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Category Archives: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Canada’s domestic climate refugees

By Linda Solomon Wood
The National Observer
July 16, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada

Canada is at risk of creating a new class of climate refugees. People are fleeing their homes here in Canada. A transformation is needed before this becomes a trend. …The environment is emerging as the key issue as the 2019 federal election nears. According to a public opinion poll taken by the Forum Poll, the environment is tied with the economy as the most important issue. …Bruce Blackwell of B.A. Blackwell and Associates, is a forestry and environmental management services company in North Vancouver. …“This is a 40- to 60-year problem, and it’s not going away,” Blackwell told Wilson. “The fires we are seeing are so big the government doesn’t fight them. Instead, it focuses on getting people out of the way.” But we still have a long way to go as a country in taking the threat of our warming climate seriously.

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Climate protection is not a partisan issue

By David Suzuki
The Georgia Straight
July 16, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada

Media and politicians often regard environmentalists as a special-interest group with political priorities served by “green” parties. …It’s absurd to think an issue like climate change belongs to one party. It should be the highest priority for every politician and candidate and should receive daily media attention. …In Canada, where temperatures are rising at twice the global average rate, we’re already experiencing impacts: …forest infestations of pests like the mountain pine beetle, vanishing glaciers that feed watersheds, …huge fires, massive floods. …Global warming affects almost everything in our lives and the biosphere. It’s not a special interest touted by enviros or the Green Party. It’s a crisis for all humanity. …Once the challenge is seized, opportunities will open up as we transform society’s energy foundation. …It’s time to dream big.

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Canada is investing in important climate change research

By Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy
The Government of Canada
July 11, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada

Catherine McKenna

…By investing in science, Canada is supporting the researchers who are making the discoveries we need to fight climate change and adapt to its impacts. …The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, announced $4.7 million to fund nine climate change research projects. These projects are advancing our knowledge of the role forests play, accelerating innovation in energy‑efficient cooling technologies, and improving our understanding of how carbon interacts with our forests, wetlands, and oceans. The Minister made the announcement at the University of Victoria alongside one of the recipients, research scientist Roberta Hamme. Dr. Hamme’s project, “Quantifying and predicting Canada’s ocean carbon sink,” is researching how oceans absorb and release carbon.

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Why planting one trillion trees won’t solve climate change

By Ryan Flanagan
CTV News
July 8, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada

A new report claims the most effective way to fight climate change would be a global effort to plant one trillion trees, but one Canadian expert says that would only be one piece of a much larger puzzle. The report found that there is enough room on Earth to add trees to nearly one billion hectares of land – an area nearly the size of the United States… creating storage for more than 200 gigatonnes of carbon once they have matured. …“Such a change has the potential to cut the atmospheric carbon pool by about 25 per cent,” the report reads. …It may be the best solution yet, but it isn’t a complete solution, according to a Carleton University professor. …“If we don’t stop emitting greenhouse gases through the combustion of fossil fuels, we can’t really escape climate change.”

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Changing Climate, Vanishing Old Growth Bring Increase Fire Risk for Coastal Forests

By Brandon Wei, graduate student, UBC School of Journalism
The Tyee
July 15, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

It rains in Zeballos. …But despite the region’s average annual precipitation of 163 inches — more than three times that of Vancouver — the community of about 100 people was threatened when lightning sparked a wildfire last August. …The fact that some of the wettest forests in North America are now considered candidates for wildfires signals the severe shifts being caused by climate change. It means that old growth trees, critical for forest resiliency and traditionally quite fire resistant, are increasingly under threat. “We’re seeing impacts in places in coastal B.C. that are very unique, [which] speaks to the multi-year drought we’ve been experiencing,” said Lori Daniels, a professor at the University of British Columbia. …Much of the forests in coastal B.C. have been logged over the last century. Now younger second-growth forests dominate the landscape, and they are not nearly as fire resistant.

