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Category Archives: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Conservation and climate action go together

By David Suzuki
The Times Colonist
January 19, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada

David Suzuki

We live on a changing planet. Unnaturally rapid global warming is altering everything, including lands and waters. …Because many gases, such as carbon dioxide, remain in the atmosphere for hundreds of years, impacts to the planet will continue even if we stop all atmospheric emissions tomorrow. Approaches to conservation are also changing in response to climate disruption. …Protected areas can be excellent climate mitigation tools. Mature forests, peatlands, oceans and marshes house significant carbon stores, while disturbing these ecosystems releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. …To safeguard biodiversity, protected area planning has had to evolve. …The key question is, what can be done — in addition to the rapid reduction of CO2 emissions now — to increase the resiliency of these ecosystems to climate change? …Activism is one way to foster resilience. It can help overcome despair.

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Microsoft pledges to remove more carbon than it produces by 2030

By Jay Greene
The Washington Post
January 16, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, United States

REDMOND, Wash. — Microsoft announced plans to remove more carbon than it emits by the end of the decade, a pledge that addresses the climate-change crisis more aggressively than many of its tech rivals. …Microsoft’s initiative goes a few steps beyond what crosstown rival Amazon announced…to be at net zero emissions — removing as much carbon as it produces — throughout its business by 2040. …To achieve its goal, Microsoft plans for its entire fleet of vehicles to run on electric power by 2030. It will adopt negative-emission technologies including soil carbon sequestration and bioenergy with carbon capture and storage to remove emissions it has created. The company also committed to investing $1 billion over the next four years in new technologies to help address the climate change crisis.

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The steady build-out of Canada’s industrial wood pellet industry continues

By Matt Merritt
Biomass Magazine
January 10, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada

Canada’s wood pellet industry is reaping the benefits of simultaneous growth in both supply and global demand, with nearly 400,000 metric tons of new production capacity online in 2019 and another 400,000 expected this year. Combined with the 400,000 MT of capacity added in 2018, Canada’s wood pellet industry has added over one million tons of capacity in just three years, all underpinned by strong demand from important export markets in Europe and Japan. …The willingness of Japanese pellet buyers to execute long-term offtake agreements has created a platform of certainty upon which this new production capacity is being built. …As for whether this trend of rapid demand for energy pellets will continue in the long-term, McCurdy says, “The short answer is yes. …Continued growth depends on continued support for biomass as a renewable energy solution to our world’s problems, Murray concludes. 

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Experts say climate change is driving up the risk of wildfires in Canada

The Canadian Press in the Times Colonist
January 7, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada

OTTAWA — Canadian wildfire experts say Canada is very vulnerable to the kind of devastating wildfires ravaging Australia right now. …”What’s happening in Australia now is extraordinary,” said Ed Struzik, a fellow at the Institute for Energy and Environmental Policy at Queen’s University. And he says, Canada is not immune to seeing the same thing. …Canada is home to about 30 per cent of the world’s total forests, and 10 per cent of what is known as forest cover. …Struzik says fire risk is going up in Canada because of climate change, human activity and a glut of fuel for fires in forests ravaged by pests like the mountain pine beetle. University of Alberta wildland fire professor Mike Flannigan says… for every degree of warming, the number of lightning strikes goes up by about 12 per cent. Lightning usually causes more than half of the wildfires in Canada.

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Government of Canada releases emissions projections, showing progress towards climate target

By Environment and Climate Change Canada
Cision Newswire
December 20, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada

Jonathan Wilkinson

OTTAWA – From forest fires and floods to heat waves and coastal erosion, Canadians are living the impacts of a warming climate every day. Fighting climate change presents an enormous opportunity – to protect the health and safety of Canadians, and also to position Canada for economic success as demand for clean technology accelerates around the world. Today, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Jonathan Wilkinson, published the conclusions of Canada’s annual greenhouse gas emissions projections. The analysis shows that in 2030, Canada’s emissions are projected to be 227 million tonnes (Mt) below what was projected in 2015. This is a historic level of emissions reductions. Policies and measures now in place, including those introduced in the last year, are projected to achieve a level of emissions 28 million tonnes lower by 2030 than last year’s projections.

