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Category Archives: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

This summer, Canada’s land of ice was on fire

By Kyle Edwards
Maclean’s Magazine
September 16, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada

Chad Thomas started fighting wildfires at 16, sacrificing every summer since battling the blazes that claim ever-growing tracts of the Yukon’s boreal forest and peatlands. …Now 31, he is the CEO of Yukon First Nations Wildfire, a firefighting service that draws from eight Indigenous governments across the territory. …At the time of this writing, there had been 111 wildfires in the Yukon in 2019, and 44 were still active. The total hectares burned—252,902—is nearly 50 per cent more than the territory’s 10-year average. “There’s a very healthy sense of fear,” says Thomas, “not just in First Nations but among all members of the North.” …Few take comfort knowing this year’s fire total is not enormously high—not, at least, by recent standards. …Damien Burns, the territory’s director of wildfire management, says the fires that do start are burning “hotter, deeper, and they’re a little harder to suppress.” 

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Canadian Standards Association publishes first Canadian guide for wood chip fuel

By Sebnem Madrali and Jaime Fernandez
Canadian Biomass
September 10, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada

A new CSA SPE 2254:19 Guide to Wood Chip fuel: Characteristics, supply, storage and procurement was published in May 2019. This first edition of the guide was developed under the CSA banner with technical guidance from Natural Resources Canada and industry stakeholders. The guide aims to build confidence in an emerging market by linking players in the wood chip fuel supply chain and to become a communication tool by bringing common terminology and language to the marketplace. It is available for online purchasing at CSA web site store.csagroup.org. Why wood chip fuel? Wood chips are well suited to meet energy needs for space heating and hot water in buildings… and displace conventional fossil fuels… wood chips are also a less costly option compared to fossil fuels.

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N.W.T.’s record wildfire season in 2014 tipping point for boreal forest, says study

CBC News
September 7, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada

Canada’s boreal forests are producing more carbon than they capture during bad forest-fire years, and a new report from Wilfrid Laurier University expects this trend to continue.  “The boreal forest is a really critical carbon store for the planet. It stores about a third of the terrestrial carbon,” said Jennifer Baltzer, Wilfrid Laurier University associate professor and co-author of a paper recently published in the scientific journal Nature.  Baltzer and her family have spent several summers in the Yellowknife area, including the summer of 2014 — the worst wildfire season on record for the N.W.T. It was this summer that kicked off an indirect collaboration with the N.W.T. government to look into the impacts of extreme wildfire seasons and ultimately fuelled Baltzer’s research in this area. 

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How you can be part of the global tree-planting effort

CBC News
September 5, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada

A study published last month in the journal Science said the best way to fight climate change is to plant at least a trillion trees worldwide. …If you’ve been wanting to help in this worldwide effort, but aren’t sure where to start, here are some pointers. …There are groups and organizations that will do that crucial legwork for you. Trees Winnipeg, for example, has a program that will match homeowners with the best tree for their yard, and even supply everything they’ll need to get it off to a healthy start. There’s also the non-profit organization LEAF, which works in and around Toronto. …Can I make a donation so someone else can plant trees? Absolutely. Tree Canada can help you do that. It’s a registered charity that has been boosting the country’s urban forests for more than 25 years. 

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Environment champions want voters to make climate their main priority this fall

Canadian Press in Vancouver Sun
September 3, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada

OTTAWA — Two leading Canadian activists say voters need to think about climate change as if we are a country at war against greenhouse-gas emissions. “There’s never been a moment quite like this in human history,” said Stephen Lewis, a former Ontario NDP leader, who chaired a 1988 international conference on climate change on the initiative of then prime minister Brian Mulroney. …“We really have to motivate people to get involved and here we have an election coming when climate can be made the major issue,” he said. …He and longtime environmentalist David Suzuki are joining to run a series of campaign-period talks aimed at encouraging young people to stand up and make this election entirely about saving the planet from what Lewis calls “self-immolation.” …Suzuki said voters often get distracted by other things as a campaign goes on, and he is hoping to find a way to keep [environment] front and centre.

