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Category Archives: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Canada is a giant carbon sink. Why are we not getting credit for it?

By Diane Francis
The National Post
March 5, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada

The United Nations Paris Agreement and its predecessors are a complete failure and they discriminate against Canada, which is why Canadians should demand changes immediately, or withdraw. There are two main reasons why. First of all, the agreements exempt the world’s biggest polluters. They do not require all the countries that signed on to reduce emissions. …Secondly, the agreements measure countries based on emissions, but ignore the other side of the environmental balance sheet, which is carbon absorption and offsets. Canada only emits 1.6 per cent of global carbon emissions now, but probably would not have any net emissions if its gigantic “carbon sink” — its inventory of forests, muskeg, water and soil assets that absorb carbon — were taken into consideration. …Take the trees, for instance. There is a global campaign underway to help save the planet by re-growing one trillion trees. Canada already has one-third of a trillion trees. 

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Seasonal ban on wood-burning fireplaces in Metro Vancouver begins 2021, violators face $10,000 daily fine

By Carlito Pablo
The Georgia Straight
March 17, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

Nowadays, most fireplaces are powered by gas, but there are some that use wood. Wood-burning fireplaces and similar appliances like stoves affect air quality, which is a major concern in the Lower Mainland. Because of this, the Metro Vancouver regional government is moving forward with regulations to control wood burning inside homes. Starting in 2021, it will be illegal to use wood-burning fireplaces and stoves between May 15 and September 15. Violators could be fined $10,000 for each day in contravention. The prohibition is the first phase of a three-stage implementation of rules that will eventually phase out appliances that do not meet emission standards, with a few exceptions. …To be certified as clean, a fireplace or stove has to have a particulate-matter emission rate that does not exceed 4.5 grams per hour. …Compliance with best burning practices includes using only “clean, seasoned wood or wood products, manufactured firelogs, or wood pellets”.

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Renewable natural gas plant eyed for Williams Lake

By Rebecca Dyok
My Cariboo Now
March 10, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

The City of Williams Lake is currently engaging with a B.C. based developer to develop North America’s first commercial-scale wood gasification to renewable natural gas plant. The news was announced by Mayor Walt Cobb at Tuesday’s regular council meeting. “We are always looking for ways to make sure that our industrial sites are going to be operational into the long-term, and so this developer came along and it sounded like something that would be a good transition plan specifically for Atlantic Power,” Economic Development Officer, Beth Veenkamp told MyCaribooNow. “So we pursued a relationship with them to get all the players to the table.” Staff according to the City have been successful in working with … the Ministry of Forests to provide fiber availability options that would be required to provide fuel supply for the renewable natural gas plant.

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McBride may get boost in search for wood waste

By Fran Yanor
Rocky Mountain Goat
March 10, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

Gene Runtz

McBride’s pursuit of a black pellet biofuels plant may get a boost from the B.C. government. Boreal Bioenergy has proposed to build a plant in McBride, said McBride mayor Gene Runtz. But the opportunity is partly contingent on getting access to enough local deciduous and wood fibre sources to feed the process. It could be good timing for McBride as the Province recently announced a $13 million investment to develop bioeconomy in the forestry sector. A portion of that funding is earmarked to increase inventory efforts of wood fibre around the province. …To meet the continuing needs of the torrefied pellet operation, McBride will have to find more fibre than is available locally. “Their intent is to use this real poor quality wood that post and rail plants can’t even use,” said Runtz. The community is looking further afield for possible fibre sources.

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Innogy inks 27-MW Power Purchase Agreement with West Fraser Timber

Renewables Now
March 10, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

Germany’s Innogy SE will be supplying power from a 27-MWp solar park in Southern Alberta, Canada, to local wood producer West Fraser Timber Co Ltd. The electricity from the Vauxhall photovoltaic plant will be delivered under a 10-year power purchase agreement, running from May 2020, Innogy said on Monday. The plant itself, also known as Prairie Sunlight III, is currently in the commissioning phase and once fully operational will supply more than 45,000 MWh of electricity and environmental attributes to West Fraser. The contract will enable the wood producer to cover the power demand of its sawmills in Alberta and thus meet its environmental targets. The company is already sourcing 75% of its power from renewables.