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Canada’s Top Ten Weather Stories of 2019 – 2019 shows Canada’s changing climate is bringing more extreme weather

By Environment and Climate Change Canada
Cision Newswire
December 18, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada

GATINEAU, QC – Environment and Climate Change Canada today released the 24th annual edition of Canada’s Top Ten Weather Stories. Canada’s Top Ten Weather Stories of 2019 clearly show, once again, that more and more Canadians are being impacted by extreme weather, from devastating wildfires and flooding to destructive storms and record droughts. Scientists have discovered that Canada is warming at nearly twice the global rate, with parts of western and northern Canada warming at a rate of three times the global average, and we know that, with warming, extreme weather events will happen more frequently. This year, Canadians in every region of the country were affected by extreme weather or climate events. They included destructive hurricanes, record flooding, snow storms, extreme cold, record heat, tornadoes, forest fires and poor air quality. These events resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage and billions of lost dollars for our economy.

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Nature-based climate solutions go beyond planting trees

By Ole Hendrickson, Ottawa River Institute
Rabble.ca
December 11, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, United States

Rumour has it that the federal government is considering a major investment in using nature to reduce greenhouse gases and to mitigate climate change. The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has numerous helpful suggestions in this regard. The IPCC says that protecting existing high-carbon ecosystems (wetlands, rangelands, forests) has immediate impacts. …The IPCC also recommends enhancing carbon storage in human-modified areas by planting trees. …Excessive reliance on planting trees is risky. Fires can quickly release stored forest carbon. …Another important consideration is the fate of harvested forest products. Large tracts of Canada’s intact boreal forest are being converted into toilet paper, whose carbon goes down the pipe to the sewage plant and back into the atmosphere. …If harvested wood were instead used to build affordable, energy-efficient, low-income housing, carbon would remain locked up for decades.

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Patrick Moore, Greta and the watermelons

By John Gormley
Saskatoon StarPhoenix
December 6, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada

John Gormley

Canadian environmental scientist Patrick Moore — respected or reviled but never neutral in the climate change culture wars — has an odd ally to thank: Greta Thunberg the child climate campaigner… In a statement issued in late November, Thunberg finally said what has often been implied…: even if it is possible to meet unrealistic carbon dioxide emissions targets, it will not be enough. Society also has to be broken down, the market-oriented, capitalist economy dismantled and the “haves” in society brought to heel. Some have coined this “Watermelon Environmentalism” — green on the outside and communist red on the inside. …Patrick Moore, who now consults for the nuclear and forest industries — and is an outspoken critic of climate change activism — is still persuasive and smart. And he has become such a thorn in the side of Greenpeace that its own history has been revised to remove all mentions of him and, in particular, any reference as a founder.

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Developing Forest Biomass Removal Guidelines to Ensure Environmental Sustainability

Natural Resources Canada
January 14, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

Canadian Forest Service (CFS) researchers are undertaking research to determine how much biomass, by species of tree and by ecosystem type, can safely be removed from forests while still maintaining healthy ecological functions. The information gained from studies now underway will help forest managers better understand the limits to biomass harvesting. It will also help managers determine the best approaches to harvesting biomass in a sustainable way. In Canada, logging residue (or slash) is typically piled and burned to increase plantable area or reduce insect, disease and wildfire risk, or left on-site to decompose. Slash has been used for generating bioenergy in some European countries for decades, and some of these countries have been assessing how much to take, how much to leave and the best way to convert slash to energy. In Sweden, 25% of energy production in 2016 was from biomass, of which slash (harvest residues) was the largest single component. [Access the French version here]

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Grizzly bears move north in High Arctic as climate change expands range

By Amy Smart
Canadian Press in Victoria Times Colonist
December 14, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

Some unlikely neighbours are moving in around the northernmost communities of the Northwest Territories, across the icy tundra of Canada’s High Arctic. Inuvialuit hunters and trappers say grizzly bears are showing up in increasing numbers on islands of the Beaufort Sea and experts say climate change is likely a driving factor. …Grizzly bears have lost significant habitat to human settlement across North America and continue to struggle in some regions. … One area seeing more grizzlies is the west coast of Hudson Bay, including Wapusk National Park near Churchill, Man. With no southerly source population, it shows that grizzlies aren’t just moving north, they’re moving east and south as well. …The most obvious question — why now and why not earlier? — suggests climate change is playing a role alongside other changes like resource development.