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Global climate fund to get boost as five wealthy nations pledge almost $6-billion

By Megan Rowling
The Globe and Mail
August 29, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, International

Five wealthy nations have promised new contributions worth almost $6-billion to the UN-backed Green Climate Fund, which is seeking to refill its coffers this year to ramp up efforts to help poorer countries combat climate change. The donations come ahead of an official pledging conference planned for the end of October… in Ottawa this week. At last weekend’s summit of powerful G7 nations, Britain, France and Canada announced fresh support for the Green Climate Fund. …But U.S. President Donald Trump refused to deliver two-thirds of a $3-billion promise made by his predecessor. …Germany and Norway already announced in late 2018 they would double their initial contributions, and the new pledges from Britain and France are also twice what they first gave.

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‘A double whammy’: CPAWS calls for more protection of biodiversity as a way to also fight climate change

CBC News
August 29, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada

The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society wants the federal government to pay more attention to protecting the country’s biodiversity — a goal it says dovetails with existing efforts to combat climate change. “It’s kind of a double whammy,” said Florence Daviet with CPAWS. …Daviet said there are numerous human activities “that are directly impacting biodiversity and directly causing greenhouse gas emissions” and Canada needs a better plan to mitigate both types of environmental damage, simultaneously. …To that end, CPAWS is calling for a billion-dollar fund for projects that would protect ecosystems and plant and animal life while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions resulting from land-use change. …The report adds that better management of Canada’s forests, grasslands, oceans and wetlands is “part of the climate change solution.”

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British Columbia Communities are Unlocking a $3.3 Billion Energy Efficiency Opportunity

By Efficiency Canada
Cision Newswire
September 20, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

VANCOUVER — Many of BC’s fastest growing cities and towns are incentivizing and/or requiring higher levels of energy efficiency in new construction, spurring healthier, more comfortable, and more durable buildings. …The communities are using the BC Energy Step Code, a recently introduced provincial regulation that allows them to require their builders to exceed the code’s minimum legal energy-efficiency requirements. In doing so, they’re helping drive a $3.3 billion new market for high-efficiency building products, according to a recent Vancouver Economic Commission study. …The province has set a goal that all new buildings must reach an exceptionally high level of energy efficiency performance by 2032.

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From Fires to Floods, Extreme Weather May Be Shaping Canadians’ Views on Climate Crisis

By Erick Lachapelle and James Boothroyd
The Tyee
September 12, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

With an election looming and climate change a burning issue, will Canadians’ experience of extreme weather shape the outcome? Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives seem to be betting it won’t. Others are counting on biblical floods and the clouds of smoke from wildfires to push voters into the arms of parties promising radical action. New research by EcoAnalytics, a non-profit initiative of university researchers and Canadian environmental charities, suggests the latter might be nearer the mark; but it’s complicated — and that many are allowing preconceptions to cloud their judgment. Our surveys show that Canadian public opinion is on the move. From 2011 to 2018, the percentage of Canadians who believe there is solid evidence of climate change rose from 80 to 90 per cent, and the belief that human activity causes climate change rose from 40 to 65 per cent. Scholars consider the latter a “gateway” belief, because those who hold it tend to support actions and policies to reduce carbon pollution.

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Find out about Revelstoke climate change future scenarios with online tool

Revelstoke Mountaineer
September 11, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

There’s a new online source for people seeking easy-to-understand information on climate change specific to communities throughout the Columbia Basin and Boundary regions. The Columbia Basin Climate Source website—basinclimatesource.ca— was initiated by Columbia Basin Trust and developed by Selkirk College’s Applied Research and Innovation Centre. “We’ve spoken extensively with residents and communities and heard they want to learn how to reduce their contributions to greenhouse gas emissions and learn how to adapt to climate change,” said Tim Hicks, Trust Senior Manager, Delivery of Benefits. “We also heard people want more detailed information about how climate change may affect their communities in the coming decades. This website shares that information with great depth and detail.” Through data, videos, maps and more, the website provides a one-stop site that helps users learn about how the climate is changing across the region (with detailed projections for over 40 climate variables)