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Government of Canada supports climate action by the Government of Yukon

By Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Canada
Cision Newswire
March 4, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

Jonathan Wilkinson

WHITEHORSE — The Minister of Environment and Climate Change, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, announced up to $2.3 million to support a climate action initiative by the Government of Yukon. …This investment will go toward connecting an existing biomass heating system currently used at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre’s to two additional public buildings: the Young Offenders Facility and Takhini Haven. This clean heating system will reduce emissions by 82 percent. That’s equivalent to removing approximately 3,460 cars from the road for one year. This project will be the largest biomass project in Whitehorse and one of the largest in Yukon. The funding comes from the Government of Canada’s Low Carbon Economy Fund, an important part of Canada’sclimate plan.

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Canadian Bioeconomy Conference brings expertise from around the globe

By Cam McAlpine
The Canadian Bioeconomy Conference and Exhibition
March 5, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

Canada’s largest and longest-running conference on the bioeconomy is bringing leading sustainability experts from around the world to Prince George in June of this year. Featured keynote speakers this year include Dr. Warren Mabee and Per Grankvist. Mabee is a well-known expert on global energy policy and economics in general, and renewable energy in the bioeconomy specifically. He is Associate Dean and Director of the School of Policy Studies at Queen’s University, and he holds a Canada Research Chair in Renewable Energy Development and Implementation. His international research program focuses on the interface between policy and technology in the area of renewable energy and fuels. In a bit of a twist on convention, the conference is bringing in Grankvist, Chief Storyteller with Sweden’s Viable Cities Program.

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Simon Fraser University counters climate change with new “living” sustainability plan

Simon Fraser University News
March 4, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

VANCOUVER, BC — Simon Fraser University has committed to a five-year sustainability plan that will mobilize the entire institution to address the climate crisis. The sustainability plan includes 16 targets to reduce the university’s carbon footprint, including a shift to renewable energy sources, more aggressive energy conservation measures, and support for electrification of commuting and fleet vehicles. …The Corix Biomass Plant on Burnaby Mountain, which is slated to start providing heat this fall, will cut the university’s Burnaby campus greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent. The plant will turn clean local wood waste, such as wood chips, shavings and construction wood waste, into low-carbon thermal energy. The plant will support Metro Vancouver’s clean wood recycling policy by re-using wood waste banned from Metro Vancouver landfills. 

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Indigenous Guardians learn how to map permafrost changes in new workshop

By Anna Desmarais
CBC News
March 4, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

Edward Cholo… points out rows of so-called drunken trees, tilting over because of the thawing permafrost underneath them. …Cholo is an Indigenous Guardian, part of a federally funded environmental stewardship program that monitors the health of the land and species on their traditional territory. …The Dehcho Collaborative on Permafrost, a partnership between the Scotty Creek Research Station (run by Wilfrid Laurier University in Ontario) and the Dehcho First Nations… working together to study the effects of permafrost reduction in the Dehcho region. …”As permafrost is thawing, we see these forests sort of collapse and become totally covered by water,” Carpino told CBC. “We’re seeing a transition from habitat, which was maybe originally a lot drier and contained a lot more forest species compared to those that are … more muskeg or bog-dominated.” 

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Approaches to forestry can help fight climate change

By Monica Lamb-Yorski
The Williams Lake Tribune
March 1, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

Some of the world’s climate change heroes are hard working men and women wearing hard hats and high-vis vests, said Forest Enhancement Society of B.C.’s executive director… Steve Kozuki. “Under international carbon accounting protocols… there are three ways where we can help with the fight against climate change and we are doing all of them”. Kozuki said the first way is to plant trees in areas that otherwise would not be reforested. …The second way of aiding the fight against climate change is to fertilize trees so they grow faster, Kozuki said. A third way forestry can fight climate change is to reduce emissions. When trees are harvested, instead of burning the waste and slash left behind and creating carbon emissions and particulate matter, the material can create energy or pellets, Kozuki said.

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New Brunswick forests could have a whole new look by the end of the century

CBC News
March 5, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada East, Canada

New Brunswick forests could see fewer balsam firs, the province’s most common tree, as temperatures warm, say researchers. Anthony Taylor, a scientist with the Canadian Forest Service in Fredericton, published a paper in January examining the factors that control forest regeneration following commercial harvesting in the Acadian forest. Warming in the next few decades could reduce balsam fir regeneration and promote the regeneration of hardwood species such as birch and maple, Taylor’s research found. …This study is the first field-based study, as opposed to solely computer-based study, that shows climate change could lead to a decrease in the Maritime populations of softwood trees such as balsam firs. …The warming temperatures mean cold-adaptive species like the balsam fir will be out-competed by some of the warmer adaptive species, Taylor said. 

