Tree Frog Forestry News

Category Archives: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Washington, California, and British Columbia Join Forces on Forest Health and Climate Change

The Monroe Monitor & Valley News
December 19, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, United States

California Natural Resources Secretary John Laird, Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz and British Columbia Minister of Forests Doug Donaldson today pledged to share information and work jointly to improve forest resilience and better understand how forests are responding to climatic changes. A Memorandum of Understanding signed today builds on initial steps taken by California and Washington during the 2018 Global Climate Action Summit in September. With the addition of British Columbia, the stage is set for the three jurisdictions to collaborate on shared challenges including a changing climate, tree mortality, severe wildfire risk and drought. … A key goal of the MOU is to explore ways to expand the market for forest products and promote investments in natural and working lands that increase carbon sequestration and enhance forest resilience.

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Woodlot owner says the full costs of alternatives to wood heat are overlooked

Letter by Harold Macy, Headquarters Creek Woodlot Ltd.
Comox Valley Record
January 13, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

Harold Macy

The anti-wood burning film noted in today’s (Jan. 11) Record presents several other methods of heating one’s home on this cool and damp Island. I will argue that each of them share an environmental footprint much greater than firewood. The opponents support the use of heat pumps, natural or propane gas, or wood pellets. Let’s have a closer look at each of these sources of comfort. …[Wood] is perpetually renewable and is sourced locally. For many years TimberWest and other industrial companies disposed of post-harvesting residue by smoldering slash piles which admittedly were problematic. However, the contractor operating out of our family woodlot now has an agreement to sort out the recoverable firewood, haul it to the processing yard and cut it into lengths then deliver it to local homes…. It is a win-win-win situation. …Before you jump on the anti-stove bandwagon, look carefully at the true costs.

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Climate change was the driving force behind destructive 2017 B.C. wildfire season, study says

By Bethany Lindsay
CBC News
January 8, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

The record-breaking B.C. wildfires of 2017 may have burned as much as 11 times more land than they would have without the influence of human-caused climate change, according to new research. The study, from scientists at the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium at the University of Victoria and Environment and Climate Change Canada, suggests that climate change was the driving factor for the unusually hot conditions that led to the fires. The probability of abnormally high temperatures being caused by global warming was estimated at more than 95 per cent. The lead author of the paper, published in the journal Earth’s Future last month, is Megan Kirchmeier-Young, an atmospheric scientist with the federal government. “We have demonstrated that human-induced climate change has significantly increased the likelihood of extreme high temperatures, of extreme wildfire risk of large areas burned, similar to what we saw in the 2017 wildfire season in B.C.,” Kirchmeier-Young told CBC.

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Where do Montreal’s forlorn Christmas trees go?

By Rene Bruemmer
Montreal Gazette
January 3, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada East, Canada

There are few things more forlorn than discarded balsam firs littering the snowbanks of the city post-New Year’s Day. …The good news is that in Montreal they find a second useful existence, albeit one that involves incineration. Compared to sending them to the garbage dump, where they rot and create planet-warming methane gas, their end is at least somewhat beneficial. Every year, firms contracted by the city collect roughly 25,000 trees. The 350 tonnes of holiday refuse are …converted into wood chips that are then sold to firms — often pulp and paper mills — that burn and use them as energy sources instead of oil. …Most Quebec municipalities have programs to pick up trees [for compost or energy]. Not all regions do. In the United Kingdom 160,000 tonnes of the nation’s Christmas trees ended up in landfills in 2014. …Once they’ve outlived their holiday-time usefulness, the important thing is to keep them out of landfills. 

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EIA updates bioenergy forecasts for 2019, 2020

By Erin Voegele
Biomass Magazine
January 15, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

The U.S. Energy Information Administration has released the January edition of its Short-Term Energy Outlook… Wood biomass is expected to be used to generate 118,000 MWh per day this year, increasing to 119,000 MWh per day next year. Generation from waste biomass is also expected to increase, from 58,000 MWh per day this year, to 59,000 MWh per day next year. In the electric power sector, wood biomass is expected to be used to generate 49,000 MWh per day this year, increasing to 50,000 MWh per day next year. Generation from wood biomass is also expected to increase slightly, from 41,000 MWh per day in 2019 to 42,000 MWh per day in 2020. …The EIA predicts total biomass power capacity will reach 7,358 MW by the end of 2019, up from 7,201 MW in 2018. By the end of 2020, total biomass capacity is expected to grow to 7,401 MW. …In 2020, wood biomass capacity is expected to increase to 3,188 MW.