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Forest fires in 2017 released staggering amount of GHGs

By Nelson Bennett
Business in Vancouver
September 9, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

Half a per cent. That’s how much British Columbia’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions declined overall over a 10-year period, according to the B.C. government’s annual greenhouse gas inventory for 2017. But the really disturbing number in B.C.’s GHG inventory is buried down in a section that isn’t actually counted as part of B.C.’s emissions budget: forest fires. In 2017, GHGs from forest fires was a staggering 176 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent (CO2e). That is more than 2.5 times what B.C.’s total official GHG count was for 2017. It is four times higher than carbon emissions released from forest fires in 2003, which was the previous worst year for forest fires since the province started tracking GHG emissions in 1990.

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Connecting the dots between the climate and biodiversity crises

By David Suzuki
The Georgia Straight
September 9, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

The polar bear has become the poster child for climate-change impacts in the Arctic. Sea ice, which the bears depend on for hunting, is melting at an ever-expanding rate. …Some industries are trying to use the ever-evolving climate crisis to stall habitat protection and recovery. When the forestry industry called for a delay in much-needed recovery measures, citing the need to explore climate-change impacts on caribou populations, some leading caribou scientists wrote: “There is little evidence to suggest that climate change brought caribou populations to their current threatened condition, nor does climate change explain the rapid rates of decline and range recession that are continuing today in many locations.” …As daunting as both crises are, we can’t look away. We must face them and change course. All living things depend on a stable climate and functioning ecosystems. Our planet is the only one with badgers and dragonflies—and chocolate! It’s worth fighting for.

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B.C. greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase

By Tom Fletcher
BC Local News
September 9, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada West

B.C.’s greenhouse gas emissions increased again in 2017, despite reduced carbon dioxide intensity from key sources including oil and gas refining and road transportation. The B.C. environment ministry released its latest data Monday, reporting a 1.7 per cent increase over 2016 in carbon dioxide equivalent emissions. After accounting for one million tonnes of carbon offsets from forest management projects, net emissions were calculated at 64.5 million tonnes for the year. …That was the year that the NDP government replaced the former B.C. Liberal government, which had gone five years without increasing the province’s carbon tax, which could also have improved B.C.’s results, Heyman said. …The official B.C. total does not include the effect of a record year for area burned by wildfires in 2017. The provincial data show wildfire emissions for the year of 176,550 tonnes, almost three times total emissions from the officially measured sources. For 2016, the wildfire emissions were 12,500 tonnes.

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Environmental activist Tzeporah Berman receives $2M climate award

Canadian Press in the Prince George Citizen
September 4, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

VANCOUVER — A well-known environmental campaigner from British Columbia has received a (US)$2 million award from a global organization that supports projects aimed at curbing climate change. The Climate Breakthrough Project says Tzeporah Berman is the 2019 recipient of its annual award. Berman co-founded Stand.earth, the organization behind numerous environmental campaigns, including those targeting expansion of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline, pollution caused by Carnival cruise ships and Proctor & Gamble for making toilet paper from intact forests. A statement from the Climate Breakthrough Project calls Berman “bold and visionary,” someone who remains committed to real-world results and to negotiating lasting victories.

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Is this the world’s cleanest pellet plant?

BC Local News
August 20, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

Terrace’s new pellet plant is attracting international attention as the transition continues from fossil fuel dependence to more sustainable energy sources. Skeena BioEnergy’s $20 million facility on the west side of Skeena Sawmills is aiming to establish itself as a green energy alternative, using the most modern machinery to minimize emissions and safety risks. Recent regulations from the Ministry of Environment require biomass pellet plants to have the best technology available, meaning everything at the Skeena pellet plant is state-of-the-art. …At full capacity, the pellet plant itself is expected to create an additional 22 to 25 jobs. But the relationship it has with Skeena Sawmills also creates more job opportunities, Johnston says. …Industry experts say both Japan and South Korea are expected to drive most of the demand, due to new policies and projects dedicated to wood pellet electrical consumption.