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Seismic lines in Alberta’s boreal forest boost methane emissions

By Heath McCoy
University of Calgary
June 26, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

Vast networks of seismic lines that run through Alberta’s boreal forest boost emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, from the region’s wetlands, according to a newly published studyin the journal Nature Communications. These undocumented emissions would increase Canada’s national reporting of methane in the category of land use, land-use change and forestry by at least seven to eight per cent. …Seismic lines in the boreal forest have made an unexpected impact on the region’s peatlands, McDermid explains. Peatlands — wetlands that accumulate organic material — store about one-third of the planet’s soil carbon, more than twice as much as all the world’s forests combined. …In cutting seismic lines, the soil of these peatlands is compressed, creating wet conditions close to the surface. This leads to boosted emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas with 25 times the global warming potential of CO2.

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McBride’s secret refinery, biochar plant

By Andru McCracken
The Rocky Mountain Goat
June 23, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

Phil Marsh

Farmer, veteran, and inventor Phillip Marsh has developed a technology that can help battle climate change and create useful products from organic waste, and he has done it on his family farm on Mountainview Road in McBride. …“Farmers control a lot of energy in the form of biomass; it’s just not usable to them. I built this process so that I can extract energy locally,” said Marsh, “We can make our own refinery in McBride so you don’t have to go to the tar sands and pick the energy up.” …Besides developing a new fuel source, creating an array of chemical products, and harnessing heat energy stored in biomass, the technology helps pull carbon from the atmosphere. …But Marsh said BC Biocarbon can do it cheaper and better and create an array of useful products at the same time.

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Pinnacle Renewable Energy Inc. Announces Transition of Chief Operating Officer, Leroy Reitsma to Lead U.S. Development Projects

By Pinnacle Renewable Energy Inc.
Cision Newswire
June 20, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

VANCOUVER – Pinnacle Renewable Energy announced today that effective July 2, 2019, the Company’s President and Chief Operating Officer, Leroy Reitsma, will be transitioning from his current role to focus solely on Pinnacle’s U.S. development projects, while continuing to actively support the Pinnacle team during the transition. Mr. Reitsma has advised the company that he remains a committed shareholder and will continue his role as an effective and important member of Pinnacle’s board of directors.  Mr. Reitsma joined Pinnacle in 2007 and was appointed President and Chief Operating Officer in 2011. Mr. Reitsma will transition from the role of Chief Operating Officer to allow for more time with family. In recognition of his accomplishments and increasing responsibilities in the organization, effective July 2, 2019, Scott Bax, current Senior Vice President, Operations, will succeed Mr. Reitsma in the role of Chief Operating Officer, reporting to Chief Executive Officer Rob McCurdy.

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New Brunswick has been unwilling to impose carbon pricing costs on consumers or on key industries

The Matto Mildenberger
Policy Options
July 9, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada East, Canada

…New Brunswick is small. …And a provincially owned power plant in Belledune and J.D. Irving and Irving Oil — are responsible for 23 percent of all provincial emissions. This makes New Brunswick a hard place to implement carbon pricing. The few large carbon polluters enjoy structural power within the economy and the political system. …Unfortunately, rather than offering lessons about provincial policy action, the New Brunswick experience better illustrates the power of national political coalitions to impose costs on subnational actors who would otherwise avoid costly reforms. …The current government wants to replace the federal framework with weaker provincial measures, including an alternative framework for large emitters that would exempt them from the federal output-based pricing system. …In New Brunswick, governments have not been willing to impose costs on the energy and forestry industries critical to the provincial economy, or on consumers.

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Nova Scotia stoking wood chip heating program for government buildings

By Aaron Beswick
The Chronicle Herald
June 25, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada East, Canada

The province is planning a large scale conversion of its rural buildings – from schools to hospitals – to heat them with wood. It will soon release tenders to convert six buildings to biomass heat – most likely in the form of wood chips – with plans to significantly expand the program next year. “It will be a design, build, maintain type system,” said Lands and Forestry minister Iain Rankin, of the tendering process. Rankin said the province has a list of 100 buildings that it will consider converting. …The event… steps being taken to implement an exhaustive study of how forests are managed in Nova Scotia, often dubbed the Lahey Report, after its author University of Kings College president William Lahey. Among the report’s 45 recommendations was that the province team up with municipal governments and regional development agencies to create small scale wood energy projects.