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Silvopasture Can Mitigate Climate Change. Will U.S. Farmers Take it Seriously?

By Lela Nargi
Civil Eats
January 7, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

Steve Gabriel is an agroforestry specialist at Cornell University’s Small Farms Program. He’s also the author of the book on silvopasture, a farming technique that’s touted as a way to sequester carbon by growing trees in livestock pastures. Trees absorb and sequester large amounts of carbon over time; they’re rendered even more powerful when they’re used in concert with grazing and planted on “marginal” land that isn’t great for growing crops—what Gabriel calls the “funky edges” around, say, healthy woodlands. On the heels of the latest, dire, National Climate Assessment, ag-based climate solutions such as silvopasture could provide much-needed climate benefits—if they can be scaled up.

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A Mexican model for offsetting carbon

By Tani Colbert-Sangree
The Baltimore Sun
January 3, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, International

Walking through a pine forest in Mexico’s Sierra Norte mountains, I see peaks through a blanket of clouds. …I’ve spent the last 10 years working exclusively in carbon offsets, first as the lead for the Tomorrow’s Climate Solutions consulting group and currently as the strategic coordinator for Duke University’s Carbon Offsets Initiative. I have created training materials and project protocols, as well as developed and marketed offset projects throughout the U.S., and established research connections to these projects. This project in Oaxaca is a shining example of what a carbon offset can look like if done right. …The forest that has grown from those saplings has created positions for 20 salaried workers, communal revenue through the sale of carbon offsets, future sustainable timber production and a reliable water source thanks to the forest cover that increases and stabilizes water availability.

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The Conspiracy Against Wood Stoves

By John Ackerly President, Alliance for Green Heat
Biomass Magazine
January 3, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

John Ackerly

In recent years, we’ve heard more and more from people who believe the government is trying to regulate wood stoves out of existence. One surprising angle is that they feel the pellet lobby is partly to blame. …In truth, most of the companies making wood pellets for domestic heating are little more than mom-and-pop companies based in the Northeast and Northwest. …My organization, the Alliance for Green Heat, is sometimes accused of being part of this conspiracy. …The current policy debate is not about stoves, but about whether wood furnaces and boilers that sell for as low as $3,000 should get a two-year sell-through that would allow them to stay on the market through 2022. We believe it’s critical to prevent these furnaces and boilers from being installed in thousands more neighborhoods. …Our best shot at being a top tier renewable energy technology is to leave that dirty legacy behind. 

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Trump issues executive order on forest management

By Erin Voegele
Biomass Magazine
December 31, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

An executive order on forest management issued by President Trump in late December addresses how rural economies can benefit through the utilization of byproducts created by forest restoration efforts. Trump issued the executive order on Dec. 21. It is officially titled “Promoting Active Management of America’s Forests, Rangelands and other Federal Lands to Improve Conditions and Reduce Wildfire Risk.” …The USDA and Department of the Interior are directed to develop goals and implementation plans for wildfire prevention programs. …The Secretary of Agriculture is directed to review 2019 budget justifications and give all due consideration to establishing several objectives, including treating 3.5 million acres of Forest Service lands to reduce fuel load. …By March 31, the Secretary of Interior and Secretary of Agriculture are also directed to identify salvage and log recovery options from lands damaged by fire during the 2017 and 2018 fire seasons, insects, or disease.

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Climate and Fire, Why Biomass Matters to Both

By Seth Ginther, U.S. Industrial Wood Pellet Association
Biomass Magazine
December 14, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

Seth Ginther

…The effects of climate change, including forest fires, have dominated the news for much of the last month. …And two recent studies on climate—one from the U.N., and the Trump Administration’s Black Friday release—suggest that fires will continue to get worse. …We need a dramatic pivot, and we need it today. The good news (if we can call it that) is, when it comes to the related issues of climate and fire, there are two things that most experts agree on: 1) we need to replace coal and other fossil fuels with renewable energy; and 2) we need to better manage our forests to minimize the “super fires” that we are seeing in California and elsewhere. Wood biomass is a solution that—right now—can help us solve both of these challenges. 