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UBC plots $20.4-million expansion of emissions-reducing bioenergy heating plant

By Derrick Penner
Vancouver Sun
August 20, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

The University of B.C. is going to spend $20.4 million to expand a wood-waste-burning energy plant, with $7.6 million in federal help, to cut natural-gas use and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. UBC built its initial biomass-fuelled research and demonstration facility in 2012, with Vancouver-based bioenergy firm Nexterra Systems and General Electric, as a $27-million bid to trim carbon dioxide emissions by 4,500 tonnes per year. Now, the $20-million expansion will see installation of a new boiler by the fall of 2020, increasing the plant’s capacity to generate 70 per cent of the hot water needed in UBC’s district energy system, reducing its natural-gas use by half and cutting CO2 emissions by 14,500 tonnes per year. …The plant gets its wood waste from a fuel consolidator that draws from more than 100 sources, Woodson said. However, they were surprised to learn that among those the three biggest sources were furniture manufacturing, sawmill waste and the gardening wood waste from municipalities.

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Nova Scotia asking for input on carbon credit opportunities

By Stuart Peddle
The Telegram
September 19, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada East, Canada

Nova Scotia is looking for someone to study the potential in the province to generate carbon offset credits. …Jason Hollett… said the current cap and trade program covers about 80 per cent of all of the emissions in Nova Scotia in about 25 or 30 companies. “There’s potential to generate offsets that would… come from that 20 per cent,” Hollett said. …The RFP stipulates that a successful proponent’s study “will identify the sectors, project types, and protocols that are most viable in Nova Scotia, as well as identify risks and opportunities relating to offset projects.” …“One example you’ll often hear about is forestry,” said Meghan McMorris, community energy co-ordinator with the Ecology Action Centre. Planting trees instead of clearcutting works for carbon offset because large forests capture carbon as the trees grow.

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Canadian biomass event cancelled due to ‘political uncertainty’

Bioenergy Insight Magazine
September 13, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada East, Canada

The Biomass North Forum in Canada has been cancelled due to ‘political uncertainty’. The event in Ottawa that aimed to connect Canada’s bioeconomy had been due to take place from 17-19 September. According to organisers, the primary goals of the forum were to: strengthen and extend the sector network in the country, offer ‘meaningful content’ that improves stakeholders’ understanding and ability to participate in the emerging bioeconomy, connect Canadian businesses and communities with opportunities, communicate academic research with the businesses and communities that need to make informed decisions, inform policymakers about best practices and earn enough income to offset some of the company’s operational costs and to plan future events. Dawn Lambe, executive director of the Biomass North Development Centre, published a statement… explaining the decision.

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California can help save the Amazon rainforest. Do we have the guts to try?

By William Boyd
The Los Angeles Times
September 12, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, International

Fires burning in Brazil and the broader Amazon basin are shining a spotlight on the role of forests and land use in the climate change challenge. Next week, the California Air Resources Board will hold a hearing that could have a direct impact on such fires. On Sept. 19, the board will vote on whether to endorse its proposed Tropical Forest Standard. California has been working on this standard for 11 years through a unique partnership with 37 other states and provinces from 10 countries around the world, including all of the states in the Brazilian Amazon. Full disclosure: I have served as the project lead for this effort since its inception. At its core, the Tropical Forest Standard establishes a set of performance benchmarks for what a high-quality state or provincial approach to reducing deforestation should aim for. 

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Genomics-Based Research Will Help Develop Crops for Bioenergy

By The US Department of Energy
United States Government
August 21, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, the U.S. Department of Energy announced $64 million in funding for 25 university-led genomics research projects on plants and microbes for bioenergy and bioproducts. The plant research—12 projects totaling $29 million over three years—focuses on expanding knowledge of gene function in plants to be grown for bioenergy and bioproducts.  The aim is to pinpoint the connection between specific regions of plant genomes and particular plant traits, so that features such as drought resistance and crop yield can be improved. …“We are entering an era when genomics is giving us ever greater understanding of what controls biological systems,” said Under Secretary for Science Paul Dabbar. 