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Nearly half of companies with deforestation risk aren’t addressing it

By Steve Zwick
GreenBiz.com
July 17, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, International

Deforestation and illegal agriculture still account for roughly 20 percent of all greenhouse gasses, leaving major producers of soy, beef and other commodities exposed to regulatory and reputational risk as the Paris Agreement comes into force. Many companies have spent the last decade restructuring their supply chains — some to do the right thing, and others to reduce their exposure to climate transition risk. New research by the Forest Trends Supply Change initiative, however, shows that 44 percent of the 865 companies most associated with deforestation risk haven’t made any public commitments to reduce that risk. Specifically, according to analysis summarized in “Targeting Zero Deforestation,” just 484 of the 865 companies that Supply Change identifies with the most forest-risk exposure have committed to sourcing commodities sustainably.

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Trump avoids climate change in speech on environmentalism

By Arden Farhi and Kathryn Watson
CBS News
July 8, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

President Trump

President Trump touted his administration’s environmental stewardship in a speech in the East Room Monday. It’s a topic the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates bring up almost daily, but not one Mr. Trump often addresses. But a White House fact sheet obtained by CBS News ahead of the speech did not mention climate change, nor did the president. In his speech, the president claimed his administration is working diligently to improve the environment, insisting the environment and economy go hand-in-hand. The environment can’t be strong without a strong economy, Mr. Trump said. The president did tout the importance of forest management to prevent fires in California, and blasted the “Green New Deal.” …Mr. Trump… withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement and rolling back regulations like the Clean Power Plan. The president has also expressed skepticism about government research that shows a warming planet.

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Embodied Carbon: The Blindspot of the Buildings Industry

By Anthony Pak
Canadian Architect
July 4, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

Between now and 2060, the buildings industry is poised to add a whopping 230 billion square metres of new construction worldwide. That means we will double the amount of buildings we currently have on the planet over the next four decades. …The term “embodied carbon” refers to the carbon footprint associated with building materials, from cradle to grave. Using the scientific method known as Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), we can quantify the environmental impacts associated with all of the construction materials used over a building’s lifespan. …The buildings industry consumes almost half of the world’s material resources every year, so we cannot keep turning a blind eye to our embodied carbon footprint. To be clear, I am not saying that embodied carbon is more important than operational carbon. Both are critical. It’s just that, to date, our industry has focused heavily on operational carbon and has mostly ignored embodied carbon.

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Wood Is a Natural 24-Hour Renewable Fuel

Letter by John Keppler, President and CEO of Enviva Partners LP
Wall Street Journal
June 27, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

Bioenergy should be a bigger part of an all-in strategy to reduce carbon emissions and limit dependence on fossil fuels. “A Logjam in Fire-Weary Paradise” (U.S. News, June 15) highlights a major problem in California—and a clear opportunity. California should follow the lead of Europe and Japan—and the recommendation of the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change—and promote the use of renewable wood energy. Bioenergy (wood pellets) uses wood that … isn’t usable by timber companies. This includes the type of wood that is stacking up around California communities, as well as the so-called thinnings and underbrush that need to be removed to ensure healthy forests and fewer fires. This is a win-win for California. Bioenergy should be a bigger part of an all-in strategy to reduce carbon emissions and limit dependence on fossil fuels. 

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FutureMetrics criticizes treatment of biomass in EPA’s Affordable Clean Energy rule

By Erin Voegele
Biomass Magazine
June 24, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

FutureMetrics has released a statement criticizing the U.S. EPA’s Affordable Clean Energy Program for its treatment of biomass and calling the program’s discussion of how to measure CO2 emissions “misguided.” …The program replaces the Obama-era Clean Power Plan and establishes emissions guidelines for states to use when developing plans to limit carbon dioxide at coal-fired power plants. While biomass co-firing was discussed as a potential compliance option in the proposed rule, the final rule specifies that biomass co-firing cannot be used to comply with the ACE program. …Within the final ACE rule, the EPA clarifies “that biomass does not qualify as a system of emission reduction that can be incorporated as part of, or in its entirely, as BSER,” noting that the “BSER determination must include systems of emission reduction that are achievable at the source.”

