Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: February 23, 2017

Today’s Takeaway

Glass half full or half empty?

Tree Frog Forestry News
February 23, 2017
Category: Today's Takeaway

With kudos from industry and government leaders across Canada, Jim Carr, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, announced the creation of a Federal–Provincial Task Force on Softwood Lumber which will focus on understanding the “potential impacts” of duties and addressing the needs of “impacted communities“. ?

With “fingers-crossed”, Keith Baldrey writes that it’s hard to see how Trump, “a belligerent and fact-challenged supporter of American interests”, will improve BC’s softwood lumber chances. Citing Premier Clark’s “glass-half-full pronouncements” of late that “Obama’s administration essentially refused to discuss a new softwood deal”, Baldrey concludes; “Glass half full? Hmm. I’ll go with almost empty”.

Using the President’s name to “trump up” his message, Forest Stewardship Council president Francois Dufresne says the forest industry “will grow, despite his [Trump’s] tough talk on trade”. Dufresne’s real reason for being in the [Ontario] news was to meet with First Nations leaders on FSC’s adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which he “insists will be anything but a contract giving First Nations communities license to stop forestry from happening”.   

Elsewhere, mixed news on bioenergy. Mercer International is buying one of Germany’s largest sawmills and a biomass power plant, while Rentech’s wood-pellet plants in Ontario are reducing production due to the loss of their UK customer base. 
–Tree Frog Editors

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Business & Politics

Forest Industry Applauds Government’s Softwood Lumber Task Force

Forest Products Association of Canada
February 22, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada

OTTAWA — Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) is pleased that the Minister of Natural Resources, the Honourable Jim Carr, has launched the creation of a federal-provincial task force on softwood lumber. “A Team Canada approach is critical for our industry”, said Derek Nighbor, CEO of Forest Products Association of Canada. “These efforts through this collaboration with federal and provincial governments are critical to continued innovation, market diversification and strengthening of rural and northern communities.”

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Federal government launches task force for U.S. lumber battle

By Andrew Duffy
Victoria Times Colonist
February 23, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada

In order to co-ordinate Canada’s efforts in the softwood lumber dispute with the U.S., the federal government has created a new federal-provincial softwood lumber task force. The body, chaired by Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr, is expected to assess current federal and provincial programming and co-ordinate initiatives to promote innovation, market diversification and transformation of the forest sector. Carr said with the spectre of a long dispute with the U.S. looming, the new task force will work to strengthen the forest industry through finding new markets and innovating. …The task force is being welcomed by B.C.’s lumber industry. “Any time we can add focus to the file is a positive,” said Western Forest Products chief executive Don Demens. “That being said, we have always gotten very good support from the federal government.

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Government of Canada Announces Task Force on Softwood Lumber

By Natural Resources Canada
Government of Canada
February 22, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada

Canada’s forest sector is vital to a strong Canadian economy. Enhanced collaboration between federal and provincial governments will help to keep our forest sector, and the workers and communities that depend on it, strong and resilient. Today, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, the Honourable Jim Carr, announced the creation of the Federal–Provincial Task Force on Softwood Lumber, which will share information and analysis to understand potential impacts and assess how to address the needs of affected workers and communities. Minister Carr will chair the domestic task force, while Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, leads softwood engagement with the United States.

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BC Lumber Producers Welcome Government Task Force on Softwood Lumber

BC Lumber Trade Council
February 23, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

VANCOUVER, B.C. – The BC Lumber Trade Council (BCLTC) welcomes the announcement today by Natural Resources Canada to establish a federal-provincial task force on softwood lumber. “BC lumber producers welcome Minister Jim Carr’s initiative to create a task force on softwood lumber to share information and coordinate programs that promote innovation and market diversification in the forest sector,” said Susan Yurkovich, President of the BC Lumber Trade Council. “Coordination of efforts between the federal and provincial governments is critical as we work to understand the potential impacts of the softwood lumber trade dispute with the U.S. on our workers and communities.” “We appreciate that the federal government, including the Prime Minister, Minister Chrystia Freeland, Minister Jim Carr and Ambassador David MacNaughton, have made softwood lumber a top priority,” said Yurkovich.

