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Category Archives: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Indigenous guardians sound alarm about climate change impacts in Canada

By Laura Kane
Canadian Press in The National Post
March 14, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada

…More than 40 Indigenous communities in Canada have launched guardian programs, which employ local members to monitor ecosystems and protect sensitive areas and species. At a national gathering in Vancouver this week, guardians raised alarm about environmental degradation and climate change in their territories. …A major focus is monitoring the effects of climate change, Quock added. In addition to the rapid spread of last summer’s wildfire, he has seen caribou altering their migration routes and dwindling numbers of certain species of animals. Indigenous communities are often the first to experience the impacts of climate change, said Terry Teegee, regional chief of the B.C. Assembly of First Nations. …Indigenous people have always been guardians of their territories, but a more formal movement has been developing over the past 30 years, said Valerie Courtois, a member of the Innu community of Mashteuiatsh in Quebec.

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Who Is Patrick Moore, Fox News’ New Anti-Climate Change Hero?

By Michael Sebastian
Esquire Magazine
March 12, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, United States

Patrick Moore

He called Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez a “pompous little twit,” which, naturally, landed him a spot on Fox News. Climate change deniers have a new hero in Patrick Moore, who’s tweetabout a Green New Deal leading to the “mass death” has gone viral, landed him on multiple Fox News shows, and earned a glowing tweet from President Trump. “Patrick Moore, co-founder of Greenpeace: ‘The whole climate crisis is not only Fake News, it’s Fake Science. There is no climate crisis, there’s weather and climate all around the world, and in fact carbon dioxide is the main building block of all life.’ @foxandfriends Wow!” The president tweeted on Tuesday morning. Fox and Trump are billing Moore as the founder of Greenpeace, but here’s a shocker: That’s not accurate. Here’s what you need to know about Patrick Moore.

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Canada Invests in Clean Energy for Indigenous Communities in the North

By Natural Resources Canada
Cision Newswire
March 5, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada

INUVIK, NT – The best solutions for combating climate change in rural and remote Indigenous communities come from the people who live there. That is why Canada is investing in these communities and enabling them to use less diesel fuel and more renewable energy. These investments will tap into the vast potential for forest-based biomass and renewable energy and increase economic competitiveness while protecting the environment. Member of Parliament for the Northwest Territories Michael McLeod, on behalf of Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, today announced an investment of more than $3.5 million in two Indigenous-owned Nihtat Corporation projects that will create jobs, cut energy costs and reduce fossil fuel consumption in the North. …The second investment of $220,000 will enable Nihtat Corporation to undertake a capacity development study to look into options for wood pellet plant development, wood-based biomass opportunities and biomass supply chain enhancements in the Beaufort Delta region.

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How Canada is ‘faking it’ on climate change

By Lorrie Goldstein
Toronto Sun
February 25, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government has come up with a new way to meet Canada’s greenhouse gas emission targets under the Paris climate accord. Except it doesn’t reduce emissions. It’s an accounting trick. …What the Trudeau government is now starting to do is to include annual emission reductions from the amount of carbon dioxide stored in Canada’s forests, in calculating the country’s total annual emissions, which it hasn’t done before. The reason it hasn’t … is that Canada’s forests have been a net contributor to annual CO2 emissions for almost 20 years. That’s due to natural occurrences which kill trees such as forest fires caused by lightning strikes and insect damage, because all living things emit carbon dioxide when they die. As the CBC’s Robert Fletcher recently reported, that increased Canada’s annual emissions by 78 megatonnes  (one megatonne, or Mt, equals one million tonnes) in 2016 alone, the last year for which figures are available.

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New technology will make carbon tax obsolete

By Ian Madsen, Frontier Centre for Public Policy
Troy Media
February 15, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada

The Canadian political scene has been riven and toxified by Ottawa’s plans to impose a tax on greenhouse gas emissions on all provinces lacking such a levy. The ostensible goal is to reduce the use of fossil fuels, and thus emit less carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4, the main component of natural gas and decaying organic matter). …Yet, even if you subscribe to the global warming theory, this punitive impost [taxing emissions] may be unnecessary. …Xyleco… has developed a multi-patented process that converts cellulose (the material that composes all plant life) into sugars, plastic feedstock and, perhaps most importantly, fuel for motor vehicles, ships and aircraft. …Also, new wood building materials and techniques appear to be much more efficient and less costly than concrete and steel construction, giving good value for money for many office, retail and even residential high-rises.