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​How biomass helps farmers make the most of ‘waste wood’

Mother Nature Network
August 19, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, International

Trees are an important part of any farm. They reduce erosion and flooding, absorb air pollutants, provide habitat for insect-eating birds, and cast shade to help livestock stay cool. …In some cases, however, this kind of “waste wood” can hold hidden value as a source of biomass energy. It may only be a small splinter of the overall biomass market, and it won’t save the world from climate change, but it’s still a potentially useful resource for farmers, rural economies and the ecosystems that support all of us. …In the meantime, it could also provide valuable benefits for farmers. And while waste wood may only be a small part of that, at a time when climates and economies are undergoing dramatic change around the world, many farmers need all the help they can get.

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Sierra Pacific installs 30 acres of solar panels to power Red Bluff sites

By Julie Zeeb
The Red Bluff Daily News
September 18, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

RED BLUFF, CALIFORNIA — Sierra Pacific Industries is installing of 30 acres of solar panels at its Reading Road property just outside of Red Bluff. The installation of the 30,240 solar panels began Friday, said Millwork Division Manager Bill Carroll, who has been working on the project for about 18 months. The installation… should be completed by Dec. 1. The $12 million project is expected to provide about 30 years worth of savings to the company… said North Sierra Community Relations Manager Kristy Lanham. “This solar project will generate power for our windows division plant and office and the Red Bluff millworks plant and office, which is unique,” Lanham said. …The company is also being green through its biomass facilities, of which there are five in California, Lanham said.

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Delta looks to power planes using forest debris

By Steve Creedy
Airline Ratings
September 18, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

Delta Air Lines is looking into establishing a biofuels plant in Washington state that would use debris on forest floors to produce fuel for its US West Coast operations. The US carrier is investing $US2 million to partner with Northwest Advanced Bio-Fuels to look at the production of sustainable aviation fuel for its operations in operations Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Sustainable aviation fuels are still seen as a major weapon in global moves by the aviation industry to significantly cut emissions but there have been difficulties attracting government support. Delta expects the feasibility study to be completed by the middle of 2020 at which point the carrier will evaluate its next move. If it proceeds, the first fuel potentially delivered by the end of 2023.

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‘There is no silver lining’: why Alaska fires are a glimpse of our climate future

By Elizabeth Harball
The Guardian UK
August 23, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

Major fires are burning this week in south-central Alaska, lengthening the state’s wildfire season, which has usually ended by the beginning of August. They come after Alaska’s hottest July on record, during which its largest city, Anchorage, had a temperature pass 90F (32C) for the first time. On top of that, the area has seen little rain this summer, resulting in extremely dry conditions. As firefighters tackle the blazes, officials are facing the longer term challenges of keeping the region safe amid increasing evidence of the impacts of the climate crisis. Wildfires are a growing concern around the country. According to the latest National Climate Assessment, hotter, drier conditions over the past two decades have led to more area being burned across the US.

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Cap-and-trade legislation won’t address wildfire

By Rep. Kim Wallan, R-Medford
Mail Tribune
August 25, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

Kim Wallan

The proponents of the cap-and-trade tax legislation that failed to pass in the recent legislative session are working hard to promote certain narratives about what it would mean for Oregon if it passes. The most disturbing of these narratives is that this tax will somehow address the wildfires that fill our skies with smoke every summer. This claim simply cannot go unanswered; the flaws in the logic are manifold. . …Asserting that taxing fossil fuels will somehow reverse the current trend ignores the obvious and immediate causes of our wildfires. Dry conditions in the forests is a clear contributor, but there are many other factors as well, and we are fools if we ignore them: For 30 years we have been reducing the number of board feet of timber we remove from the land while the trees continue to grow.