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Time is ticking for a softwood lumber deal

By Keith Baldrey, chief political reporter for Global B.C.
Burnaby Now
February 22, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

It’s hard to see how U.S. President Donald Trump – a belligerent and fact-challenged supporter of American interests over anything else – will improve B.C.’s chances for reaching a new deal on softwood lumber. Then again, he may not be any worse on this file than was the Obama administration that preceded his ascension to power. That strange take partly explains the fingers-crossed, glass-half-full pronouncements from Premier Christy Clark on this issue in recent days. She says the Obama administration essentially refused to discuss a new softwood deal for the past year, preferring to spend 100 per cent of its attention on the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. By contrast, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his officials managed to get the softwood issue onto the agenda during his recent (and apparently successful) meeting with Trump.

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Canada’s Mercer International to buy German biomass plant

Bioenergy Insight
February 22, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Canadian pulp manufacturer Mercer International has agreed to buy one of Germany’s largest sawmills and a biomass power plant. Mercer International will acquire the Friesau facility for around CAN$55.1 million (€39.7m) plus defined working capital of approximately $9 million… CEO David M. Gandossi said: “The proposed acquisition also expands our existing presence in the bio-mass based electricity market and is in line with our long-term growth objectives. “This acquisition leverages our core competencies of wood procurement, production optimization and green energy production. We believe it presents a natural fit with our existing procurement activities and our expertise in bio-mass based electricity production.”

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Safety net for softwood

By Dustin Godfrey
Castanet
February 22, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

An Okanagan member of Parliament is joining calls on the federal government to ensure the softwood lumber industry is safeguarded from potential protectionist policies south of the border. South Okanagan – West Kootenay MP Richard Cannings made a call for loan guarantees for forestry companies in the House of Commons, as the threat of a duty on Canadian exports – including lumber – to the U.S. persists. A loan guarantee would have the federal government take on some of the debt of a company if it defaults on a loan, but Cannings didn’t have specifics on what those loan guarantees would look like. “We think the government should be thinking of that, and they have given us no indication that they have any plans in that regard,” he said. “The Americans are talking 35-, 45-, 55-per-cent countervail duties and that would just devastate the Canadian lumber industry.”

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Catalyst, North Cowichan applaud elimination of PST on electricity

By Robert Barron
Cowichan Valley Citizen
February 22, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Plans by the province to eliminate the provincial sales tax on electrical sales to businesses are being welcomed by Catalyst Paper, which operates a pulp and paper mill in Crofton. Catalyst spokesman Len Posyniak said the move, which was announced in the provincial budget on Feb. 21, is a “strong step forward” to protect and support jobs in B.C.’s pulp and paper sector. … “This is good news at a critical time for our industry and for Catalyst and the workers and communities who depend on our operations,” said Posyniak. …Just last week, the Municipality of North Cowichan joined eight other municipalities from across B.C. in asking the province to exempt some of their major industrial users of electricity, including the Crofton mill, from the PST. North Cowichan mayor Jon Lefebure said the government’s plan to eliminate the PST on electricity “very encouraging”.

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Brace for impact of US softwood lumber duties

Northern Ontario Business
February 22, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

When things look bleak, form a task force. With a trade dispute looming with the United States over Canadian cross-border exports of softwood lumber, federal Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr announced the creation of a federal-provincial softwood lumber task force on Feb. 22. Its purpose is to analyze potential impacts to forestry workers and communities, find new global export markets, and do what it takes through innovation and programming to keep the forest sector breathing. Carr will chair the committee. The 2006 Softwood Lumber Agreement expired on October 12, 2015. Negotiations over the past two years haven’t produced a new deal but Natural Resources Canada said Ottawa will “vigorously defend the interests of the middle-class Canadians who depend on the industry.”

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EACOM Welcomes Government of Canada Task Force on Softwood Lumber

By EACOM Timber Corporation
Canada Newswire
February 22, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

MONTREAL – EACOM Timber Corporation welcomes news by Canadian Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr of the creation of the Federal-Provincial Task Force on Softwood Lumber, which will coordinate current programs and assess domestic initiatives as Canada continues to negotiate with the United States. ”We thank the Canadian Government for its efforts to reconcile the needs across the country and are grateful to the Ontario and Quebec Governments for their advocacy to safeguard their provincial softwood lumber industries” said Kevin Edgson, EACOM CEO. For EACOM, which operates 7 sawmills in Ontario and Quebec, access to the American market is critical to maintain and grow our business.