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Carbon Benefits Of Managed Forests

By Eric D. Vance, recently retired from the National Council for Air and Stream Improvement, Inc.
Science Trends
December 14, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

Forests have a complicated relationship with carbon and climate. They sequester huge quantities of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, estimated at 10-20 percent of U.S. emissions, thus limiting its potential as a greenhouse gas. In turn, forests are also impacted by changes in climate, which affects how much carbon they store. Because forests managed in some capacity may hold less carbon than some of their “natural,” unmanaged counterparts and are harvested periodically, it’s logical to assume their carbon benefits are greatly diminished. However, the carbon forests hold at any point in time is only one of many factors affecting what the atmosphere sees, and those other factors tend to favor managed forests. Both temporal and spatial factors influence the carbon benefits of managed forests relative to those preserved with little intervention. 

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California utility’s bankruptcy filing is a warning about hidden climate-change financial risk

By Barrie McKenna
The Globe and Mail
January 20, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

Climate change has claimed its first major corporate victim. San Francisco-based power company PG&E Corp., one of the largest utilities in the U.S., filed for bankruptcy protection this week facing tens of billions of dollars in potential liability from massive California wildfires over the past two years. The company’s transmission lines are suspected of sparking as many as 1,500 forest fires. …Without the effects of climate change, it’s doubtful PG&E would be in this predicament. …Under a legal doctrine known as inverse condemnation, utilities in the state must cover insurance claims for damages from fires caused by their equipment – even if they haven’t broken any safety laws. The doctrine is in force in just two states – California and Alabama. …PG&E had long complained that inverse condemnation was making power companies the default fire insurer for the entire state.

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Gov. Little: Climate change is real, must be reversed

By Keith Ridler
The Associated Press in the State
January 16, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

Brad Little

BOISE, IDAHO Idaho’s collaborative efforts with federal agencies, conservation groups, industries and residents have put Idaho out front in tackling tough environmental problems involving forests, rangelands, water uses and other issues, Gov. Brad Little said Wednesday. The 64-year-old Republican sworn into office earlier this month shocked some at the Idaho Environmental Forum by declaring that climate change is real and will have to be dealt with. …Little said the state has made good progress in working with agencies in the U.S. Department of Interior and U.S. Department of Agriculture. …He cited a program called the Good Neighbor Authority that has the Idaho Department of Lands helping the Forest Service on federal timber sales and restoration projects. Last month, Little signed… a Shared Stewardship agreement with the Agriculture Department they said will help protect national forests in Idaho from destructive wildfires through logging and restoration work.

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Forest can take care of itself

Letter by George Wuerthner
Payson Roundup
January 1, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

George Wuerthner

Your recent article supporting burning up our forests for biomass swallowed lock, stock and barrel, the Industrial Forestry Paradigm. As a fire ecologist, I continuously see the timber industry promoting misinformation about wildfire. First, numerous studies have shown that thinning the forest is ineffective and inefficient at preventing fires in communities. The Camp Fire that burned Paradise burned through an area that was logged just 10 years before. Most of the homes that burned down were not touched by the flames, rather it was wind-blown embers that caused them to burn to the ground. Furthermore, logging typically puts more fuel on the ground. A recent FS research paper documented that thinning put 2.7 times more fine fuels on the ground compared to untreated stands.

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Biomass mandate could save lives as well as the forest

By Pete Aleshire
Payson Roundup
January 1, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

Need another good reason to turn thickets of small trees into fuel for biomass power plants besides restoring a couple million acres of ponderosa pine forest to healthy conditions? How about saving thousands of human lives? Recent estimates suggest a projected, massive increase in wildfires nationwide will increase deaths due to things like asthma, lung disease and heart disease from about 15,000 annually to about 40,000 annually. The shocking link between wildfire smoke and deaths adds one more benefit to a plan to convert millions of tons of brush and small trees into electricity. The Arizona Corporation Commission is considering whether to require utilities to buy enough biomass to generate 90 kilowatts of electricity annually. Thinning 50,000 acres of ponderosa pine forests would provide enough fuel to do that — since the biomass too small for sawmills amounts to about 26 tons per acre.