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Federal Ruling On Biomass Subsidies Marks Double Defeat For Timber Sector

By Annie Ropeik
New Hampshire Public Radio
September 19, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

Federal regulators said that a state law passed last year to subsidize biomass power plants is invalid, marking the second big defeat in two days for New Hampshire’s forest products industry.  The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is siding with New Hampshire’s ratepayer advocate and a conservative lobbying group, which filed the petition against the 2018 subsidy law. That law requires utilities to buy electricity from six struggling wood-fired power plants in the state. It hasn’t taken effect yet – Eversource and the biomass plants couldn’t agree on contracts, and the state declined to step in. Now, FERC says the law would mean the state is setting an electric rate – something only federal regulators are empowered to do. It means FERC likely wouldn’t approve any contracts filed under the law, making it effectively void despite an ongoing state Supreme Court challenge. 

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For Some Green Activists, Trees Are the New Black

By Michael Graham
Inside Sources
September 16, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

… “BURNED: Are Trees the New Coal” is a film by the Dogwood Alliance, a self-declared environmental activist group waging war on the forestry and timber industries with the message “The US must cut emissions, not forests.” “The rate and scale of logging in the Southeastern U.S. alone is approximately four times that of South American rainforests,” said Danna Smith, executive director of the Dogwood Alliance. “We don’t have time now for…industry delay tactics or green smoke screens. The large-scale industrial logging of forests in the U.S. poses one of the largest threats to climate progress.” The goal of the Dogwood Alliance… is to paint the forestry and timber industries as the clear-cutting equivalent of Big Oil. They argue harvesting trees endangers the planet and releases the carbon captured by forests… adding to global warming. Their only problem? Virtually all of their claims are factually dubious at best.

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Logging as Carbon-Neutral? Not so Much, Says Study on North Carolina’s Industry

By Mark Shenk
Karma Sustainable Business News
September 12, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

…A recent study from North Carolina won’t do anything to improve [perceptions of the timber industry], and in fact takes aim at old preconceptions. Logging isn’t carbon neutral, as many have claimed, and in fact is the state’s No. 3 source of carbon emissions, according to the study by a team of environmental groups. The groups, the Center for Sustainable Economy and Dogwood Alliance, say that in North Carolina’s annual Greenhouse Gas Inventory, the state doesn’t recognize logging’s carbon impact, due to misconceptions that the industry is more or less clean because it replaces trees it cuts down. “The climate impact of this activity is often ignored because of flawed greenhouse gas accounting,” the “Climate Impacts of Industrial Forest Practices in North Carolina” said. It also showed that industrial logging has sapped carbon sequestration — the natural removal and storage of CO2 gases —  of the state’s forests.

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Groups Call North Carolina’s $4.4B Logging Industry a ‘Climate Catastrophe’

By Jennifer Hermes
The Environmental Leader
September 10, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

The logging industry in North Carolina – a significant contributor to the state’s economy – is under fire from The Center for Sustainable Economy and Dogwood Alliance, which are calling the industry a “climate catastrophe.” In a new report, the groups find that industrial logging is the state’s third most carbon intensive sector, just after electricity and transportation – and, the report claims, it goes almost completely unaccounted for. The US South is “ground zero” for destructive industrial logging, and North Carolina is the largest wood pellet exporter in the country, according to the report. The report found that because of short rotation timber plantations for paper, pellets, and low-quality timber, 7.5% of North Carolina (2.6 million acres) is a carbon sequestration dead zone.

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Should Dartmouth Heat its Campus with Wood Chips?

By John Ackerly, President, Alliance for Green Heat
Biomass Magazine
September 7, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

John Ackerly

…In 2017 Dartmouth…came up with an ambitious roadmap that included switching from No. 6 heating oil to wood chips. The project is steadily moving forward, but in July, several prominent Dartmouth alumni published an open letter calling on the college to scrap plans for a biomass heating plant. The letter…concluded that switching to biomass would increase Dartmouth’s carbon emissions. …Dartmouth has done its homework and is in this for the long-term.  It has based its projections off peer-reviewed scientific assessments of biomass heating, and it understands the capacity of local forestry operations to provide low-grade wood that will be losing its carbon content quickly …If people around Dartmouth are concerned about particulate matter in wood smoke, they can tackle it more easily by reducing residential wood heating, rather than worrying  about the incredibly high-tech scrubbers that will make the Dartmouth plant run without visible emissions other than steam. 