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Local forestry safe under Trump: FSC president

By Jon Thompson
TB Newswatch
February 22, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada


THUNDER BAY — A Donald Trump presidency doesn’t have to mean uncertainty for the local forestry industry or its environmental ethics, according to the head of Canada’s greenest forestry certification organization. Forest Stewardship Council president Francois Dufresne pointed out the 35-year-old softwood lumber disupte between Canada and the United States far precedes Trump’s political career and he predicts the US market for the pulp produced in Thunder Bay will continue to grow. “There’s an increasing demand for pulp that gives you an advantage that has been on the rise for at least five to 10 years and that will just keep going,” Dufresne said.

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Tieto to deliver a wood and fibre procurement system for Swedish wood processing group Martinsons

Lesprom Network
February 22, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

Tieto has been entrusted to deliver a comprehensive wood and fibre procurement system for Martinsons, one of Sweden’s largest family owned wood-processing companies. The solution is based on Tieto Integrated Fibre Flow (TIFF), a cloud service providing industry-specific modules for management of the entire value chain, from purchasing, contracting and felling to delivery. Key components of the solution, which will be published in 2017, include: purchasing support including contract management, mapping support as well as supplier and property registers. 

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

World’s tallest wooden building in Norway could herald ‘age of timber’

Reuters in The Straits Times
February 22, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada East, International

BERGEN, NORWAY – Situated on the Bergen waterfront, The Tree is the tallest wooden building in the world. The 52.8m-high structure is one of a growing number of so-called Plyscrapers altering city skylines. The timber industry say it is an environmental solution, as countries seek to reduce emissions. “It will never totally displace concrete and steel, but it’s definitely a part in our solution towards our struggle towards a CO2 neutral society.” said Mr Ole Herman Kleppe, chief project manager. The architects insist that fears of fire in such timber homes are groundless. “These columns and these CLT panels they don’t burn. They’re so thick that they don’t burn. In addition, they are painted with fire resistant paint and the house is sprinkled so we have all possible ways to prevent a fire in the house. So actually, this is the safest house in Bergen regarding fire.” said Mr Kleppe. The 14-storey structure is made of sustainable wood.

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Environmental Science and Forestry Professor Awarded Research Grant

College of Environmental Science and Forestry – State University of New York
February 22, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

Innovations in the area of green building construction methods will be the focus of a grant awarded to an ESF researcher by Syracuse University’s Sustainable Enterprise Partnership (SEP), in cooperation with the U.S. Green Building Council. The $19,000 award will fund new research on cross-laminated timber (CLT) wood products in multifamily housing. Dr. Rene Germain, professor of forest and natural resources management at ESF and Patrick Penfield, professor of supply chain practice at the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University, will conduct the research, which will focus on the use of sustainable structural wood in multifamily housing and commercial structures.

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Bau Wood Show a Success

SFPA Newsletter
Southern Forest Products Association
February 22, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

For the first time, American Softwoods (AMSO) exhibited at Bau, the largest trade show in Europe for manufacturers and suppliers of building materials. SFPA’s European consultant Charles Trevor, based in London, led an 11-member delegation to Munich, Germany for this marathon six-day exhibition. Show sponsors claimed that some 250,000 visitors toured displays of more than 2100 exhibitors from 45 countries; there is always a waiting list for exhibit space… Bau was not just a European show. “It should be considered by exhibitors with a focus beyond Europe, and in particular the Middle East and North Africa,” Charles noted in his report. Indeed, more than half of the commercial contacts made at the show were from countries other than Germany or Austria.

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Go green with bamboo flooring

By Nduku Muema
The Standard
February 22, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Global warming has become a universal concern and ways to mitigate it are being devised each new day. In the building industry, “green-conscious people” are turning to renewable, organic and environmentally friendly-construction materials. One such material is bamboo, which is increasingly being used for flooring. Though relatively new in Kenya, the use of bamboo as a flooring material has been common across the world for many years. Bamboo floors are manufactured from the bamboo plant and are classified as a form of sustainable flooring as they reduce the demand on ecosystems during their life-cycle: harvest, production, use and disposal.