 

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Changing climate, longer growing seasons complicate outlook for coniferous forests

By University of Colorado at Boulder
Phys.Org
December 19, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

For decades, ecologists have differed over a longstanding mystery: Will a longer, climate-induced growing season ultimately help coniferous forests to grow or hurt them? A new University of Colorado Boulder study may help researchers find a more definitive answer. As climate warming has lengthened growing seasons, two scenarios seem plausible: If forest growth increases as a result of milder temperatures during more of the year, the additional tree cover could help remove carbon dioxide emissions from the atmosphere at a faster rate. Conversely, if growth decreases as a result of decreased moisture or increased heat-related stress, carbon absorption would decline and climate warming could accelerate even beyond current levels. Despite a large number of studies on the topic, no standard for measuring the beginning, middle and end of a growing season has emerged, leading to diverging—and at times, wildly opposite—conclusions.

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Did Jerry Brown do enough on climate change?

By Jacques Leslie
The Los Angeles Times
December 17, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

Jerry Brown

Jerry Brown, in the last term of his two-part, 16-year governorship, came close to redeeming his environmental faults. Brown deserves a salute for striving to get out the message that climate change is indeed, in his words, a global “existential crisis” and that we are living in the “new abnormal.” …In environmental justice, Brown’s record was undistinguished. …He has used wildfire effectively to proselytize for climate action, but his solution — more money for forest logging — isn’t what most California fire and forest ecology experts stress. In recent years, the state has suffered an array of environmental woes, to varying degrees climate-related: the catastrophic fires, drought, heat waves, encroaching sea levels, dwindling fish stocks, toxic air quality. Brown’s climate efforts have been profoundly important; it’s a measure of the breadth of the environmental crisis that they haven’t been nearly enough.

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Haines explores the possibility of using local timber as fuel for biomass boilers

By Henry Leasia
KHNS Radio
December 14, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

Biomass boilers have been springing up across Haines over the past few years. The boilers generate heat by burning wood pellets made of condensed sawdust. Now the borough hopes to install a boiler that runs on larger wood chips to heat several municipal buildings. If the wood chips are produced locally that could mean savings for the borough and a new source of income for the local timber industry. …In 2012, CIA installed a biomass boiler for a subdivision it manages. Harriet Brouillette is the tribal administrator for CIA. She said heating with pellets is definitely cheaper, but it doesn’t solve the issues of sustainability and fuel security. “We are happy with the pellet system, but we’re reliant on shipping pellets from the lower 48. How do you create a sustainable community if you’re having to import pellets? It doesn’t make sense,” Brouillette said.

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Corporation Commission can help save the forest

By the Editorial Board
Payson Roundup
December 14, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

We fear the Arizona Corporation Commission’s about to make a terrible mistake.Advocates of forest restoration have been bombarding the commissioners in an effort to prevent wildfires from turning towns like Payson to ash.  …Arizona Public Service did a study on what it would take to burn all that fuel. Someone would have to build one or two new power plants at a cost of roughly $500 million each. Because of the need to haul the low-value wood to the power plant, the APS study estimates burning biomass would cost two or three times as much as building new solar or natural gas power plants. Therefore, the utility company’s study estimated turning 1.5 million tons of biomass into electricity each year would raise bills by $1 to $4 a month. That’s a bargain, given the cost of letting a plague of wildfires ravage Arizona’s forests.