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Solution grows on trees

By John Keppler
The Times and Democrat
June 25, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

Americans are tired of half measures on climate change. Seven in 10 Americans want utility companies to overhaul their operations and generate 100% of the nation’s electricity from renewables in the near future. That’s ambitious. …Fortunately, there’s an environmentally friendly alternative to fossil fuels that utilities can use around the clock. Wood biomass, trees and the parts of trees that the timber industry can’t use, is plentiful and reliable. And it helps utilities dramatically reduce their carbon footprint on a lifecycle basis. Replacing fossil fuels with wood biomass should be part of our approach to preventing catastrophic climate change. …There’s no shortage of talk about solar and wind energy. And rightfully so. These sources help reduce emissions. But wood biomass also should play a role in the renewable energy revolution.

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Corporation Commission torches forest thinning efforts

By Peter Aleshire
The White Mountain Independent
July 16, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

PHOENIX — The Arizona Corporation Commission torched forest restoration efforts last week by voting 3-2 to ditch a proposed rule requiring utilities to produce 60-90 megawatts of electricity from biomass. Specifically, the divided commission voted to not move forward on a plan to convert one unit of the soon-to-close Cholla power plant to burning up to 60 MW of wood scraps, presumably from some 50,000 acres worth of forest restoration projects. Officials throughout Northern Arizona have been lobbying the corporation commission for a year to create a market for the millions of tons of wood scraps. …Commissioner Justin Olson led the charge against biomass, arguing electricity users shouldn’t have to subsidize forest restoration efforts through higher monthly bills.

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Protecting carbon by protecting forests

By George Wuerthner
The Missoulian
July 8, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

George Wuerthner

Currently, there is a bill in the Massachusetts legislature that would ban logging on all of the state lands. The premise of the legislation is that logging contributes significantly to CO2 emissions. The legislation sponsors argue that the best use of Massachusetts state-owned property is to maintain intact forests for carbon storage. …Many people are beginning to understand that our forests’ greatest value is for carbon storehouse, not wood products. …A recent study in Oregon found that logging was the most significant contributor to that state’s carbon emissions …Logging advocates suggest that turning trees into wood products “sequesters” carbon for decades and centuries. However, the bulk of all wood products are used for temporary and short-lived items …Even the argument that thinning or logging will reduce wildfires and keep more carbon in the forest is flawed. …The best use of our national forests … is for carbon storage.

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Biomass back on agenda for corporation commission

By Peter Aleshire
Payson Roundup
July 9, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

ARIZONA — After a pause to shuffle commissioners, the Arizona Corporation Commission will again ponder whether to try to create a market for biomass, to boost faltering forest thinning efforts in the state. Specifically, …whether to let Arizona Public Service boost its rates by a couple dollars a month for the average homeowner in order to convert a coal-burning unit of the Cholla Power Plant in St. Johns to biomass. The board has already voted support in principal for requiring power companies to generate 60-90 megawatts (MW) of electricity annually from forest thinning. …Such a mandate could salvage stalled forest thinning efforts. This would reduce the risk of devastating megafires and protect the watersheds that sustain both rural areas and the Valley. However, it would also effectively force electricity customers to subsidize forest thinning operations.

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Oregon’s cap-and-trade bill explained

By Joe Wolf
The Mail Tribune
July 2, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

Oregon’s cap-and-trade bill didn’t survive the 2019 legislative session, but the broader issue of climate change isn’t going away. Gov. Kate Brown told reporters Monday she would not back down on the issue. …On the legislative side, state Sen. Michael Dembrow… said he is open to working with the 11 senators who walked off the job last month to avoid voting on the bill, but he’s not willing to water down the effectiveness of the cap-and-trade policy in the name of further compromise. …Opponents of the bill said the financial burden of the policy would have disproportionately impacted residents in their districts. …Another component that led to disagreement was a lack of clarity on what the bill would actually do, Dembrow said. For example, loggers gained attention for protesting the policy in Salem, but the industry would have been exempt from the policy.

