeping Earth’s temperature from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius.

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Study casts doubt on carbon capture

By Stanford University
Phys.org
October 25, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

One proposed method for reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere—and reducing the risk of climate change—is to capture carbon from the air or prevent it from getting there in the first place. However, research from Mark Z. Jacobson at Stanford University, …suggests that carbon capture technologies can cause more harm than good. …However, this research finds that [capture] reduces only a small fraction of carbon emissions, and it usually increases air pollution,” said Jacobson, who is a professor of civil and environmental engineering. “Even if you have 100 percent capture from the capture equipment…carbon capture never reduces air pollution and always has a capture equipment cost.” …Jacobson maintains that the smarter investment is in options that are currently disconnected from the fossil fuel industry, such as reforestation—a natural version of air capture—and other forms of climate change solutions focused on eliminating other sources of emissions and pollution. 

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University scientists highlight carbon benefits of renewable wood energy; Call for policymakers to look at key science fundamentals

By US Industrial Pellet Association
Cision Newswire
October 25, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

RICHMOND, Va. — The US Industrial Pellet Association (USIPA) today lauded a recent letter signed by more than 100 scientists from more than 50 colleges and universities citing the benefits of wood energy.  The letter…calls on policymakers to consider key fundamentals related to forest biomass. Emphasizing that research … dates back to the 1980s, the scientists noted that the “carbon benefits of sustainable forest biomass are well established.” The letter also cites a report from United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which notes: “In the long term, a sustainable forest management strategy aimed at maintaining or increasing forest carbon stocks, while producing an annual sustained yield of timber, fibre or energy from the forest, will generate the largest sustained mitigation benefit.” The scientists also emphasized research showing that “demand for wood helps keep land in forest and incentivizes investments in new and more productive forests, all of which have significant carbon benefits.”

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White House sides with EPA Over USDA objections on biofuel

By Jennifer Dlouhy
Bangor Daily News
October 23, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

Administration officials warned that an EPA plan for boosting biofuel-blending requirements violated the spirit of a deal brokered by President Donald Trump. The White House blessed it anyway. The back and forth is revealed in newly released documents from a White House review of the Environmental Protection Agency’s biofuel proposal before its public release Oct. 15. The documents, uploaded to a government regulatory docket late Monday, show the U.S. Department of Agriculture initially warned the plan was inconsistent with an earlier White House promise to ensure “more than 15 billion gallons” of conventional biofuel, such as ethanol, are required to be blended into the nation’s fuel supply beginning in 2020. The documents shed light on a last-minute fight between the EPA and the USDA that briefly delayed the proposal’s release. Ultimately, the EPA prevailed in the skirmish, and the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs signed off on the agency’s approach.

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Gavin Newsom, Your Carbon Offsets are Burning

By Daniel John Sobieski
American Thinker
November 4, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

Those who leave their energy-guzzling multi-million-dollar mansions when they fly off on their private jets to save-the-planet climate change conferences like to ease their consciences and explain their hypocrisy by pointing to their carbon offsets like paying for trees to be planted somewhere that might mature in a hundred years or so. …This is California’s big secret: it’s not climate change that’s burning up the forests, killing people, and destroying hundreds of homes; it’s decades of environmental mismanagement that has created a tinderbox of unharvested timber, dead trees, and thick underbrush. …Imagine that. Environmentalists have managed to turn our forests into major polluters. California Governor Gavin Newsom has carried the environmental terrorism practiced by predecessor Jerry Brown to an absurd extreme, blaming capitalism as well as climate change for California’s fires. …Yet, if capitalism held sway in California, harvesting of the millions of dead trees …fuel for these fires would have been permitted. 

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California’s new normal: How the climate crisis is fueling wildfires and changing life in the Golden State

By Ray Sanchez and Brandon Miller
CNN
October 30, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

It’s the new way of life in the Golden State. More than a dozen wildfires displace hundreds of thousands of Californians. …Utilities throw entire communities into darkness in hopes of reducing the risks. More than 94,000 acres have already burned. …Here’s why deadlier and more destructive wildfires have become the new normal — and it’s all related to climate change: …Park Williams, a professor at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University, said human-caused warming of the planet has caused the vapor pressure deficit (VPD) to increase by 10% since the late 1800s, meaning that more evaporation is occurring. By 2060, he expects that effect to double. …VPD — which measures dryness, or aridity, near the Earth’s surface — is directly related to the rate at which water is transferred from the land surface to the atmosphere. …”The northern part of the world is warming faster … the heat is drying out forests and making them more susceptible to burn.”