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$2M project aims to spark new thinking on climate change

By Richard Watts
The Times-Colonist
March 15, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

Robin Cox

Earth’s climate is changing and urgent action is needed to address that reality, says a Royal Roads University professor. “We are already locked into a certain amount of climate change,” Robin Cox. …She is heading up a new project called Resilience by Design, a $2-million effort funded by NRCan and the B.C. Climate Action Secretariat. Its aim is to help professionals think about climate change as part of their job. Professional foresters, for example, might want to change the varieties of tree seedlings used to replant logged-over areas. A forester might want to shift to species more tolerant of dry periods or to periods of heavier rainfall. …Resilience by Design will produce a number of courses for professionals… two courses will be ready by the end of this year.

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Woodlot owners lobby for federal supports

By Jordan Ross
The Carillon
March 11, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

Andrew Fast

With federal and provincial elections on the horizon, an association representing 300 Manitoba woodlot owners is kindling support for a national tree-planting program that would see under-used private land harnessed to help curtail carbon emissions. “With climate change being such a huge issue, and with the knowledge that planting trees is the best way to sequester carbon, we’re asking the federal government to support a national tree planting program…on marginal land that’s really not that suitable for agriculture,” explained Bob Austman, a Beausejour-area resident and Manitoba board member of the Canadian Federation of Woodlot Owners (CFWO). The program would be distinct from provincial efforts to reforest Crown land. Interested landowners would receive access to funding to offset the cost of preparing the land for white spruce seedlings, which Austman said thrive in a variety of soil conditions.

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Musing about environmental change

By Bob Handfield
The Penticton Western News
March 9, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

The IPCC (United Nations Climate gurus) says we have 12 years to save the earth. …As a geologist, I know the earth’s climate has undergone radical changes over many eons. …How do the current changes fit in? …One of our problems I think is to blame global warming for nearly everything bad that happens. Two years of record forest fires might well be the result of global climate change but there is a fair chance that the enormity of the fires was due to 75 years of forest mismanagement practices (as documented by numerous studies) or possibly a combination of both. The worst fire year in BC was 2018, the second worst was 2017, the third worst was 1958. Said a different way: at the time, 1958 was a record fire year and it took 59 years to break that record.

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Carbon black is the new green(wash)

By Jim Polar, forest ecologist
BC Local News
February 27, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

Jim Polar

BC’s new Climate Change Strategy outlines many ways to reduce emissions, but it skates around the forest sector. Premier Horgan’s recent forest policy announcement didn’t even mention forestry’s key role. Forests fix and store huge amounts of carbon, and forestry is by far the biggest source of carbon emissions in BC. Yet the unruly dynamics of forest carbon are not fully reported in provincial emissions totals. The standard voodoo accounting treats forestry as carbon neutral, not counting its emissions as GHGs because in theory the trees will grow back. Even if it would take until 2100 and beyond for newly logged forests to recover their carbon stocks. BC’s forest carbon strategy favours accelerated logging, more wood products, and more bioenergy. …Questionable claims about forestry and climate change will probably be invoked in support of this strategy. 

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Canadian biomass delegation seeking Swedish export partners

Northern Ontario Business
March 18, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada East, Canada

A Canadian delegation of innovators in the biomass market will search out new export partners during a trip to Sweden this April. Biomass North Development Centre, based in North Bay, will lead the envoy, which will first attend the World Bio Markets forum in Amsterdam, April 1-3. This year’s conference is focused on the theme Commercializing the Bio-Based Value Chain. The delegation will continue on to Stockholm, Sweden, to participate in business-to-business meetings with potential export partners on April 4, followed by a day of site tours on April 5. “We are eager to bring Canadian innovation to the global market,” said Dawn Lambe, executive director of Biomass North Development Centre, in a March 18 news release.