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Sierra Seedlings Illustrate Effects of Climate Change on Next Generation of Forests

By Lorena Anderson
University of California, Merced
June 24, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

Climate change is bad news for forests, and a new study by UC Merced Professor Emily Moran demonstrates one aspect of that news. Higher summer temperatures hurt tree seedlings’ growth and survival. But whether that is entirely bad depends on the degree of change in the number of young trees. “One of the reasons we’re so concerned about forest fires is because of forest density,” she said. “If there are somewhat fewer seedlings and saplings, there’s less fuel for big destructive fires. On the other hand, if there are too few seedlings there won’t be a next generation to replace adult trees when they die.” …Understanding how climate and other environmental factors such as shading from adults affects how seedlings survive and grow to maturity is the focus of a study …published in the journal Ecosphere this week.

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‘Godsend’ or threat to forests? NC weighs expansion of wood pellet mill

By Richard Stradling
The News & Observer
July 16, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

A public hearing on an air pollution permit for a wood pellet plant in Sampson County on Monday night became a wide-ranging forum on the environmental effects of the industry and the reputation of the plant’s owner, Enviva, in North Carolina. The company and its supporters say the wood pellets it creates to burn in power plants in Europe are a renewable resource and a way to help combat climate change. They also say the trees Enviva buys for its three mills in North Carolina have helped make it possible for owners to keep their land in forests, rather than convert it to some other use. “For timber growers, Enviva’s been a godsend,” said Ashley Faircloth, a forestry consultant from Jacksonville. But opponents contend that when you factor in the loss of the trees and the energy used in production and shipping, wood pellets are actually worse for the environment than the coal they replace.

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Timber industry pushes more biomass power

Bioenergy Insight Magazine
July 16, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

From several stories up at Exelon’s Albany Green Energy plant, you can see a massive pile of chipped up wood, known as biomass. A long conveyor carries it up into the plant, where it’s fed into a boiler. The biomass burns to make electricity for Georgia Power. Around the corner from the wood pile, a long tube snakes off, carrying leftover steam to power a Proctor and Gamble plant. From the top of the power plant, you can also see trees: miles and miles of forest in every direction. But, “We’re not just going out and grabbing a tree, being able to use that tree,” said plant manager James Luckey. “Most of our fuel is coming from treetops, and mill residuals that come from paper mills or something like that.” They burn the stuff that can’t be made into lumber or paper products.

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Whole-tree harvesting could boost biomass production

by Kelley Christensen, Michigan Technological University
Phys.org
July 15, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

Making the shift to renewable energy sources requires biomass, too. This is a story of carbon choices: As societies around the world continue to move toward increased renewable energy portfolios, which energy sources do we choose? …Whole-tree aspen logging promotes renewable biomass energy from tops and branches, parts of the tree that are often left in the forest during logging in favor of the tree’s trunk, using the residual that remains after a sustainable harvest for logs. It has long been assumed that removing the leaves and branches of trees, rather than allowing them to decompose in the woods, will deplete the soil and lead to a weaker forest ecosystem. New research from Michigan Technological University’s School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science challenges that hypothesis.

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Enviva expansion under fire

By Chris Berendt
The Sampson Independent
July 12, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

Enviva has applied to increase production at its wood pellet plant in northern Sampson County, but it is not without opposition from a contingent of residents and environmental groups urging the state to deny the permit —and the governor to place a moratorium on the industry as a whole. Enviva Pellets Sampson, a 500,000-metric ton wood pellet manufacturing facility, is located on a 200-acre site off Faison Highway. It is one of a handful of plants operated by Enviva, the world’s largest wood pellet manufacturer. Those opposing the plant and its potential expansion maintain it is one of the top culprits in the devastation of the climate, while Enviva proponents cite its economic benefits and the company’s adherence to current air quality regulations and sustainable forestry measures.

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We should welcome Enviva pellet plant into our community. Here’s why.