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Advocates fear death blow for forest restoration

By Peter Aleshire
Payson Roundup
December 14, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

The Arizona Corporation Commission this week could gut rules on burning forest biomass, which would deal a near death blow to efforts to restore the forest and reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires, say advocates. Supporters of the 4-Forests Restoration Initiative (4FRI) panicked last week when they got a look at a long-awaited commission staff report on generating power from biomass – the millions of tons of branches, small trees and slash generated by efforts to thin two million acres of Northern Arizona forests. Forest restoration backers want the commission to boost the amount of biomass utilities now use from 28 megawatts to 90 megawatts. That would provide a market for enough biomass to thin 50,000 acres of ponderosa pine forest annually. Instead, the staff report provided a rationale for eliminating even the current 28 megawatt requirement – which has sustained the single, biomass power plant in the state.

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Extra pollution controls on Enviva wood pellet plant still don’t address industry’s contributions to climate change

By Lisa Sorg
The Progressive Pulse
January 15, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

The controversial Enviva wood pellet plant in Hamlet (North Carolina) has received a key state permit that would allow it to pulverize more logs and ship the pellets overseas to be burned as fuel. As Policy Watch reported in November, Enviva had asked the Department of Environmental Quality to modify its air permit in more than a dozen ways. The most significant request was an increase in production of pellets from 537,000 oven-dried tons per year to 625,000. The Maryland-based company also wanted to change with the mix of softwoods and hardwoods it would use. …DEQ said in its press release that after considering public comments, the agency required additional pollution monitoring and controls on the plant. For example, Enviva will now have to test for particulate matter, including PM 2.5. 

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In North Carolina, wood pellet foes see opportunity in Cooper’s climate order

By Elizabeth Ouzts, Dogwood Alliance
The Energy News Network
January 2, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

Undaunted by critics, biomass company Enviva is bidding to make North Carolina the country’s top exporter of wood pellets, a popular coal substitute in Europe whose purported climate benefits have come under increasing scrutiny. For years, environmental advocates and many scientists here have fought toxic air pollution from pellet mills and tried to rebut claims that wood pellets are carbon neutral — both with limited success. But just as an international report warns that time is running out to avoid the worst impacts of global warming, advocates say a recent executive order on climate change by Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, gives them new leverage to push back against Enviva’s proposed expansion. “It’s time to put the brakes on this runaway train,” Danna Smith, executive director of the advocacy group Dogwood Alliance.

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The trade-offs of burning wood for fuel

By Leila Philip
The Boston Globe
December 20, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

I am splitting firewood. …Like many who live in rural New England, we heat primarily with wood. …Given where we are now, is heating with wood a truly “green” alternative? We know we are failing to curb the human-generated carbon emissions that accelerate climate change. …Burning trees to generate heat or electricity has been considered “carbon neutral,” because burning a tree gives off the same amount of carbon as it would if it decayed naturally. …But this equation of carbon neutrality fails to take into account that it takes little time to burn wood but years to grow that tree back; there is a long carbon payback time. …As we face climate change, we each need to consider what choices we have.

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New research suggests forests, like humans, require a balanced diet

By West Virginia University
Phys.Org
December 19, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

Brenden McNeil

The world’s forests are on a fast food diet of carbon dioxide, which is currently causing them to grow faster. But Brenden McNeil, a researcher at West Virginia University, … finds evidence suggesting that forest growth may soon peak as the trees deplete nitrogen in the soil over longer growing seasons. West Virginia’s wildlands are a “canary in the coal mine for climate change” because of the forests’ biodiversity … make them among the strongest forests globally… The state’s forests have been resilient to … logging and acid rain … but are now exhibiting symptoms of declining health because of climate change. Trees, like humans, need to have more than one thing in their diets … and the proliferation of carbon dioxide is force-feeding them the one thing they use most. McNeil said the challenge is to restore a balanced diet for forests by severely cutting back or ending altogether the use of fossil fuels.

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The Forest for the Trees: New Device Tells Scientists About Climate Effects

By Steve Baragona
Voice of America News
January 21, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

A device called a TreeTalker is providing information about trees to people who oversee forests and woodlands. The device aims to measure the growth and general health of trees. Scientists say the new technology is important because trees are believed to be under increasing stress because of changes in the world’s climate. … Antonio Brunori is Secretary-General of PEFC Italy. …The TreeTalker devices serve as an early warning system for people overseeing forests. Brunori said TreeTalker turns “eco-physiological signals, such as growth, absorption of carbon dioxide, liquid flow from roots to leaves – into scientific information.” This information can help show if a tree is under attack from insects or other organisms. Riccardo Valentini invented the new device. He also is head of the Euro-Mediterranean Center on Climate Change.