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Forest Enhancement Society of B.C. Fights Climate Change and Creates Jobs in the Green Economy

Forest Enhancement Society of BC
December 10, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

PRINCETON, B.C.— $1.4 million in funding from the Forest Enhancement Society of B.C. (FESBC) in partnership with the BC government and the Government of Canada is achieving greenhouse gas reduction targets while creating economic sustainability. The funding addresses the uneconomic viability of processing low-grade fibre, like small-diameter treetops, by supporting the incremental hauling costs of fibre to Okanagan-based BC EcoChips Ltd. About 325,000 cubic metres of normally unmerchantable wood fibre will be saved from burning in slash piles over the next four years. Over 35,000 cubic metres have already been hauled and chipped since spring 2019. The project is being managed by Westwood Fibre Resources Ltd. of Kamloops, B.C. President Jim Thrower said they are working with Weyerhaeuser to secure the additional fibre to haul to BC EcoChips Ltd. facilities in Princeton and Okanagan Falls, B.C.

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Tackling climate change one building at a time

Glacier Media in Kamloops Matters
December 8, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

Phil Northcott

If you could build a townhouse, apartment building or shopping centre that spews fewer CO2 emissions while helping to address climate change, would you? …One Coquitlam engineer asked that question and he’s now developed an online tool that helps architects and builders choose greener materials when they build their multi-million dollar, multi-phased projects. Phil Northcott… has recently developed a free cloud-based calculator and database called EC3 that builders can use to evaluate materials for their CO2 emissions and choose those that reduce the impact of their construction activity. …The initiative comes as the province of B.C. ramps up energy requirements, with new building code amendments leading towards the construction of passive buildings, that are net-zero, and touting its wood first initiative and early adoption of Portland-limestone cement that is lower in C02 emissions.

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B.C. launches fund to support cleaner industry, reduce emissions

Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy
Government of British Columbia
December 5, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

A new CleanBC industry initiative will reduce emissions and support good jobs for people throughout British Columbia. …The CleanBC Industry Fund will invest carbon tax revenues of $12.5 million in 16 projects throughout the province. Additional contributions from industry will raise the total fund value to more than $55 million this year. Provincial funding will support a range of projects throughout  B.C., including new electro-coagulation technology at Harmac Pacific’s employee-owned pulp mill in Nanaimo. The project will improve the waste-treatment process and reduce the use of natural gas to power a bio-mass boiler on site. …This year’s initial slate of CleanBC Industry Fund projects is expected to reduce approximately 700,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) over the next decade – roughly the same as taking 250,000 cars off the road for a year. 

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Kingston climate change symposium fosters local action

By Elliot Ferguson
The Kingston Whig-Standard
January 16, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada East, Canada

KINGSTON, Ontario — Trees, whether growing in forests and urban green spaces or harvested and used in construction, offer an effective tool in the fight against climate change, said… Rob Keen, executive director of Forests Ontario. …It’s not just living trees, which sequester carbon as they grow, that can help with climate change, Keen said. Lumber sustainably harvested from forests can continue to hold carbon in place, and, if used in construction, can do so long beyond the expected lifespan of the tree from which the wood comes. …The Ontario building code was recently changed to permit the construction of wood-framed buildings up to six storeys high, and Keen said there are examples of buildings even taller — up to 18 storeys — that have been built.