By James L. Cummins, executive director of Wildlife Mississippi
The Clarion Ledger
July 10, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

Enviva, a renewable energy company has been in the news lately, as they prepare to build a manufacturing facility in Lucedale. We should support their arrival in another community in our state. …Our nonprofit organization, Wildlife Mississippi, measures success by the number of acres of habitat we protect, restore or enhance and by the number of miles of streams we improve. To date, we have protected, restored or enhanced over 500,000 acres of wildlife habitat. Wildlife Mississippi’s Northeast Office is located approximately 500 yards from Enviva’s Amory Mill.  In Amory, Enviva has also proven to be a good neighbor.  I believe they will also be a good neighbor in South Mississippi. We know that when something has value, people will protect it.  When southern forests have value as trees… they will be protected, restored, and enhanced.  When they don’t, there is a much greater chance they will be turned into other uses, such as subdivisions…

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Board approves air pollution permit for Enviva wood pellet plant

By Jeff Amy
Associated Press
July 9, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

JACKSON, Miss. — Mississippi environmental regulators have approved an air pollution permit for what could be the largest wood pellet plant in the world, despite objections from environmental groups that the plant would emit too much pollution and have other harmful effects. The state Environmental Quality Permit Board voted unanimously to issue a permit Tuesday for Enviva Partners LP’s $140 million plant in Lucedale. …The two plants are supposed to have 120 direct employees, with as many as 300 loggers and truckers also finding work supplying Enviva. …“Air quality modeling shows that even with the revised permit, air pollution from the plant will be in violation of federal ambient air quality standards,” opponents said their statement. Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality staff, though, wrote that the air modeling by the nonprofit didn’t follow Mississippi’s rules and thus “is inconclusive regarding Enviva’s impact.” The department said Enviva’s own air modeling also didn’t follow rules and was also inconclusive.

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Don’t blame beetles for killing forests, blame climate change

By Paul Brinkmann
UPI.com
July 2, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

ORLANDO, Fla. — Throughout North America, Europe and Asia, beetles are blamed for large areas of dying trees. But a Florida entomologist says the bugs are just a symptom of the real problem — climate change. …”Some people who manage forests or harvest lumber want us to target the beetle by cutting down trees or using insecticide,” said Jiri Hulcr, forest entomologist for the University of Florida. “But that would only treat the symptom. The only real solution is to reverse climate change. The time has come — it’s real.” Bark beetles have been around for thousands of years. But modern trade and transportation have distributed new bugs to new regions around the world, where they are considered invasive species.

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Wood products mitigate less than 1% of global carbon emissions

By Eric Hamilton, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Phys.org
July 1, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

The world’s wood products—all the paper, lumber, furniture and more—offset just 1 percent of annual global carbon emissions by locking away carbon in woody forms, according to new research. An analysis across 180 countries found that global wood products offset 335 million tons of carbon dioxide in 2015, 71 million tons of which were unaccounted for under current United Nations standards. Wood product carbon sequestration could rise more than 100 million tons by 2030, depending on the level of global economic growth. The results provide countries with the first consistent look at how their timber industries could offset their carbon emissions as nations search for ways to keep climate change manageable by severely curbing emissions. Yet the new research also highlights how wood products account for just a small fraction of the needed offsets for all but a select few timber-heavy countries.

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Are We Cutting Down The Wrong Trees In Massachusetts?

By Craig LeMoult
WGBH
June 25, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

BOSTON — When it comes to the growing threat of climate change, the shrinking rainforests of South America get a lot of attention. …Bill Moomaw, an emeritus professor of international environmental policy at Tufts University a new paper in the journal “Frontiers in Forests and Global Change,” argues that here in the U.S., and specifically in New England, the practice of “sustainable forestry” is not sustainable for the climate. “You ask a forester when is a tree ready to be cut down, and he’ll say it’s when it’s between about 9 and 11 inches in diameter,” Moomaw said. “For a lot of our species, that’s somewhere around 75 years, which is why the median age of trees in the northeast is 75 years. …If the goal is removing more carbon from the atmosphere, Moomaw says that’s exactly the wrong time to cut down trees.