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How Davos Meeting Can Help End Deforestation (and Climate Change)

By Steve Zwick, Managing Editor
Ecosystem Marketplace
January 19, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

World leaders from government, business, and civil society will converge on the alpine town of Davos, Switzerland next week for the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting, where they’ll look for ways to cooperate on ending climate change. …the “Zero-Deforestation Supply Chain Movement,” which is a key component of the global effort to end climate change, and next week’s Annual Meeting could provide the impetus for moving into a new period of activity that ends deforestation and reverses climate change. First, some background: the supply chain movement… hundreds of companies pledged to reduce their impact on forests by changing the way they produce, procure, and process commodities. …While failing to end deforestation, the supply chain movement has catalyzed a restructuring of global supply chains for cattle, soy,  palm oil and pulp & paper – the “big four” commodities responsible for most of the world’s deforestation.

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Climate change mitigation with boreal forests and wood-based products

By University of Eastern Finland
SciTech Europa
January 16, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Dr Antti Kilpeläinen and Professor Heli Peltola explain how boreal forests and forestry play a crucial role in climate change mitigation. Boreal forests and forestry play a crucial role in the global carbon cycle and climate change mitigation. The use of boreal forests and forest-based biomass (timber and energy biomass) responds to the increasing demand for renewable energy and wood-based materials. Using wood-based materials and energy biomass from sustainably managed forests has great potential for the long-term reduction of carbon emissions. Sustainable climate change mitigation requires increases in carbon sequestration and carbon stocks in forest ecosystems (soil and tree biomass) and related technosystems (i.e. outside forests).

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VTT develops a new sustainable way to turn forestry waste into transport fuels and chemicals

By VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
EurekAlert
January 15, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd has developed a new technique based on gasification, which offers a sustainable way to turn forest industry byproducts, such as bark, sawdust and forestry waste, into transport fuels and chemicals. The new technique reduces carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 90% compared to fossil fuels. …According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), modern bioenergy plays a key role in building a cleaner and more sustainable energy system. …the IEA estimates that bioenergy will be the most rapidly growing form of renewable energy between 2018 and 2023. …Bioenergy is needed, in particular, for reducing emissions from air transport and shipping and as a back-up fuel for road transport as more electric cars are introduced. The use of forest industry by-products… as raw materials does not impact on the carbon sink effect of forests, and they do not compete against forest industry raw material procurement or food production.

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Subsidies of up to £1billion given to firms for burning wood in power stations could be axed – as critics argue it creates same CO2 as coal

By Colin Fernandez
The Daily Mail
January 14, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Controversial subsidies for burning wood in power stations could be scrapped in the drive to clean up Britain’s air. Firms that burn wood pellets currently receive about £1billion a year because, unlike coal, these are considered renewable sources of energy. But critics say burning wood produces similar amounts of carbon dioxide to coal, contributing to air pollution. It also increases the logging of forests in the US, while shipping them to Britain in vast quantities has a further negative effect on the environment. The U-turn comes after years of state support for ‘biomass’ such as wood pellets… The clean air strategy includes proposals to scrap some subsidies paid under so-called ‘contracts for difference’. 

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How much can forests fight climate change?

By Gabriel Popkin
Nature, International Journal of Science
January 15, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

When it comes to fighting global warming, trees have emerged as one of the most popular weapons. …Forest schemes got a big boost from the 2015 Paris climate accord, which for the first time counted all countries’ efforts to offset their carbon emissions from fossil-fuel use and other sources by planting or protecting forests. …Many scientists applaud the push for expanding forests, but some urge caution. …Such concerns have prompted vigorous debate among scientists about how forests in different regions have warming or cooling effects. …If tree-planting programmes work as advertised, they could buy precious time for the world to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels and replace them with cleaner sources of energy. One widely cited 2017 study estimated that forests could provide more than one-third of the total CO2 reductions required. …Such schemes required firm data on how much carbon is locked up in forests.