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John Day biomass plant preparing for production

By Rudy Diaz
The Bend Bulletin
October 28, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

New jobs are on the horizon with the completion of the torrefaction plant expected at the end of the year. Matt Krumenauer, CEO of Restoration Fuels, said the plant that will turn forest biomass into a product that can be burned for fuel plans to be in production in 2020. All of the equipment is in place. The boiler system will begin running by mid-November, Krumenauer said, and the rest of the system will be in production at the start of 2020. The first three months of 2020 will focus on startup and commissioning in preparation for the plant to work at one-third capacity for the rest of the year, a common process that assures production goes well when the plant works at full capacity in 2021, he said. At full capacity, the plant is expected to produce 80,000-90,000 tons of torrefied wood in a year.

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Joint efforts needed to overcome effects of climate change on Idaho forests

By Scott McIntosh
The Idaho Statesman
October 29, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

One common thread in many if not all of our current environmental conundrums is climate change. …When it comes to forest health in Idaho and across the West, decades of fire suppression efforts, and limited logging and thinning, particularly on federal lands, have played a role in leaving our forest susceptible to wildfires, insects and disease. However, the role of climate change can’t be denied. “The overwhelming causes of wildfire are warmer and drier summers and warmer and drier climate in general in the Western United States,” said Jen Pierce, a professor of geology and wildfire expert at Boise State University. “While logging and thinning certainly can be an option for reducing hazards of wildfire around established communities for certain types of forests, it’s not logistically or economically feasible that logging and thinning would be able to reduce wildfires.” [fourth in a series of columns about Idaho’s forests]

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High precipitation years won’t save trees from affects of climate change, study finds

By Gabriella Cobian
Arizona Daily Wildcat
October 21, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

A new study led by researchers at the University of Arizona found that the increase in rainfall in the western U.S. caused a decline in tree growth. Matt Dannenberg, assistant professor in the Department of Geographical and Sustainability Sciences at the University of Iowa and lead author on the study, explained the research process. “A warmer atmosphere can hold more water vapor, which intensifies our water cycle,” Dannenberg said in an email interview. “Based on precipitation data from 1901-present, year-to-year precipitation variability has increased quite substantially in many parts of the U.S., particularly in the Southwest.” …To conduct the study, researchers used tree ring widths from over 1,300 sites throughout the U.S. to observe the linear and nonlinear forms of the correlation among precipitation and growth. Researchers also observed the tree growth response particularly to exceedingly dry and wet years.

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University of New Hampshire researchers take to trees to study nitrogen, carbon levels

New Hampshire Union Leader
November 5, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

Researchers with the New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station at the University of New Hampshire have received a National Science Foundation Award to better understand how forests and other vegetation affect nitrogen and carbon in the environment. “This research is important as people add more nitrogen to the land through air pollution, fertilizers, and septic systems. It also will help understand how much carbon the environment can absorb as carbon dioxide increases in the atmosphere,” said experiment station researcher Wilfred Wollheim. According to a UNH news release, nitrogen is a nutrient that is both critical for life but, in excess, causes coastal algal blooms. Carbon storage helps offset greenhouse gases. “New Hampshire and New England are mostly forested. Besides their value for recreation and wildlife, forests also take up and store carbon and nitrogen,” Wollheim said. 

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Plant trees, store carbon, save the environment

By Evan Jones
Spartan News Room, MSU
November 1, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

LANSING — Michigan’s 3.9 million acres of state forests could be recruited for a fight to limit climate change by storing carbon emissions. “Climate change, when you slow everything down, it’s a math problem,” said Daniel Eichinger, the director of the Department of Natural Resources. “We are contributing a lot more carbon into the atmosphere than we are able to sequester, consume and store.” …Michigan’s state forests, some of the largest in the nation, have plenty of room to store carbon. But foresters traditionally focus on maximizing an adequate and stable supply of timber and fiber and to provide wildlife habitat, Eichinger said. The potential for storing carbon could become a third central value, he said. That amounts to planting more trees because younger trees have more carbon storage potential, said Ed Golder… Scott Robbins, the public affairs director for the Michigan Forest Products Council, said he hopes the new value doesn’t interfere with timber production.