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Bruce County leads the way as first community forest to sign up for development of forest carbon offset project

By Astrid Nielsen
Eastern Ontario Model Forest
March 12, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada East, Canada

KEMPTVILLE, ONTARIO — Last year, the Eastern Ontario Model Forest (EOMF) partnered with Bluesource Canada to help forest certification members such as Bruce County navigate through the complexity of carbon credit development, verification and marketing. In the partnership, the EOMF and Bluesource Canada provide guidance to those community forests that are interested in pursuing the opportunity.  Bruce County has a long history of sustainable forest management. In the early to mid-1900’s, the County began purchasing privately owned lands that were devastated by over harvesting or land clearing. These marginal lands were replanted mainly with conifers (evergreens) and managed to promote a natural forest condition, consisting of both hardwoods and conifers. In 2017 Bruce County achieved Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) certification (FSC® C01880) through the EOMF. 

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Bruce County signs landmark forestry partnership deal

iHeartRadio
March 7, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada East, Canada

The County of Bruce has announced a new and innovative partnership with Bluesource Canada that will make the County part of the solution to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. Bluesource Canada is the leading carbon offset developer in North America and is recognized as such by clients and industry peers in the Environmental Finance rankings. It has the forestry and market expertise to help evaluate options for forest owner across North American carbon markets and project types, and develop and monetize the offsets on their behalf. Warden Mitch Twolan stated that “The County is the first public sector forest owner in the Province of Ontario to respond to this global climate crisis in this way, and we are proud of our meaningful response to the international rally cry from the 2015 Paris Accord”. The County has a long history of sustainable forest management.

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Forestry group prepares plan to save Acadian forest

By Nathalie Sturgeon
CBC News
March 6, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada East, Canada

New Brunswick-based Community Forest International is trying to adapt forests worldwide to the effects of climate change — including forests right here in New Brunswick. Megan de Graaf, manager of the Canada Forest Program and a forest ecologist with the group, said climate change will have a major effect on the Acadian forest, which grows throughout New Brunswick.  “What we haven’t really known yet is what we can do about it in terms of forest managers to adapt our forest to be more resilient to climate change,” she said in an interview… The Acadian forest spans the Atlantic provinces and some of the New England states. It is not found anywhere else in the world, according to de Graaf. …Community Forest International is a charity that works in East Africa and Eastern Canada. It is based in Sackville and establishes community forests, promoting sustainable forestry techniques and initiating environmental education.

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Steady temperature increases are ‘significant impact to human health’

By Miriam King
Bradford Today
February 14, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada East, Canada

Forests Ontario’s annual Forestry Conference did not ignore the elephant in the room: climate change. The impact of drought on seedling survival, an increase in wildfires, the spread of invasive insects and tree diseases were topics of discussion, along with the potential for tree-planting to mitigate some impacts of climate change. …Derek Nighbor, CEO of the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC), called on governments to play a bigger role in “vulnerability assessment” and risk mitigation, to preserve Canada’s forests. …Across Canada, commercial harvesting removes only 0.5 per cent of the 347,069,000 hectares of forest every year – while fire destroys 0.4 per cent, and insect damage, five per cent. Not only is there a need to address the impacts of climate change, drought and invasive species, there is a need for innovation, improved infrastructure, and better transportation networks, he said.

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Greenpeace Founding Member: ‘The Whole Climate Crisis Is Not Only Fake News, It’s Fake Science’

By Tyler O’Neil
PJ Media
March 12, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

Patrick Moore

On Tuesday morning, Patrick Moore, a founding member of the environmentalist organization Greenpeace, slammed climate alarmists for promoting a fake emergency.  …”In fact, the whole climate crisis as they call it is not only fake news, it’s fake science. There is no climate crisis,” Moore, author of the book Confessions of a Greenpeace Drop-Out: The Making of a Sensible Environmentalist. …”There is weather and climate all around the world. And, in fact, carbon dioxide is the main building block of all life,” Moore said. “That’s where the carbon comes from in carbon-based life, which is all life on land and in the sea.” …”Yes, of course, climate change is real. It’s been happening since the beginning of time. But it’s not dangerous and it’s not made by people,” Moore insisted.