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Canada Infrastructure Bank signs memorandum of understanding to advance wind energy project in Nova Scotia

By Ian Melin-Jones
Pulp-Paper World
December 18, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada East, Canada

Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB), Port Hawkesbury Paper and IFE Project Management Canada (IFE) have just announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) formalizing their collaboration on the potential Pirate Harbour Wind Farm in Nova Scotia. …With support from the Province of Nova Scotia, Port Hawkesbury Paper and IFE are evaluating the potential development of a 112 megawatt wind farm… The wind farm would supply green energy to Port Hawkesbury Paper, the largest industrial employer in the region, with the goal of further enhancing sustainable energy supply to Nova Scotian industry. …”This project would reduce the Mill’s reliance on fossil fuels for energy, focusing instead on wind farming as a source of renewable energy. CIB’s expertise in green infrastructure will be an asset to this project during the planning phase,” said Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities.

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Quebec Premier Francois Legault heads to Hollywood to talk carbon and business

By Jocelyne Richer
The Canadian Press in the Coast Reporter
December 8, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada East, Canada

Francois Legault

LOS ANGELES — …Quebec Premier Francois Legault is heading to Hollywood and Silicon Valley, where the future of his province’s troubled carbon market with California will figure high on his agenda. Legault… will meet with Gov. Gavin Newsom to discuss their partnership aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which is currently threatened by Donald Trump’s government. In October, the Trump administration announced it had sued to block California from working with Quebec on the joint cap-and-trade program between the two jurisdictions, charging that the southwestern state exceeded its authority. …At the time, Legault said he would prefer for California to remain in the agreement, but said the province was prepared to continue alone if need be. Moreover, he said other U.S. governors have shown interest in joining the program.

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Forests face climate change competition

The National Science Foundation
January 7, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

In a world with rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, experiments have shown that increased CO2 allows plants to photosynthesize more and use less water; however, warmer temperatures drive plants to use more water and photosynthesize less. Will CO2 fertilization or heat stress win this competition? A new NSF-supported study by researchers at the University of Utah… says it depends on whether forests and trees can acclimate to their new environment. The researchers developed a model of how trees’ physiological traits…influence photosynthesis and water loss in response to a changing environment, including drought. …Results of the model suggest that the winner of the competition doesn’t depend on the absolute amount of CO2 rise or warming, just the ratio between the two.

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JetBlue to use alternative fuel source on flights out of San Francisco

Reuters in the Ottawa Citizen
January 6, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

JetBlue Airways Corp on Monday said it would use an alternative fuel source for flights leaving from San Francisco and plans to curb carbon dioxide emissions from jet fuel for domestic flights as it aims to reduce its carbon footprint. The aviation industry has been trying to combat climate change by trying to cut its greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2050 compared with 2005 levels and sees the emergence of lower-carbon biofuels as a vital step towards meeting this goal. …JetBlue in its attempt to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will favor renewable sources and will start using sustainable aviation fuel in mid-2020 on flights from San Francisco International Airport. …Sustainable-fuel, derived from sustainable oil crops or from wood and waste biomass, would have the single largest impact in reducing emissions from each flight by around 80%.

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Burning wood is not a climate change solution

By Philip B. Duffy, Ph.D., Woods Hole Research Center
The Hill
December 14, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

For three years in a row, Congress has passed a budget rider falsely declaring forest biomass energy as “carbon neutral.” Now its supporters in the Senate are trying again — as if they can legislate the laws of nature.  Similarly, thanks to loopholes in arcane United Nations (UN) accounting rules, greenhouse gas emissions in the European Union (EU) from burning wood pellets imported from the U.S. aren’t counted against Paris commitments by either the US or the EU. That’s right tons of carbon are going into the atmosphere, but the UN climate process does not recognize this fact. …Stopping climate change will be difficult, but we’ll never do it if we allow ourselves to be deceived into investing in “solutions” which we know aren’t good enough. Our elected officials should reject any effort to treat burning forests for electricity the same as truly clean energy like solar and wind.