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Using Every Twig; USDA Sustainable Logging Study to Spur Renewable Energy

By Robbie Harris
Radio WVTF Viriginia
August 28, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

Chad Bolding

The world is watching as parts of  the largest rain forest on the planet burns in South America. …In the U.S., leftovers from logging operations are instead, being used to create renewable energy.  A new, 3-year, east coast wide study will explore environmental and economic best practices. Chad Bolding will lead the Virginia Tech portion of the study, which will examine forest residue collection in Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. …He says, at this point, one of the biggest challenges appears to be balancing the high value of cut timber with the costs to reclaim the residues left behind.  “Residues are the lowest value product in the forest, so we can’t let the ‘tail wag the dog’.  We have to minimize the impact on the round wood production, while also gaining the residues at minimal cost and efficiency.”

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Tree-planting to offset carbon emissions: no cure-all

Associated Free Press in France 24
September 18, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

…as more polluting industries join efforts to offset their carbon emissions, the effectiveness of the approach is open to debate, with some critics suggesting that tree-planting schemes are nothing more than a fig leaf. Once marginal, the offset movement has even reached the arch-enemy of environmentalists: big oil. Shell has ploughed $300 million (270 million euros) into forest plantations to reduce its carbon footprint by 2-3 percent, Italy’s ENI has set an objective of zero net emissions via its forestry investments, and France’s Total plans to set up a special “business unit” next year to spend $100 million annually on compensation efforts. …While trees are an important tool for regulating the climate, reforestation alone cannot whitewash a company’s carbon-emitting activity, say activists. …Large-scale reforestation also poses other problems: the planted trees may compete with local cultures and forests and may not necessarily be beneficial to the local environment.

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World losing area of forest the size of the UK each year, report finds

By Fiona Harvey
The Guardian
September 12, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

An area of forest the size of the UK is being lost every year around the world, the vast majority of it tropical rainforest, with dire effects on the climate emergency and wildlife. The rate of loss has reached 26m hectares (64m acres) a year, a report has found, having grown rapidly in the past five years despite pledges made by governments in 2014 to reverse deforestation and restore trees. Charlotte Streck, a co-founder and the director of Climate Focus, the thinktank behind the report, said: “We need to keep our trees and we need to restore our forests. Deforestation has accelerated, despite the pledges that have been made.” The New York declaration on forests was signed at the UN in 2014, requiring countries to halve deforestation by 2020 and restore 150m hectares of deforested or degraded forest land.

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Forest protection likely to be new priority for EU Parliament

By Florence Schulz
EURACTIV
September 11, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Large areas of forest are being cleared worldwide for the agricultural industry. Although the EU requires its contracting partners to protect the environment, it lacks the means for enforcement. Environmentalists and the European Parliament see an urgent need for action.  The protection of forests should become one of the priorities of the European Parliament in the coming months. Contacted by EURACTIV, conservative MEP Peter Liese (EPP) confirmed that the Environment Committee (ENVI) is planning a hearing on the issue. The European Commission will also launch a legislative proposal. “Our forests, not only in other parts of the world but also in Europe, are an essential contributor to climate protection. And on top of that, they are an economic factor,” Liese said. The German MEP hopes that the plenary will already debate the deforestation issue in September’s session.

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Brazil: can technology help save the Amazon?

By Bryan Harris, Andres Schipani and Anna Gross
Financial Times
September 11, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

…Since the election last year of the far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, who is a keen advocate of opening up the Amazon to commercial interests, [some] groups have been chopping down and setting fire to trees with gusto.  Although far from a record, the trends this year have been alarming: figures released this week showed that the rate of deforestation last month was 222 per cent higher than the same month last year. …But the global furore over Mr Bolsonaro’s approach to the Amazon has also given oxygen to a very different view of how to manage the rainforest. It has focused attention on the disparate community of scientists, businesspeople and activists who believe that technological advances could be the key to promoting sustainable development and tackling deforestation. For them, the key to sidelining the Amazon’s more nefarious actors is to show that the conservation of land can be both economically profitable and environmentally valuable.