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Biomass Mess Shows Trouble with Sustainable Investing

By Jon Sindreu
The Wall Street Journal
March 7, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

Investors focused on environmental trends may be more vulnerable to changing tastes than they think. An industry considered sustainable today can seem nefarious tomorrow—just look at biomass. The Partnership for Policy Integrity, a U.S. environmental group, has launched an all-out attack on biomass—energy generated from burning living matter, like sugar cane, wood and waste. This week it helped file a lawsuit against the European Union for accelerating climate change by subsidizing biofuels. …Unlike fossil fuels, biomass is a form of renewable energy. …Who is right may not even be investors’ main concern. …So far, both the EU and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have tended to look kindly on many kinds of biofuels—especially those that can play a role in waste and forest maintenance. …Maybe regulators will stand their ground, but the fact that lobbying against biofuels has intensified should still give investors pause. [to read the full story a WSJ digital subscription may be required] 

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Industrial wood burning is adding to climate change

By Peter Raven and Mary S. Booth
The Hill
March 7, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

America is exporting huge amounts of our forest wood for burning in European power plants and other places around the world, even though science shows this wood is worse for climate change than the fossil fuels it is replacing. This is ironic — and self-defeating — since both the U.S. and European Union falsely count wood as environmentally beneficial. In fact, wood pellet exports have grown by nearly 80 percent over the last five years alone precisely because they receive financial and regulatory subsidies E.U. and Asian governments, incentives that are intended to fight climate change. But in truth, wood burning actually emits more carbon dioxide per unit of electricity generated than coal. Now the promotion of wood is being challenged by scientists and other advocates, both in the U.S. and Europe.

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Feedstock Sourcing for Project Success: US South Advantages

By Stan Parton
Biomass Magazine
March 7, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, International

Just how large is the global wood bioenergy market as we close in on 2020? …In 10 years, U.S. wood pellet exports have increased from less than 200,000 tons in 2008 to over 5 million tons in 2017. U.S. pellet exports have played a significant role in facilitating large-scale coal-to-biomass conversions and cofiring projects in the U.K., but growth in the European industrial pellet market… will likely plateau within the next five years. The near-term opportunity for further development in industrial wood pellet exports lies within Asia. …With over 100 wood fiber pulping and pelletizing mills and 200-plus solid wood manufacturing facilities, southern forests are the most utilized, yet the most sustainable forests in the world. …As such, the U.S. South offers global bioenergy producers ample resources and minimal feedstock volatility.

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Sustainable Biomass: What’s Ahead for New Markets

By Seth Ginther
Biomass Magazine
March 1, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, International

It’s a time of optimism in the wood biomass industry. Not only is there growing recognition that sustainable biomass is a viable climate solution, governments are increasingly incorporating it into policies that will help them achieve their low-carbon and renewable energy goals for the next decade and beyond. Chief among these policies is the European Union’s revised Renewable Energy Directive for 2012-’30 (or RED II), which has been a major focus for us at the U.S. Industrial Pellet Association. The RED II effort to harmonize bioenergy sustainability across EU Member States… positive influence it can have on the trade of wood pellets. The final RED II supports bioenergy as a pathway to lowering carbon emissions, and allows Member States to use sustainable imported biomass to achieve the low-carbon and renewable energy goals recommended in the Paris Agreement.

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Capturing carbon: Can it save us?

By Jeff Johnson
Chemical and Engineering News
February 25, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

Time is not on our side. Catastrophic consequences of climate change are just steps away, according to a slew of reports released at the end of 2018. …Enter “negative-emissions technologies,” a term but a few years old. NETs are methods that physically and chemically remove CO2 or other gases from the atmosphere….C&EN examines some NET approaches that are just getting underway. …Combining energy production with carbon capture and sequestration could prove to be a powerful negative-emissions technology. So-called bioenergy systems use recently grown biomass as a feedstock to create energy in the forms of electricity and heat while permanently storing the resulting carbon dioxide underground, forever, explains Erica Belmont, a University of Wyoming mechanical engineering professor. …Improved coastal zone management, reforestation, and enhanced agricultural practices could increase carbon dioxide sequestration capacity while also benefiting the environment.