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Pass bold climate policy to protect Oregon’s natural resource heritage

By Jeff Barnard, Zena Forest Products
The Oregonian
December 22, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

…To keep our planet’s warming under control, we need strong and bold climate legislation at the local, state, federal and global levels along with widespread private action. My family and I operate Zena Forest Products… in the heart of the Willamette Valley. …We process hardwood logs from our forest in the Eola Hills outside Salem and surrounding areas into high quality flooring and lumber. …We lost more than 10% of our Douglas Fir trees in the last 10 years due to hotter, drier summers, and more sporadic rainfall. …We are working hard to innovate by planting new, climate-resilient tree species. …Regulating carbon and other greenhouse gases is the single best way to reduce such emissions. That is why my family and our business strongly supported the “clean energy jobs” bill during the last legislative session.

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Seneca lumber’s power grid contributions can power 13,000 homes

By Adam Duvernay
The Register Guard
December 9, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

EUGENE, OREGON — When a tree is felled and fed into Seneca Sawmill Company machines, lights in homes across Eugene turn on. A small portion of the Eugene Water and Electric Board portfolio comes from burning wood bits at the sprawling lumber campus northeast of the city. Seneca and EWEB both look at the cogeneration power plant at the sawmill as another opportunity to use clean power as the world tries to phase out fossil fuels. Seneca’s primary focus is turning trees into timber, putting out 650 million feet of board every year. …CEO Todd Payne said their no-twig-wasted policy can power 13,000 Eugene homes. …It’s been almost a decade since the Seneca biomass power plant came online, designed to burn those wood chips and power a steam engine. 

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Renewable wood energy has a critical role in fighting climate change

By John Keppler, CEO Enviva
The Charlotte Observer
January 7, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

John Keppler

I had the privilege of founding Enviva more than 15 years ago with the simple purpose of fighting climate change with effective solutions that could be implemented immediately. Today, Enviva is the world’s largest producer of wood pellets, a renewable alternative to coal, and wood-based bioenergy is part of an all-in renewables strategy to reduce carbon emissions and limit dependence on fossil fuels. …In the UK, a core Enviva market, coal now accounts for less than 2% of electricity generation, down from one-third 10 years ago, due in part to the wood pellets we provide. …Unfortunately, the News & Observer this week published a series on renewable wood energy and Enviva, seeking to tell a very different story of the role we play in fighting climate change. To be clear: we welcome rigorous journalism, but such reporting must be based on a balanced view of the facts and science, not anti-forestry activism.

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Failing a Basic Test of Integrity in Journalism

By Brian Rogers, Furture Forests + Jobs
Inside Science News Service
January 7, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

When a state is 61 percent covered by forests and forest products ranks as a top industry, you’d expect reporters covering the state’s forest products industry to do so fairly and solicit input from a broad range of stakeholders. Unfortunately, this was not the case in a recent, major series of reports from the Raleigh News & Observer that delved into the environmental credentials of renewable wood energy, a major component of the state’s forest products economy.  The reporting was done by two anti-forestry activists with a demonstrated bias and opposition to one of the most basic tenets of journalism: objectivity. It’s an insult to the hardworking men and women who make North Carolina an international player in the forest products industry, as well as journalism as a whole. 

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Announcing… COUNTDOWN, A Massive Global Collaboration to Tackle the Climate Crisis Powered by TED and Leaders from Policy, Business, Science, Story-telling and Civic Engagement

By TED Conferences
Cision Newswire
December 4, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

NEW YORK — Today TED and Future Stewards with Christiana Figueres announced Countdown: a global collaboration to turn the tide on climate change. The name Countdown refers to the necessary reduction to zero net greenhouse gas emissions … A summit of 1,000 leaders and influencers …will be held in Bergen, Norway from October 6-9, 2020. The following day – 10.10.2020 – will be celebrated as a major global gathering made up of thousands of connected local events in cities, neighborhoods, schools and workplaces around the globe—coordinated by the global TEDx community and other partners. Countdown content will be promoted by YouTube, and many YouTube creators will be invited to take part both in Bergen and at local events being held around the globe. …Content will focus on five big questions including POWER: How rapidly can we move to 100% clean energy? BUILT ENVIRONMENT: How can we re-engineer the stuff that surrounds us? We need regenerative economics and a materials revolution.