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4th Biomass Trade and Power Europe Summit Probes Record Price Rise, High Demand, Supply Crunches

Alternative Energy Magazine
January 9, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Major European utilities and global pellet suppliers return to Copenhagen on 12-13 February 2019 for CMT’s 4th Biomass Trade and Power Europe Summit to assess biomass price trends, capacity increases, and supply projections to satisfy the rising biomass demand in Europe. The acclaimed annual summit on Europe’s biomass power market trends makes a comeback in 2019 with a refreshed program featuring three panel discussions: A Utility and Trader Panel; The growth of the wood chip market; and Global Producer Panel. …Organized by Centre for Management Technology (CMT), the summit also focuses on: Overview of the European Wood Pellet Market; The Next Frontier for the Wood Pellet Market: A Look at Future Markets for the Wood Pellet Industry; Overview of the International Wood Chip Market – Hawkins Wright…

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Plant pines, not natives to make money from carbon farming, says consultant

By Heather Chalmers
Stuff.co.nz
January 8, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Landowners planting forests for carbon credits should plant pine trees rather than natives to achieve the best returns, a carbon consultant says. Ollie Belton, a partner of Permanent Forests NZ a Christchurch-based carbon consultancy, said that the rate that natives absorb carbon dioxide was much lower than for pinus radiata. Sequestration calculations used by the Emissions Trading Scheme for forests under 100 hectares showed that pinus radiata absorbed almost 1000 tonnes of carbon over 25 years, while native forests absorbed less than 300 tonnes. Belton said measurements he had done on native forests of more than 100ha showed most performed less than the ETS calculations, some only achieving a half to a third of this. In contrast, many pine forests performed better than the default figures.

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COP24: Green groups warn of pitfalls in ‘forests for climate’ deal

By Hans Nicholas
Mongabay
January 3, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

KATOWICE, Poland — A plan adopted by delegates at last month’s climate summit in Poland to weaponize forests in the fight against global warming could have a disastrous outcome, environmentalists say. …Paola Deda, chief of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe’s (UNECE) forestry and timber section, said the forest declaration was made not only to keep forests healthy, but also to promote the use of sustainable forest products. …But observers say the wording of the declaration… presents an opportunity for wide-scale logging — effectively going against the call to expand forest cover to fight climate change. …“The role of forest products and forest-related climate actions are the main call to action in this declaration,” said Christoph Thies, of Greenpeace Poland in Katowice. “The forest declaration could turn quickly to be a logging declaration, which will be disastrous for the climate, biodiversity, soil, water circulation and the welfare of the local communities.”

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Concrete responsible for 8 per cent of all CO2 emissions, says report

By Fran Williams
The Architects’ Journal
January 2, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Architects have been urged to reconsider their use of concrete after research found that cement – its key ingredient – was responsible for 8 per cent of global CO2 emissions. Research by the think tank Chatham House, underlines the need for drastic changes in the production and use of concrete, the world’s most used man-made material, because of the way in which cement is made. …Responding to the research, carbon emissions expert and adviser to the RIBA Stirling Prize jury Simon Sturgis called on architects and engineers to develop a ‘much better understanding of the materials they specify’. There are alternatives to cement such as… timber alternatives by architects including SOM. Anthony Thistleton, a pioneer and champion of the use of cross-laminated timber (CLT) on multistorey buildings, called on architects to move out of the ‘concrete age’ and into the ‘timber age’.

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Forest-based biomass industry: Where are we today and where are going tomorrow?

Bio-Based World News
December 19, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

“This will be a year when the industry starts to tell its story a bit louder.” 8,000 years ago a squirrel could have swung through the trees from Lisbon to Moscow without touching the ground. That’s how abundant forests once were across Europe. This was just one of many interesting facts given out by Berry Wiersum, CEO at paper-based packaging company Sappi Europe, when he gave a snapshot of the European forest bioeconomy at the 8th Nordic Wood Biorefinery Conference (NWBC). This event – a leading meeting forum for wood biorefinery professions – took place at the Scandic Marina Congress Centre in Helsinki, Finland, on 23-25 October and was hosted by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. Delegates also heard how the forest-based biomass industry was helping to build a bioeconomy at a time when impending threats of climate change and peak oil were driving the world towards increased use of biomass for chemical compounds and other materials. Wood density in Europe is also growing.