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Forestry

Column: The Mind-Blowing Monarch and Minister McKenna

By David Suzuki
The Boundary Sentinel
February 22, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Federal Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna had her mind blown recently. Remarkably, it had nothing to do with the political gong show south of the border. McKenna was visiting the hilltop monarch butterfly reserves in rural Mexico. There she saw millions of monarchs clinging to oyamel fir trees in mind-bogglingly dense clusters, surprisingly well-camouflaged for such colourful critters. She then wrote a heartfelt article calling on people in Canada to act before monarchs go the way of passenger pigeons and buffalo. Those monarchs travel thousands of kilometres, many from summer breeding grounds in Canada that once stretched from southern Saskatchewan to the Maritimes. 

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Farther from forest: ‘Eye-opening’ study says rural US loses forests faster than cities

By State University of New York – College of Environmental Science and Forestry
Phys.org
February 22, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

Americans are spending their lives farther from forests than they did at the end of the 20th century and, contrary to popular wisdom, the change is more pronounced in rural areas than in urban settings. A study published today (Feb. 22) in the journal PLOS ONE says that between 1990 and 2000, the average distance from any point in the United States to the nearest forest increased by 14 percent—or about a third of a mile. And while the distance isn’t insurmountable for humans in search of a nature fix, it can present challenges for wildlife and have broad effects on ecosystems. Dr. Giorgos Mountrakis, an associate professor at the College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) in Syracuse, New York, and co-author of the study, called the results “eye opening.”

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Lawsuit pits timber against antiquities

By the Editorial Board
Mail Tribune
February 23, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

A lawsuit by two timber companies seeking to block the expansion of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument may or may not succeed, but it might resolve one burning question regarding O&C timber lands and the federal act that governs their management. …The two timber companies, Murphy Co. and Murphy Timber Investments LLC, argue in their lawsuit that the expansion area includes former Oregon & California Railroad lands set aside by Congress in 1937 for sustainable timber production, watershed protection and recreation. …But if the courts take the timber companies’ side, it could jeopardize much of the monument, not just the expansion. That would be a blow to efforts to protect a very special place and the species that call it home.

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Tester announces new wilderness bill for Blackfoot-Clearwater

By Rob Chaney
The Missoulian
February 22, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

SEELEY LAKE – Proposed legislation by Sen. Jon Tester would create new biking and snowmobiling play areas while expanding the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex by about 79,000 acres. “Monday of next week we’ll be introducing the Blackfoot-Clearwater Stewardship Act,” Tester told a crowd of about 125 people at Rich’s Montana Guest Ranch, which borders the 1.5-million-acre wilderness area. fThe bill would designate 2,200 acres as the Otatsy Recreation Management Area for motorized winter activity and 3,800 adjacent acres as the Spread Mountain Recreation Area where mountain bikers want to develop a trail system. 

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Oregon Environmental Groups, Lawmakers Target Logging Rules

By Tony Schick
Oregon Public Broadcasting
February 22, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Environmental groups are pressuring Governor Kate Brown and the Oregon Board of Forestry to find new leadership on forestry issues and increase protections for coastal drinking water flowing through private forestland. That push accompanies legislative efforts to tighten rules for aerial pesticide spraying on forests and to enact sweeping reforms to the state’s Forest Practices Act, including restrictions on logging near streams and on slopes prone to landslide. More than a dozen environmental advocacy groups signed letters to Brown and the forestry board after EarthFix reported in January about how a state publication that identified logging as a risk to coastal communities’ drinking water was shelved. That action came after members of the timber industry and the state’s Department of Forestry disputed the report’s scope, methodology, and some of its findings.

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Oregon Treasurer Tobias Read defends vote to sell Elliott State Forest

By Zach Urness
Statesman Journal
February 22, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West


When Oregon State Treasurer Tobias Read voted to move forward with the sale of Elliott State Forest, he instantly became a villain for Oregon’s conservation community. The Democrat was the swing vote in the State Land Board’s 2-1 decision to approve selling the 82,500-acre forest to a Roseburg-based timber company. He joined Republican Secretary of State Dennis Richardson and split with Democratic Gov. Kate Brown. …In an interview, Read said his decision wasn’t something he was happy about, but that he had a “legal responsibility to generate revenue for the state’s school children.” “I’m a strong supporter of public lands and I don’t like the situation we’re in,” he said. “I’ve been asking for months for another plan — a detailed plan with actual dollars attached to it. Presently, I don’t see another viable path.”