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Chipping away

By Michael Kitch
New Hampshire Business Review
October 24, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

…The New Hampshire market for wood chips was rattled in August when Gov. Chris Sununu, for the second time in as many years, vetoed legislation extending subsidies to the biomass plants. Unlike a year ago, the Legislature upheld his veto. [This impacts] both the forestry industry and the forests themselves, because without a stable, buoyant market for low-grade wood, the incentive and capacity to harvest it diminishes, leaving foresters without their most effective means of generating healthy, productive, valuable and sustainable forests. Some 84% of the state is forested, and 76% of it is privately owned — 68% by individuals and families and 8% by commercial enterprises. The federal government owns 14% and the state owns 5%. …Between 70% and 80% of this growth is low-grade wood suited only for pulp, chips and firewood. “The best way to get quality timber is to maintain a strong market for low-quality wood,” said Dennis McKinney, a consulting forester. 

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Helping Meet EU Renewable Targets with Wood Chips

By New England Woodchip Solutions
Biomass Magazine
October 23, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

The European Union has adopted a revised directive establishing a new renewable energy target for 2032 that requires at least 32 percent of its generated energy to be derived from renewable sources. Biofuels, including wood chips, will be instrumental in helping the EU meet the new standard. Focused on opportunity, several U.S. companies and a port in Maine are poised to not only take advantage, but also demonstrate a technological advancement in wood chip processing and supply. New England is home to an enormous wood basket. Maine alone is 90 percent forested and can sustainably supply more than 2 million tons of low-cost residual wood fiber annually. The challenge, however, is processing the wood into chips that meet EU standards, and then economically delivering them to European markets. That’s where a new partnership comes in into play, which will take advantage of existing infrastructure, innovative technology and an abundant, sustainable resource.

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International research community calls for recognition of forests’ role in human prosperity

By University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Phys.org
October 21, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

World leaders convened for the UN Climate Summit in September amid dire projections of climate instability. The problem is multifaceted, of course, but a recent IPCC report identifies deforestation as the main driver of land-based greenhouse gas emissions… What if more people around the world could be paid to keep forests healthy and intact? And what if doing so would not only curb the climate crisis, but also help people move out of poverty and toward broader prosperity? A new special issue of World Development examines this and many other ways forests serve to alleviate poverty around the world. The issue’s co-editor, Daniel Miller, also serves as Chair for the International Union of Forest Research Organizations’ (IUFRO) Global Forest Expert Panel (GFEP) on Forests and Poverty. The panel, which includes 21 other internationally recognized scientific experts, will compile a comprehensive report to be launched at the 75th session of the UN General Assembly in 2020.

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Government launches new scheme to boost tree-planting

Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, Forestry Commission
The Government of UK
November 4, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

UK — The government launched a £50 million scheme to help boost tree-planting rates in the fight against climate change. The new Woodland Carbon Guarantee will encourage farmers and landowners to plant more trees and create new woodland in return for payments as those trees grow. It gives land managers in England the long-term financial income they need to invest in carbon sequestration – the process by which trees lock up and store carbon from the atmosphere. Successful participants will be offered the option to sell Woodland Carbon Units to the government over 35 years at a guaranteed price set by auction, providing new income for land managers who help businesses compensate for their carbon emissions.

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Wood fibre to unlock our low emissions future

By New Zealand Government
Scoop Independent News
November 1, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Trees can play a lead role in New Zealand’s transition to a low emissions economy, and this is reflected in a new request for research into innovative ways to use wood fibre, announced by Forestry Minister Shane Jones at the blessing of the new government forestry hub site in Rotorua today. Te Uru Rākau (Forestry New Zealand), the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and the Forestry Ministerial Advisory Group have today issued a ‘request for proposal’ – worth $250,000 to $300,000 – seeking a commercially-oriented report on viable opportunities for investment in biobased products and biorefinery processing technology. These investments must use wood and wood fibre and be internationally competitive.

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Climate emissions from tropical forest damage ‘underestimated by a factor of six’

By Graham Readfearn
The Guardian
October 31, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Greenhouse gas emissions caused by damage to tropical rainforests around the world are being underestimated by a factor of six, according to a new study. Research led by the University of Queensland finds the climate impact of selective logging, outright clearing and fire in tropical rainforests between 2000 and 2013 was underestimated by 6.53bn tonnes of CO2. The numbers are likely conservative, and also did not include emissions from other woodlands or the massive boreal forests in the high latitudes of the northern hemisphere. Study co-author professor James Watson said: “We have been treating forests as pretty one-dimensional, but we know degradation impacts carbon. The bottom line is that we knew the numbers would be big, but we were shocked at just how big.”