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The carbon market: S.C. landowners have potential to profit from selling credits

By Steven Bradley, Clemson University
The Longview Daily News
June 24, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

CLEMSON — Ask Michael Dawson about entering the carbon market and whether he would go back and do it again, and his answer is simple: “In a skinny minute.” The process itself, however, is more complex. South Carolina’s Francis Beidler Forest — the world’s largest virgin cypress-tupelo swamp forest — sold roughly 450,000 carbon credits for no less than $8 per credit in California’s carbon market in 2014. …“That’s the first indicator of the fact that South Carolina is a good place for the carbon market,” Clay said. “Forestry and timber production are extremely important to South Carolina. But at the same time, only 20 percent of the forest landowners are commercially harvesting tracts for production. So that leaves 80 percent of the 88 percent of private forested lands that are potentially not used for large-scale timber production.”
 

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China says its greenhouse gas emissions soar over 50% from 2005 to 2014

CNBC News
July 15, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

China’s climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions hit 12.3 billion tonnes in 2014, up 53.5% in just a decade, the environment ministry said on Monday, citing the country’s latest carbon “inventory” submitted to the United Nations. China’s carbon emissions data is notoriously opaque, but as a signatory to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Beijing is obliged to submit an official inventory to the UN on a regular basis. It has previously released figures for 2005 and 2010. …The 2014 figure… includes China’s emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane, but does not make adjustments based on changes in land use or increases in forest coverage. The environment ministry said if the impact of forests and other “carbon sinks” were taken into consideration, total emissions would have stood at 11.186 billion tonnes in 2014, still up 17% from 2010.

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A Massive Plan To Expand Forests – And Save The World

By Sasha Stashwick
Natural Resource Defense Council
July 11, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Forests are some of the most incredible places on Earth – teeming with life, filtering our drinking water, and providing us myriad outdoor recreation opportunities. Trees are also the most effective means to capture and store carbon, making them our frontline defense against climate change. For the first time ever, landmark researchpublished this week quantifies how global forest restoration could help us address the climate crisis. The conclusions are astounding: The restoration of Earth’s forests could capture two-thirds of man-made carbon emissions. The researchers call for a global reforestation action plan to capture this potential. …This new research on the massive climate mitigation potential of a global reforestation agenda places in stark relief the choice between a future in which we prioritize maximizing carbon storage by forests vs. one where forests are burned for energy. 

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Finland’s forestry myth undermines its radical climate ambition

By Kaisa Raitio
The Climate Home News
July 9, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

The first major event of Finland’s EU Presidency takes place in Helsinki on Tuesday, when politicians, business leaders and researchers from across the continent gather to discuss the future of the bioeconomy in the EU. For Finland, the European Bioeconomy Scene 2019 Conference, is a chance to show other nations the way forward: how natural resources – in Finland’s case, the boreal forests that cover two-thirds of the country – can help other member states wean themselves away from fossil fuels, and supposedly into the promised land of a low carbon economy. …Finland’s bioeconomy strategy – as the best available science shows – neither mitigates climate breakdown nor tackles the biodiversity crisis. It also fails to safeguard the rights of the country’s indigenous Sámi people. …Yet successive Finnish governments have promoted a bioeconomy which relies on relentlessly increasing harvests of the country’s forests, while ignoring the evidence of its effects.

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French oil giant to invest $136m yearly to preserve forests

The Associated Free Press in The New Paper
July 8, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

AIX-EN-PROVENCE, FRANCE — The head of French energy giant Total announced on Saturday that the company would invest US$100 million annually on a new forest preservation and reforestation project. “We want to set up a business unit to invest in projects that will preserve forests,” chief executive Patrick Pouyanne told a meeting. “The most effective way today to eliminate carbon, for less than US$10 a tonne, is reforestation,” he said. “This is not philanthropy,” he added. “It is about investing in the medium- and long-term. …Mr Pouyanne was speaking just days after Total said it had begun producing biofuel at a refinery in southern France, a project that has sparked an outcry from environmentalists and farmers over its plans to import palm oil.