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Billions more trees needed for New Zealand to be carbon neutral

By Matt Brown
Stuff.co.nz
December 21, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

New Zealand needs to plant a ridiculously large number of trees and Shane Jones’ one billion tree plan is only a fraction of what is required. According to a report released by the Productivity Commission in August, New Zealand won’t be carbon neutral by 2050 without a massive increase in forestry planting to offset the carbon being produced. The commission’s models required the planting rate to double, from 50,000 hectares to 100,000ha per year and the length of the programme to triple from 10 to 30 years. More than 3 million hectares of land had been marked as potentially suitable for forestry in a Ministry for Primary Industries map, including the likes of the Wither Hills Farm Park, in Blenheim, a council-owned recreational reserve and pastoral farm.

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COP24: Summit a step forward, but fails to address climate urgency

By Justin Catanoso
Mongabay.com
December 17, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

KATOWICE, Poland – COP24, the most important United Nations climate summit since Paris in 2015 produced “1,000 tiny steps forward” but not the robust global consensus on climate action that observers demanded in order to meet the urgency of the moment. …Of great concern, COP24 failed altogether to address the bioenergy issue: an IPCC carbon counting loophole that originated in the Kyoto Protocol, and was carried forward in the Paris Agreement. …Pleas for emissions-accounting reform by NGOs fell on deaf ears. …According to critics, the loophole threatens the emission-reduction goals of the Paris Agreement, making them difficult, if not impossible, to meet, while encouraging deforestation where we can least afford it – old-growth forests in Eastern Europe and tropical rainforests in South America. Both Brazil and Peru are already gearing up to meet Europe’s demand for wood pellets to be burned as fuel.

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Pakistan, China sign MoU for forestation and climate

Radio Pakistan
December 17, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Ministry of Climate Change and Chinese government have signed an MoU to strengthen bilateral relations in the field of forestry and climate. Advisor to Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam and Ambassador of China Yao Jing also witnessed the ceremony in this connection on Monday. Advisor on Climate Change on this occasion lauded the Chinese government environmental projects of Eco-Civilization and Green Wall of China. He said that China has supported professionals from Pakistan through participation in training courses on forestry, wildlife, rangeland improvement, wetland management and desertification control in the past. Malik Amin Aslam said Pakistan is also in the process of implementing massive forestation projects in the country hence Pakistan will get an opportunity to learn from the Chinese experience.

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What was agreed at COP24 in Poland and why did it take so long?

By Fiona Harvey
The Guardian
December 16, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Countries settled on most of the tricky elements of the “rulebook” for putting the 2015 Paris agreement into practice. …There was a row over carbon credits, which are awarded to countries for their emissions-cutting efforts and their carbon sinks, such as forests, which absorb carbon. These credits count towards countries’ emissions-cutting targets. Brazil, which hopes to benefit from its large rainforest cover, insisted on a new form of wording that critics said would allow double counting of credits, undermining the integrity of the system. This issue has been put off until next year. …Largely absent from these talks, which had a technical focus, was the key question of how countries will step up their targets on cutting emissions. …The key deadline is 2020, when countries must show they have met targets set a decade ago for cutting their emissions, and when they must affirm new, much tougher targets.

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Nations Agree On Rules To Put Paris Climate Agreement Into Action

By Rebecca Hersher
National Public Radio
December 15, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Nearly 200 countries have agreed on a set of rules to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, a crucial step in implementing the landmark 2015 Paris climate agreement. The rules describe in detail how countries will track their emissions and communicate with each other about their progress in the coming years and decades. But it stops short of committing them to the more ambitious emissions reductions necessary to slow climate change. …One of the most fundamental parts of the so-called rule book negotiated at the talks is a section on transparency, which governs what information governments must disclose to each other about their greenhouse gas emissions. …But the talks also left many issues unresolved, including whether countries will commit to transitioning even more quickly to clean energy sources, and how much richer countries will help poorer countries pay for that transition.

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