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Germany agrees timeline, compensation for coal phase-out

By Geir Moulson and Frank Jordans
The Associated Press in the Washington Post
January 15, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

BERLIN — Germany will pay utility companies billions of euros to speed up the shutdown of their coal-fired power plants as part of the country’s efforts to fight climate change. The agreement… removes a key hurdle in Germany’s plan to curb greenhouse gas emissions over the coming decades. …Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said that operators of heavily polluting coal-fired power plants in western Germany will receive 2.6 billion euros ($2.9 billion) in compensation for switching them off early. …Environment Minister Svenja Schulze acknowledged that Germany will need a “massive expansion of wind and solar energy” as the country is also in the process of exiting atomic power, with the last nuclear reactor set to go offline at the end of 2022.

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Climate change adds to frog woes

By Farah Hancock
The News Room NZ
January 17, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

…Last week, almost a thousand attendees from around the globe descended on Dunedin for the 9th World Congress of Herpetology. Held every four years, the event is like the Olympics for those who study reptiles and amphibians. The 600 plus presentations included debate on the fragile state of the world’s amphibians and reptiles.  Around 40 percent of amphibians are threatened with extinction. Reptile species are under similar pressure. University of Otago Zoology Professor Phil Bishop, the congress director, said a recurring thread in presentations was the threat of climate change. New Zealand used to have seven frog species. Three are now extinct and the remaining four are threatened with, or at risk of, extinction. “Climate change is one of those topics where people generally throw their arms up and say ‘there’s nothing we can do’ but we’ve had enough of not doing anything. We really need to be pushing the people who can do something about it.”

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Fire-hit timber towns should become carbon sinks

By Katie Burgess
The Canberra Times
January 16, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

AUSTRALIA — Timber towns ravaged by bushfires burning in south-eastern NSW and Victoria should become carbon sinks, instead of returning to logging operations, a Canberra academic has argued. The longer term future of forestry in the states is unclear, with millions of hectares burnt out this summer. In East Gippsland, it is feared up to 40 per cent of the state forest allocated to be harvested had been destroyed. …Prime Minister Scott Morrison will announce a support package for businesses impacted by fires on Thursday. But Professor David Lindenmayer from the Australian National University’s Fenner School of Environment and Society said these areas should use the fires as a trigger to transition away from logging.

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As we act on climate, we mustn’t neglect nature

By Charlie Gardner, Matthew Struebig & Zoe Davies
Mongabay.com
January 14, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

The discussion of the environment has been unbalanced. While all the talk is about carbon and climate, that is actually only half the story when it comes to our environmental crisis. The other catastrophe is of course the destruction of the natural world, the ecological crisis which threatens a million species with extinction over the coming decades. …This imbalance needs to be rectified, and we must start treating our twin crises equally, because we cannot address them in isolation. Natural ecosystems, such as forests, wetlands, and seagrass beds, store huge amounts of carbon, and protecting and restoring them is the cheapest and most effective action we can take to lessen the climate crisis. The trouble is, our efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change can seriously undermine these key natural ecosystems.

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Wildfires Could Transform Amazon from Carbon Sink to Source

By Chelsea Harvey, ClimateWire
Scientific American
January 14, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

…As temperatures rise and droughts intensify in the driest parts of the rainforest, wildfires are likely to burn more land and release more CO2. And if deforestation continues to rise, as well, the outcomes will be even worse. A new study, out Friday in the journal Science Advances, helps put the issue into perspective. As Amazon wildfires continue to worsen, it suggests, they threaten to convert the region from a carbon sink—a place that sucks carbon out of the air and stores it away—to a net source of carbon to the atmosphere. The study, led by researchers in the United States and Brazil, used a special model to examine different scenarios with various levels of future climate change and deforestation. …Unsurprisingly, a combination of severe climate change and increased deforestation produced the most dire results.

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Watchdog head urges palm oil industry to look beyond forests in climate fight

By Michael Taylor
Reuters
January 14, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

KUALA LUMPUR — The next big challenge for palm oil growers is to go beyond curbing deforestation and look at how they can slash planet-warming emissions throughout their supply chains, the outgoing head of the industry’s watchdog said on Tuesday. The sector has come under scrutiny in recent years from green activists and consumers who have blamed it for forest loss and fires to clear land, as well as exploitation of workers. But Darrel Webber, of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, said producers should not only focus on protecting forests and boosting yields, but examine their entire businesses to stop them worsening climate change. …While deforestation has decreased in Indonesia and Malaysia, a major question is whether small growers will follow larger companies in trying to clamp down on it.