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Planting 1 trillion trees could be best way to fight climate change

By Shelby Lin Erdman
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
July 4, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND — Planting 1 trillion trees could be the best way to reduce the effects of climate change, according to scientists. Adding 1 billion hectares of forests could help limit global warming to 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit by 2050, according to the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, but if current trends continue, the planet could see that temperature increase by 2030. Swiss researchers wanted to see of if there’s enough room on Earth with existing farmland and cities to support that many extra trees. They reported in Thursday’s edition of the journal Science that there’s enough space to cover 3.5 million square miles, about the size of the United States. …The researchers used satellite images of Earth to determine which areas could support more trees, leaving out agriculture and urban areas. …there’s room for possibly as many as 1.5 trillion trees. …The countries with the most room for new trees include the U.S., Canada, Brazil, Russia, China and Australia.

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Increasing logging would severely hurt effort to combat climate change, confirms study

By Aleksi Teivainen
The Helsinki Times
July 3, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

FINLAND — A study led by the University of Eastern Finland has confirmed that increasing logging would severely complicate the effort to combat climate change. The Finnish Environment Institute (Syke), Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) and University of Finland reported that increasing logging would reduce carbon sinks unsustainably if forest industry companies used the raw material to manufacture the same products as today. …The simulation takes into account the fact that increasing the use of bioenergy and wood products can compensate for roughly a half of the decrease in carbon sequestration. “In order to compensate for the detriment, you would have to succeed in promoting forest growth considerably from the baseline of the calculations. …The findings can be interpreted as a validation of the climate policy approach of the European Union.

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Clean Energy Becomes Dominant Power Source in U.K.

By Jeremy Hodges
Bloomberg Markets
June 20, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

The U.K. will generate more energy from low-carbon sources than from fossil fuels this year for the first time since the Industrial Revolution. Wind, solar, hydro and nuclear plants provided 48% of the nation’s electricity in the first five months of 2019. …How the U.K. weans itself off natural gas eventually will need to be the next, and most difficult step in the country’s ambition to become carbon neutral by mid-century. The least polluting fossil fuel regularly makes up more than 50% of the power mix when winds are low and the sun isn’t shining. …“The U.K. is decarbonizing its energy system more rapidly than anywhere else in the world but to reach our zero carbon targets we need negative emissions,” said Will Gardiner, chief executive officer of utility Drax Group Plc. “Biomass with carbon capture and storage has the potential to deliver negative emissions.”

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Lumber CEO to loggers at Capitol: ‘Who better takes care of this earth than you all do?’

By Sarah Zimmerman
The Associated Press in KCBY News
June 27, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

SALEM, Ore. — A parade of trucks and tractors circled the Oregon Capitol on Thursday in support of Republican lawmakers who have walked out to block emissions-lowering climate legislation in a political crisis that stretched into an eighth day. All 11 Republican senators were once again missing from the Statehouse, denying Democrats the numbers to vote on the plan that would be the second in the nation to cap and trade pollution credits among companies. Despite assurances from the Democratic Senate president that the measure doesn’t have enough support to pass, Republicans stayed away. …Hundreds of farmers, loggers and truckers rallied at the Capitol in solidarity with the Republican senators, pushing them to stay away until the legislative session ends Sunday. …The climate plan has exposed lingering tensions between cities like Portland and more rural areas of the state. 

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Climate change activists hosting ‘die-in’ in downtown Victoria

BC Local News
June 27, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

A Vancouver Island conservation organization is hosting a “wildfire smoke die-in to save life and lungs” in downtown Victoria on Friday in protest of the LNG pipeline and “policies that compounds climate change and its effects.” On Friday, June 28, Extinction Rebellion activists and invited speakers are gathering… to “draw attention to wildfire smoke season.” …Climate Emergency Institute spokesperson Dr. Peter Carter… “The annual wildfire smoke season shows up in everybody’s life every year, and it will keep getting worse. …“British Columbia is going to be severely impacted by increasing heat waves, drought and wild fires,” said Carter. “This is an emergency now, which the public health departments and governments need to acknowledge.”

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