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AF&PA Thanks Congress for Advancing Regulatory Policy on Carbon Neutrality of Forest-Based Biomass

American Forest & Paper Association
February 15, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

WASHINGTON – American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) President and CEO Donna Harman thanked Congress for reaffirming that federal regulatory policy should reflect the carbon neutrality of forest-based renewable biomass. Fiscal Year 2019 appropriations legislation, which passed the House and Senate, contains legislative language to that effect. “We thank our bipartisan Congressional champions for advancing a measure that recognizes long-standing scientific principles and appropriately reflects the paper and wood products industry’s use of carbon neutral biomass for energy production. We are one of the largest manufacturing sectors in the nation and deserve clear public policy that supports our ability to grow the economy, create American manufacturing jobs and stay in step with global competition. We look forward to working with the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy and the United States Department of Agriculture to fully implement this Congressional directive.”

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Common beetle’s gut microbiome benefits forests, holds promise for bioenergy

By Laurel Kellner
Phys.org
March 11, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

Insects are critical contributors to ecosystem functioning, and like most living organisms their co-evolution with microbes has been essential to support these functions. While many insects are infamous for wreaking havoc wherever they roam, many thousands of species go quietly about their business, providing important services essential to healthy ecosystems using the innovative biochemistry of their microbiomes. New research from the U.S. Department of Energy Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) shows how one such beneficial insect common to the Eastern U.S., the long-horned passalid beetle (Odontotaenius disjunctus), has a hardy digestive tract with microbes to thank for turning its woody diet into energy, food for its young, and nutrients for forest growth. These insights into how the beetle and its distinct microbiome have co-evolved provide a roadmap for the production of affordable, nature-derived fuels and bioproducts.

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Pass Clean Energy Jobs to protect Oregon’s timber industry

By Sarah Deumling, Owner, Zena Forest Products
Statesman Journal
March 8, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

Sarah Deumling

Oregon’s natural resource heritage is a point of pride for our state. What we have is special, and it deserves to be passed on to the generations that follow. … Just outside Salem sits 1,300 acres of our family’s forest, the Zena Forest. …It makes up one of the largest contiguous blocks of mixed conifer forest in the central Willamette Valley. It includes large areas of endangered Oak Savannah and Oak Woodland and contains headwaters of Rickreall, Yamhill, and Spring Valley watersheds. …We strive to be a model of sustainable forestry. That’s why we’re passionate supporters of the Clean Energy Jobs bill, legislation being worked on right now in Salem to cap and price pollution from Oregon’s top emitters. About 100 companies are responsible for between 83 percent and 87 percent of our state’s entire carbon pollution, and this bill aims to reduce that pollution to below 1990 levels.

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Green airplanes? Not on the horizon yet

By John Ryan
KUOW News and Information
March 7, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

Nearly half the planes flying out of Seattle and Portland airports could — some day — run on plant-based fuel made in the Northwest. But don’t expect that day any time soon. Kicking aviation’s climate-harming carbon habit is likely to be a long, slow process. …“The only way, then, to do it is through decarbonizing the fuel,” engineering professor Michael Wolcott with Washington State University said. …Wolcott said, in theory, there’s enough raw material in the Northwest to produce 400 million gallons of renewable jet fuel a year. …For the towering piles of logging “slash” left behind after timber operations around the Northwest, supply isn’t the problem. …Collecting them and processing them into fuel could tackle the smoke problem as well as provide a new source of energy. But building a refinery to process forest residue into fuel can be a risky, billion-dollar venture, according to Wolcott.