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2020 global pellet markets outlook

By William Strauss, President of Future Markets
Canadian Biomass Magazine
January 2, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Global wood pellet markets have had significant growth in the past decade. Between 2012 and 2018, the global wood pellet market has experienced growth rates averaging 11.6 per cent annually, from about 19.5 million metric tonnes in 2012 to about 35.4 million metric tonnes in 2018. From 2017 to 2018 alone, wood pellet production in increased by 13.3 per cent. …North America currently dominates the global supply of industrial wood pellets. …The price of pellets will be heavily influenced by long-term contracts for wood pellets. In fact, the volatility of the spot market increases because majority of the market is under long-term contract.

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Oireachtas committee: Farmers should champion the planting of forests to tackle climate change

By David Kearns, University College Dublin
Phys.org
December 20, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

The promotion of forestry to tackle climate change needs to be championed by farmers if rural Ireland is to embrace afforestation, an Oireachtas committee has heard. Promoting success stories of farmers that have used their land to plant trees is key to encouraging others to get involved Associate Professor Áine Ní Dhúbhain told the Committee on Climate Action. Addressing the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s forestry program, one aim of which is to increase forest cover to capture carbon, Professor Ní Dhúbhain, from the UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science, said the significant number of landowners required for it could be recruited by having those who had already undertake afforestation promote its benefits. …According to Professor Ní Dhúbhain significant numbers of part-time farmers are employed in the forestry sector, which between it and the wood product sector, employs almost 12,000 people throughout Ireland.

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COP25: EU officials say biomass burning policy to come under critical review

By Justin Catanoso
Mongabay.com
December 16, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

MADRID, Spain – Two high-level members of the European Union delegation announced that the carbon neutrality designation given to biomass energy — replacing coal with wood pellets — will come under critical review by the EU as a result of current science showing that biomass burning produces significant amounts of carbon emissions. The unexpected announcement came during a press conference Thursday, December 12, at the 25th United Nations climate summit (COP25). “The issue of biofuels needs to be looked at very carefully,” said Frans Timmermans, executive vice president of the EU and a Dutch politician, in response to a question from Mongabay. “We have to make sure that what we do with biofuels is sustainable and does not do more harm than that it does good.”

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22 million trees planted in climate change battle

By Veronica Dolan
Associated Press in WTAJ – www.wearecentralpa.com
December 13, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Bruce Spalding, who grew up in the highlands of Scotland, has been a forester all his life. He says professionals like him can plant up to 2,000 trees a day. …Scotland exceeded its planting target of 10-thousand hectares for the first time this year (2019). One hectare is about the size of a rugby or American football field. The Scottish Government’s Minister for Rural Affairs and Natural Environment Mairi Gougeon says they plan to increase this target in the coming years. …According to Scotland’s Forestry Strategy, 100 years ago only 5 percent of Scotland’s land was covered in trees. The country’s trees were removed to make way for agriculture and infrastructure. The Forestry Act of 1919 was introduced to tackle the problem and by 2019 19 percent of the country is now covered in woodlands. The government aims to increase this to 21 percent of tree coverage by 2032. …The Scottish Government intends to be planting 15-thousand hectares a year by 2024/2025.

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Converting coal plants to biomass could fuel climate crisis, scientists warn

By Jillian Ambrose
The Guardian
December 16, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Plans to shift Europe’s coal plants, including the giant Drax complex in North Yorkshire, to burn wood pellets instead could accelerate rather than combat climate crisis and lay waste to forests equal to half the size of Germany’s Black Forest per year, according to campaigners. Climate thinktank Sandbag said the heavily subsidised plans to cut carbon emissions will result in a “staggering” amount of tree cutting, potentially destroying forests faster than they can regrow. Sandbag found that Europe’s 10 largest biomass conversion projects will alone require 36m tonnes of wood pellets every year, equal to the entire current global wood pellet production. …The majority of wood pellets … are imported from the US and Canada, “meaning that there’s a huge added environmental cost in transporting the wood from the other side of the Atlantic,” said the report’s author, Charles Moore.