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An Artist Just Planted 300 Trees in a Stadium to Warn About Climate Change

By Nick Mafi
Architectural Digest
September 6, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

…Klaus Littmann [is] attempting to open the public’s eyes through his art. The 67-year-old artist has just planted some 300 trees in an Austrian soccer stadium—an incredible feat of physical art meant to challenge our perception of the future of our earth. Littmann had been wanting to do this project ever since he went to a Vienna exhibition and witnessed a 1970 drawing by the Austrian artist Max Peintner… Peinter’s work was a forest of trees planted in the middle of a stadium with a crowd of onlookers there for no reason but to look at the vegetation. …Littmann’s forest consists of a variety of trees that are native to Austria, as well as Central Europe. The instillation… is called For Forest—The Unending Attraction of Nature. …”The exhibition aims to challenge our perception of nature and question its future,” said Littmann.

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The unpopular tree sucking carbon from our air

By Eloise Gibson
Newsroom.co.nz
September 9, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Pinus Radiata grows like a weed, which is why it’s so fast at sequestering carbon. But since many people prefer native trees, forestry scientists are proposing an unconventional solution to get the best of both worlds. To measure how much carbon is in a tree, you first have to kill it. You slice up the trunk, branches, twigs, leaves and roots and dry the dismembered tree parts in an oven. Then you weigh them. “It takes a long time,” says Euan Mason, a professor at the University of Canterbury’s School of Forestry. “I did some in 2012 with two students, and in six weeks I think we did 25 trees.” Sacrificing trees like this is expensive, but researchers need these measurements. Typically, about half a tree’s dry weight is carbon, which you can multiply by roughly 3.7 to work out how much carbon dioxide the tree has sucked from the atmosphere.

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Climate change and forestry: the time for action is now

By the Forestry Commission
Government of the United Kingdom
September 5, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

There is now a convincing body of evidence that we are facing a climate emergency. Planting and managing trees, forests and woodlands so that they are fit for the future must be part of our nation’s response. Growing trees removes carbon dioxide from the air, and stores the carbon in wood products throughout their life. …They are a renewable source of energy today, and a sustainable raw material for the future bio-economy. But trees can only help reduce the negative impacts of a changing climate if they are resilient to those challenges themselves. As one of many signatories of the Climate Change Accord, we know that we must take urgent action. …The Forestry Commission has a key role to play, and we will continue to work closely with our Climate Change Action Plan partners and all parts of the tree, woods and forestry sector to protect our woodlands for future generations.

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If Carbon Offsets Require Forests to Stay Standing, What Happens When the Amazon Is on Fire?

By Lisa Song
ProPublica
August 26, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Next month, California regulators will decide whether to support a plan for tropical forest carbon offsets, a controversial measure that could allow companies like Chevron, which is headquartered there, to write off some of their greenhouse gas emissions by paying people in countries like Brazil to preserve trees. The Amazon rainforest has long been viewed as a natural testing ground for this proposed Tropical Forest Standard, which, if approved, would likely expand to countries throughout the world. …But the devastating blaze encapsulates a key weakness of offsets that scientists have been warning about for the past decade: that they are too vulnerable to political whims and disasters like wildfires. As a recent ProPublica investigationnoted, if you give corporations a pass to pollute by saying their emissions are being canceled out somewhere else, you need a way to guarantee that continues to be the case.

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Local Forestry Assessment to Help Canadians Understand Climate Change Impacts

By Natural Resources Canada
Cision Newswire
August 28, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

OTTAWA – Climate change presents both challenges and opportunities, which is why it is important for Canadians to be aware of its impacts. …The Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, announced $194,000 for the Canadian Institute of Forestry to undertake a detailed regional case study that will strengthen the forest sector’s ability to adapt to climate change. Valued at $470,000, the Northern Prairie Forests Integrated Regional Assessment project will bring together public and private sector stakeholders and local communities to assess Saskatchewan and Manitoba forests’ vulnerability to climate change. The assessment will recommend regionally appropriate climate change adaptation actions and support increased use of climate change considerations in planning and decision-making.

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