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Predicting how forests in the western US will respond to changing climate

By Carnegie Institution for Science
Science Daily
February 25, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

On the mountain slopes of the western United States, climate can play a major role in determining which tree communities will thrive in the harshest conditions, according to new work from Carnegie’s Leander Anderegg and University of Washington’s Janneke Hille Ris Lambers. Their findings, published in Ecology Letters, are an important step in understanding how forest growth will respond to a climate altered by human activity. As researchers try to anticipate how climate change will affect forest ecosystems, it is crucial to understand the factors that influence how forest habitats change over time — including both environmental conditions and competition for resources. One of the oldest ecological principles asserts that competition between trees will constrain growth under mild conditions and climate will constrain growth under harsh conditions.

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South Carolina forests are protected for trapping carbon, with a little help from California

By Chloe Johnson
The Post and Courier
March 9, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

South Carolina and California have little in common politically, but the Golden State’s laws are protecting the Palmetto State’s trees. California’s cap and trade program, which took effect in 2013, is the nation’s most expansive regulatory scheme aimed at fighting climate change in part by preserving forests. …Crucial to the program’s success are forests like those found in South Carolina and around the Southeast: forests full of fast-growing, long-living hardwood trees capable of sequestering hundreds of thousands of tons of carbon from the atmosphere. …While all forests sequester carbon to some degree, the Southeast’s hardwood swamps are some of the most capable of sucking greenhouse gasses out of the air, said Patricia Layton, a forest geneticist at Clemson. …To be eligible to sell credits under California’s rules, the forest has to be under threat of cutting and conversion. 

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Dutch biomass consumption to reach 2.3 million tons by 2020

By Erin Voegele
Biomass Magazine
March 13, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Biomass consumption in the Netherlands is expected to grow from approximately 1.8 million metric tons in 2018 to about 2.3 million tons in 2020, according to a report filed by the Dutch government with the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service’s Global Agricultural Information Network. …The government also said an increasing volume of biomass is expected to be imported, either in the form of wood chips or pellets. The report notes that the Dutch industrial market for biomass can be divided into two main segments: power plants that cofire biomass with coal, and biomass plants that generate heat and/or power. …The main constraint with the purchase of U.S. pellets or chips for these facilities is their relatively high price when compared to locally sourced biomass.

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Climate change puts additional pressure on vulnerable frogs

By Graham Readfearn
The Guardian
March 5, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Australia’s frog species, already threatened by habitat destruction and disease, are being put under extra pressure by shifting rainfall and rising temperatures from climate change. Some of Australia’s leading frog experts are worried that serious impacts could be unfolding out of sight, with one saying climate change could push certain species to extinction before they are documented by science. Many of Australia’s frogs are found nowhere else in the world, but the continent is also at the coalface of climate impacts with extreme heat, droughts and rising temperatures. Frogs are known to be at a high risk from climate change because they are ectotherms, animals with a body temperature regulated by their environment.

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‘Whole thing is unravelling’: climate change reshaping Australia’s forests

By Graham Readfearn
The Guardian
March 6, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Australia’s forests are being reshaped by climate change as droughts, heatwaves, rising temperatures and bushfires drive ecosystems towards collapse, ecologists have told Guardian Australia. Trees are dying, canopies are getting thinner and the rate that plants produce seeds is falling. Ecologists have long predicted that climate change would have major consequences for Australia’s forests. Now they believe those impacts are unfolding. “The whole thing is unravelling,” says Prof David Bowman, who studies the impacts of climate change and fire on trees at the University of Tasmania. “Most people have no idea that it’s even happening. The system is trying to tell you that if you don’t pay attention then the whole thing will implode. We have to get a grip on climate change.”

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EU sued to stop burning trees for energy; it’s not carbon neutral: plaintiffs

By Justin Catanoso
Mongabay
March 6, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Plaintiffs in five European nations and the United States filed an unprecedented suit Monday, 4 March, in the European General Court in Luxembourg against the European Union. They charge that the EU’s 2018 Renewable Energy Directive, known as RED II – which obligates member nations to generate at least 32 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2030 – will produce a surge in demand for wood pellets and wood chips because a current United Nations policy considers the burning of biomass for energy carbon neutral. As a result, emissions from burning wood are not counted against a country’s total carbon emissions. The Kyoto Protocol originally defined the carbon neutrality of so-called bioenergy more than 20 years ago, but many scientific studies since have shown this finding to be wrong. This new conclusion identified as the “bioenergy carbon accounting loophole” is at the heart of the lawsuit.