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To Combat Climate Change, See the Forest for the Trees

By Isabella Kaminski
Scientific American
December 13, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

…From a climate perspective, forests are vital because they’re filled with vegetation, fungi, and microorganisms that draw carbon dioxide from the air and store it. Although just how much CO2 they can absorb may have been overestimated, there’s no doubt that ample, healthy forests can provide a relatively low-tech way to help offset greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change. …The private sector has also gotten in on the act, often to make up for other environmentally destructive activities. In April, oil giant Shell pledged $300 million to offset the carbon emissions of its customers though forest restoration projects in countries such as the Netherlands and Spain. The problem: Some experts are concerned that these initiatives rely on such an anemic definition of what constitutes a forest that they will ultimately generate far fewer benefits than advocates imagine.

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Colombia’s Amazon forest gets boost with $366 million protection fund

By Anastasia Moloney
Reuters
December 11, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

BOGOTA – Norway, Germany and Britain said on Thursday they would spend up to $366 million over the next five years to help Colombia reduce deforestation in its vast Amazon rainforest. The three nations have backed Colombia’s efforts since to preserve forest areas covering almost 60 million hectares since 2015, with about $180 million invested so far. “The renewal of the declaration is a recognition of Colombia’s ability to reverse the deforestation trend, having achieved a 10% reduction in deforestation in 2018 compared to 2017,” the countries said in a joint statement. The announcement was made at the United Nations climate talks held in Madrid, where ministers from around the world are cloistered in the final days of two weeks of talks to shore up the 2015 Paris Agreement to avert catastrophic global warming.

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Decarbonisation potential of biomass “still overlooked” in UK, says campaign group

Bioenergy Insight Magazine
December 6, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

The decarbonisation potential of biomass is “still overlooked” in the UK, according to the Biomass Heat Works! campaign. The statement follows the announcement that the Rural Services Partnership – an organisation which champions rural causes – will work alongside the campaign to further the nation’s decarbonisation agenda. …According to the Biomass Heat Works! campaign, recent evidence suggests the UK could almost triple its use of bioenergy as a heat source and achieve net-zero targets by 2050, with biomass being a major contributor.  …“Unlike other European countries, the contribution towards a zero-carbon future made by biomass is still very much being overlooked here in the UK despite it being the most proven and commercially-ready solution available for heat decarbonisation, especially in rural areas.

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Spain launches app to fight trafficking of protected timber

The Associated Press in the Longview Daily News
December 5, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

MADRID — Spain’s Ministry for Ecological Transition has launched a mobile app to fight the trafficking of tropical species of timber, one of the world’s greatest environmental crimes. The kit includes a guide of protected timber species, tools to obtain wood samples and an app that, together with magnifying lenses for mobile phones, can help custom officials identify the species on the spot. The launch happened at the U.N.-sponsored COP25 summit on climate change on Thursday, the day dedicated to the role of forests in absorbing the carbon dioxide largely responsible for rising temperatures. Spain is a “hotspot” in the timber smuggling, the ministry said, adding that traffickers conceal illegal wood in legal shipments.

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UK plans reforestation campaign to meet climate target

Aljazeera.com
January 9, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

The United Kingdom is set to get swaths of new forests in a campaign to plant 20 million trees over the coming 10 years. The National Trust is planning the new woodland scheme as part of efforts to achieve “net zero” carbon emissions by 2030 to fight climate change. “It’s our 125th year and the National Trust has always been here for the benefit of everyone,” said director-general Hilary McGrady. …The project will cost around 90-100 million pounds ($117m-$130m). By the end of the decade, the new trees and regeneration of woods will add forest coverage of more than 18,000 hectares, nearly 70 square miles – an area equivalent to 42 Sherwood Forests, famed for its legendary resident, Robin Hood.

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