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Large-scale experiment on the rural Olympic Peninsula to test innovations in forest management

By Michelle Ma
The University of Washington
February 22, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

…Scientists at the University of Washington and the state Department of Natural Resources intend to test a management approach that mimics natural disturbance patterns and processes across a large portion of the Olympic Peninsula, an area known for having the most rainfall in the lower 48 states, high tree-growth rates and old-growth forests, part of which remain today. They recently released their proposal for the experiment that will compare different types, intensities and patterns of disturbance and regrowth — in the form of harvesting, planting and managing competing vegetation — within 16 watersheds on the western Olympic Peninsula. It will be the largest, most ambitious study in Washington using this experimental approach.

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Beetle outbreak killing Georgia pine trees

By Carol Sbarge
WSBTV
February 22, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

FLOYD COUNTY, Ga. – Warm temperatures and the drought have led to a major outbreak of a type of beetle that is killing pine trees. Channel 2’s Carol Sbarge went to Rome to talk to a specialist with the Georgia Forestry Commission to find out how to tell if trees in your area are in trouble. The Georgia Forestry Commission is warning people the Ips beetles are killing pine trees and are expected to continue to do so in the spring and summer. Forest Health Specialist Lynn Womack said it’s been such a warm winter that they are seeing active beetle spots in North Georgia, which is unusual in February. Womack said the beetles usually die off in the fall and winter.

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Rural homeowners need to prepare for wildfires

By Cindy Swirko
Ocala Star Banner
February 22, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

Public land managers have been doing their part to prevent wildfires by reducing dried vegetation with planned burns that also improve the natural landscape. But as North Central Florida heads into wildfire season, homeowners — especially those in rural areas — are being asked to help by clearing material that could increase the risk of an uncontrolled fire, said Ludie Bond, a wildfire mitigation specialist with the Florida Forest Service. “We’re having an earlier spring than usual. All the plants are starting to bud out, and that soaks up whatever moisture is in the ground. That makes it dry out quicker,” Bond said. “Some areas are more at risk and that means homeowners need to do their part in preparing their homes for wildfires — if nothing else than to buy some time for response resources to arrive on scene.” 

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Fights brewing over forestry, councils, in lead up to Tasmanian Parliament 2017 debut

By Georgie Burgess
ABC News, Australia
February 23, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Tasmania’s Premier has hosed down claims he is picking a fight with councils, as his Resources Minister warns he will “fight in the trenches” to get controversial forestry legislation through the first session of Parliament. Labor and the Greens have accused Will Hodgman’s Liberal Government of “picking fights left, right and centre” in the lead up to the first sitting for 2017. The Tasmanian Parliament is due to resume on March 7 and the Government is making its Unlocking Production Forests bill a priority. The legislation will open up 356,000 hectares of previously protected forests to logging from October this year. The areas include forests near the popular Three Capes Track, and Mr Hodgman said land adjacent to it would be “excised” from the logging map.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Atikokan hopes pellet plant finds more customers

By Gary Rinne
TB Newswatch
February 22, 2017
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada East, Canada

THUNDER BAY — The American company that operates a wood-pellet plant in Atikokan is reducing production there, and suspending operations at a similar plant in Wawa. Rentech Inc. announced Tuesday that the Wawa wood-pellet plant is being idled “due to equipment and operational issues that would require additional unbudgeted capital investment.” The company said that while it explores alternatives for the Wawa facility, maintenance workers will keep it ready to start up again in the event that it finds a purchaser or a third-party investor. While the Atikokan plant remains open, Rentech said it is reducing production as it is no longer shipping pellets to a customer in the United Kingdom through the Port of Quebec. 

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Biomass subsidies ‘not fit for purpose’, says Chatham House

By Jocelyn Timperley
Carbon Brief
February 23, 2017
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, International

Subsidies should end for many types of biomass, a new Chatham House report argues, because they are failing to help cut greenhouse gas emissions. The report adds that policymakers should tighten up accounting rules to ensure the full extent of biomass emissions are included. The analysis outlines how policies intended to boost the use of biomass are in many cases “not fit for purpose” because they are inadvertently increasing emissions by often ignoring emissions from burning wood in power stations and failing to account for changes in forest carbon stocks. It argues that UK and recently revised EU rules for bioenergy are inadequate for managing and monitoring the emissions from burning biomass.

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