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Bord na Móna cited in landmark EU case on use of forest biomass

By Kevin O’Sullivan
Irish Times
March 4, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Classifying forest biomass as a renewable fuel “fatally undermines the goals of the new European Renewable Energy Directive”, according to plaintiffs from six countries including Ireland in an action filed on Monday at the European General Court. Each claims to have suffered, in diverse and particular ways, from the consequences of the directive’s biomass energy policy. One of the plaintiffs, Tony Lowes of Ireland’s environmental NGO Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE), has cited the co-firing with biomass of Ireland’s peat-powered electricity generating plants in the midlands. The lawsuit seeks to remove forest biomass from the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive recently approved by the EU, The directive, known as RED II, raises the overall EU target for renewable energy sources consumption by 2030 from 20 per cent to 32 per cent.

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Burning wood for power breaches EU treaty, new lawsuit claims

By Megan Darby
Climate Change News
March 4, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Campaigners are seeking to stop the EU counting wood as a renewable energy source, in a lawsuit filed at the Court of Justice on Monday. Plaintiffs from six European countries and the US argue that burning biomass for heat and power is a false solution to climate change. The EU Renewable Energy Directive promotes logging of ancient forests, according to the brief, contravening the bloc’s higher principles and individuals’ rights. …Nearly two thirds of EU renewables come from various forms of bioenergy, with more projects in planning. … A spokesperson for the European Commission climate change division would not comment on the legal merits of the case. The commission’s policy framework aimed to guarantee “sustainable development of bioenergy, while at the same time enhancing the role of land and forests as carbon sinks,” she said.

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Toshiba to build biomass power plant in Fukuoka

By Sousuke Kudou
Japan Today
March 3, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

TOKYO — Toshiba Energy Systems & Solutions Corp, based in Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture, will build a thermal power plant using imported biomass as fuel in Omuta City, Fukuoka Prefecture. Toshiba Energy Systems will build new facilities in an area adjacent to the Mikawa power plant, a biomass power plant owned by Sigma Power Ariake Co Ltd, which is affiliated with Toshiba Energy Systems. The new biomass power plant is expected to combust only biomass (imported palm shells) as fuel. …The plant is scheduled to start operation in the spring of 2022. [END]

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Greenhouse gases, explained

By Christina Nunez
National Geographic
March 3, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

By trapping heat from the sun, greenhouse gases have kept Earth’s climate habitable for humans and millions of other species. But the same gases that were once beneficial now are out of balance and threaten to change drastically which living things can survive on this planet—and where. Atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide are now higher than at any time in the last 800,000 years. …Major greenhouse gases and sources: Carbon dioxide (CO2)… Methane (CH4)… Nitrous Oxide (N2O)… Industrial gases… Other greenhouse gases include water vapor and ozone (O3). …The technologies for ramping down greenhouse gas emissions already exist, for the most part. They include swapping fossil fuels for renewable sources, boosting energy efficiency, and discouraging carbon emissions. (Read more about such solutions here.)

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France ‘must close coal plants rather than convert to biomass’

By Jonny Bairstow
Energy Live News
March 1, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Environmental groups from around the world have joined forces to call for France’s coal plants to be shut down, rather than being converted to biomass. In an open letter, 46 green groups from 19 countries have urged French Environment Minister François de Rugy to deny permission to convert the Cordemais coal-fired power station or any other similar facility to biomass. EDF currently hopes to switch the facility to burning mostly wood pellets alongside a small proportion of coal – the campaigner groups warn that the proposals are not compatible with the French government’s commitment to meet the goals of the international Paris Agreement. …They suggest burning forest biomass is still a carbon-intensive and polluting form of energy generation and believe governments should instead push for more renewable infrastructure to be built instead.