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Finland fights to keep control of forests away from EU

By Elana Sanchez Nicolas
The EU Observer
October 30, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Finland, which currently holds the EU’s presidency until the end of the year, is lobbying to keep forestry a national competency – undermining a key part of the EU’s climate efforts to reduce emissions. The EU considers land use and forestry two of the most important sectors for the bloc’s climate policy – as they include the use of soils, trees, plants, biomass, and timber. Bearing in mind the climate targets for 2030 and 2050, the European Union designed a regulation for land use and forestry, adopted in 2018, to ensure that the accounted total emissions in the sector do not exceed the ‘accounted sinks’ – also known as “no-debit” rule. However, the Finnish committees of agriculture and forestry, economy and environment, in agreement with the government in Helsinki, rejected this updated framework last week.

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With looming loss of European subsidy, wood pellet industry faces turning point

By Elizabeth Ouzts
The Energy News Network
October 29, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

…North Carolina has emerged as the epicenter of the region’s fight over wood pellets, a popular substitute for coal in European power plants that critics say is making climate catastrophe worse, not better. Pressure from activists has garnered rhetorical gestures from Cooper against the international biomass trade, but state officials have continued to grant requests from Enviva, the world’s largest pellet maker, to expand production. North Carolina is now on track to surpass Georgia as the country’s largest exporter of the controversial fuel. Across the pond, however, the politics are starting to shift. The world’s largest pellet customer, the United Kingdom, plans to phase out the generous subsidies that caused the industry to balloon in the first place. The changes have inspired pellet foes to press for more urgent reforms — and the industry to look for new technology and new markets. 

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Reforestation crucial to PHL efforts against climate change

Business Mirror
October 28, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

As countries around the world endeavor to prevent the global climate crisis…, reforestation remains a basic but vital strategy in mitigating climate change. A study by academic journal Science revealed that 1 billion hectares of forest could reduce 300 gigaton of carbon, or 25 percent, in the atmosphere. In the Philippines, restoring forest cover is not only a matter of climate solution but of environmental survival. According to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Forest Management Bureau (DENR-FMB), every year the country loses 47,000 hectares of forest cover. Around 1.2 million hectares … need to be rehabilitated by 2022… In the private sector, renewable-energy leader Energy Development Corp. (EDC) is … leveraging its flagship environmental program Binhi to reforest degraded lands, develop ecotourism areas and provide livelihood to local communities. Since its launch in 2011, EDC’s Binhi has successfully restored 9,500 hectares of forest land… This year, the program is expanding its scale to increase the Philippine’s forest cover.

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Forests & Climate Change: How Can Mainstreaming Forests Address Challenges of Climate Change and Development

The Bretton Woods Project
October 25, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

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Arctic tundra emits more carbon in winter than plants can absorb in summer: study

The Canadian Press in the Campbell River Mirror
October 22, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Research has found Arctic soil has warmed to the point where it releases more carbon in winter than northern plants can absorb during the summer. The finding means the extensive belt of tundra around the globe — a vast reserve of carbon that dwarfs what’s held in the atmosphere — is becoming a source of greenhouse gas emissions responsible for climate change. “There’s a net loss,” said Dalhousie University’s Jocelyn Egan, one of 75 co-authors of a paper published in Nature Climate Change. “In a given year, more carbon is being lost than what is being taken in. It is happening already.” The research is the latest warning that northern natural systems that once reliably kept carbon out of the atmosphere are starting to release it.

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Scientists question mass tree planting as climate change panacea

By Michael Taylor
Reuters
October 22, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

KUALA LUMPUR  – The potential for a global tree-planting drive to curb climate-change risks has been overestimated, scientists warned, flagging issues with maps and data used in a recent study and urging greater efforts to cut heat-trapping emissions by other means. In July, researchers at the Crowther Lab, based at Swiss university ETH Zurich, published a study suggesting the best way to keep climate change in check would be to replant trees on destroyed forest areas the size of the United States. But in a response letter published in the same journal Science on Friday, scientists at the University of Bonn and Nairobi-based research centre World Agroforestry said there were limits on the number of trees that could be grown on lands included in the initial study.

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