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Forestry and wood playing vital role in meeting climate change target

By Stuart Goodall, Confor
The Scotsman
March 1, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Stuart Goodall

SCOTLAND — Reducing emissions is no longer enough to mitigate damaging climate change. That is the simple message from Lord Deben, chairman of the Committee on Climate Change. …Speaking at Confor’s All-Party Forestry Group at Westminster, Lord Deben laid down the plain facts; we have already seized the low-hanging fruit on emissions reduction and it is now also about removing carbon from the atmosphere. Lord Deben was addressing… how governments can deliver increased tree planting and greater use of home-grown wood, particularly in construction. Successive reports have highlighted the growing significance of forestry and wood in meeting climate change targets, describing tree planting and timber use as a “simple, low-cost option” to make a real impact. The good news is that in Scotland, we are doing well. …In England and Wales, the picture is not so bright.

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Carbon capture technology used for the first time in Europe

By Lydia Carter
The Boar (U of Warwick, UK)
February 25, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

UK – A power station in North Yorkshire has become the first in Europe to capture carbon dioxide from wood burning. The Drax power station near Selby burns wood chips to provide electricity, a process that ordinarily would produce large amounts of carbon dioxide. …By capturing the carbon which is emitted in combustion, carbon dioxide is removed from the air through photosynthesis, but not released back into the atmosphere, giving a net negative carbon emission. The carbon dioxide is passed through a tube coated in a thin layer of a chemical which captures it – the carbon dioxide and ‘capture chemical’ can later be separated for reuse. …Carbon capture… with appropriately managed forestry and responsible decisions, could play an important part in the solution to the world’s energy requirements

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World’s forests increasingly taking up more carbon

By Cheryl Dybas
Phys.org
February 25, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

The world’s forests are increasingly taking up more carbon, partially offsetting the carbon being released by the burning of fossil fuels and by deforestation in the tropics, according to a new study. The findings, published in the journal Biogeosciences, suggest that forests are growing more vigorously, and therefore, locking away more carbon. Even so, the concentration of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is still on the rise. …The increased plant growth in global forests could be due to several factors, including higher concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, warmer temperatures and increased availability of nitrogen. The new study also contributes to a mounting body of evidence that tropical forests might take up more carbon—and northern temperate forests might take up less carbon—than many scientists once thought. …The new study finds that… the carbon flux in the tropics is about zero.

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Indonesia to get first payment from Norway under $1b REDD+ scheme

By Hans Nicholas Jong
Mongabay
February 21, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

JAKARTA — It’s taken nearly a decade, but Indonesia is finally set to receive the first part of a $1 billion payment pledged by the Norwegian government for preserving some of the Southeast Asian country’s vast tropical rainforests. Indonesia’s environment minister, Siti Nurbaya Bakar, and her Norwegian counterpart, Ola Elvestuen, made the announcement in Jakarta on Feb. 16. The payment, whose amount is yet to be determined, is for Indonesia preventing the emission of 4.8 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) through reducing its rate of deforestation in 2017. “Indonesia has embarked on bold regulatory reforms, and it is showing results,” Elvestuen said. “It may be too early to see a clear trend, but if deforestation continues to drop we stand ready to increase our annual payments to reward Indonesia’s results and support its efforts.” The two countries signed the $1 billion pact in 2010, under the REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) mechanism.

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World’s biggest terrestrial carbon sinks are found in young forests

By University of Birmingham
EurekAlert
February 18, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

More than half of the carbon sink in the world’s forests is in areas where the trees are relatively young – under 140 years old – rather than in tropical rainforests, research at the University of Birmingham shows. These trees have typically ‘regrown’ on land previously used for agriculture, or cleared by fire or harvest and it is their young age that is one of the main drivers of this carbon uptake. Forests are widely recognised as important carbon sinks – ecosystems capable of capturing and storing large amounts of carbon dioxide – but dense tropical forests, close to the equator have been assumed to be working the hardest to soak up these gases. …However, the researchers found that areas where forests were re-growing sucked up large amounts of carbon not only due to these fertilisation effects, but also as a result of their younger age. The age effect accounted for around 25 per cent of the total carbon dioxide absorbed by forests.

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