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New guide on bioheat from forest feedstocks for clean and affordable energy

FPInnovations
February 29, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada East, Canada

…Canadians spend millions of dollars each year to pay for necessary heat. With increasing heating costs and climate change becoming top of mind, communities are taking a more serious look at energy alternatives. One of the top choices for energy alternatives is bioheat. To support a movement towards using bioheat, A Solid Wood Bioheat Guide for Rural and Remote Communities in Ontario, has been created to provide key information for using bioheat sourced from wood. …There are many advantages to heating with woody biomass including environmental to socio-economic benefits. The reliability, efficiency and versatility of modern bioheat systems allows for supplementation or even replacement of current fossil fuel or electric heating systems. These systems can use local, sustainably sourced, economical, and renewable solid woody biofuels. …a comprehensive bioheat guide promoting bioheat was authored by Glen Prevost, Forest Bioeconomy and Wood Manufacturing Industry Advisor at FPInnovations

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Forests: Carbon sequestration, biomass energy, or both?

By Alice Favero, Adam Daigneault and Brent Shongen
Science Advances
March 25, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, International

There is a continuing debate over the role that woody bioenergy plays in climate mitigation. This paper clarifies this controversy and illustrates the impacts of woody biomass demand on forest harvests, prices, timber management investments and intensity, forest area, and the resulting carbon balance under different climate mitigation policies. Increased bioenergy demand increases forest carbon stocks thanks to afforestation activities and more intensive management relative to a no-bioenergy case. Some natural forests, however, are converted to more intensive management, with potential biodiversity losses. Incentivizing both wood-based bioenergy and forest sequestration could increase carbon sequestration and conserve natural forests simultaneously. We conclude that the expanded use of wood for bioenergy will result in net carbon benefits, but an efficient policy also needs to regulate forest carbon sequestration.

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The Continual Pursuit of Fiber Consistency

By Ron Kotrba
Biomass Magazine
March 17, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

A wood pellet is not just a pellet made of wood—it is an engineered biofuel. “You can densify into pellet form darn near anything that’s organic, as long as you have a certain particle size and moisture content, and, most importantly, that the concoction stays consistent,” says Jason Kessler, owner and president of KESCO. The philosophy of pellets being engineered biofuel was one Kessler learned early on in business by Chuck Limbach with Hamer Pellet Fuel Co. …You can’t think of it as just wood pellets, they’re engineered biomass pellets. You may have wood, bagasse, paper sludge—you name it. As long as you get the material dry and meter it into the process at a controlled rate, and keep it consistent, you can design a pellet process. 

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There’s a new label to vet brands’ climate change pledges

By Justine Calma
The Verge
March 5, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

A nonprofit organization is trying to give consumers an easy way to make sense of the flood of environmental pledges that companies are suddenly making, with a new product label. Kickstarter and Klean Kanteen are two of the 135 brands that have been “Climate Neutral Certified” by the nonprofit, Climate Neutral. To be carbon neutral, a company needs to essentially cancel out all its heat-trapping pollution. It might do this by investing in tree-planting efforts or emerging technologies that capture carbon dioxide. Purchasing those carbon offsets or credits, however, is no replacement for actually cutting down greenhouse gas emissions. And as bigger and bigger polluters, including Delta and BP, make their own pledges to become carbon neutral, there’s growing uncertainty over what it will take for a company to actually achieve those aims. Who will hold them accountable? Interview with CEO Austin Whitman…

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Wyden introduces energy bill amendment that benefits biomass

By Erin Voegele
Biomass Magazine
March 4, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

Ron Wyden

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., filed an amendment to the American Energy Innovation Act on March 3 that includes an expansion of the residential energy tax credit to include efficient biomass thermal boilers and furnaces. …The amendment offered by Wyden addresses expiring energy tax policies by expanding incentives for clean transportation, electricity and energy efficiency. One section of the amendment would enact a tax credit for energy efficient biomass thermal property. A summary of the amendment explains taxpayers can currently claim tax credits for up to 30 percent of the costs for certain energy efficient property that they purchase and install in their homes. …The Pellet Fuels Institute Alliance and For Green Heat have both spoken out to applaud the Wyden amendment and its inclusion of biomass thermal energy provisions.

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Researchers investigate how forests are changing in response to global warming

By Harrison Tasoff, University of California – Santa Barbara
Phys.org
March 31, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

As the climate is changing, so too are the world’s forests. …Using the U.S. Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis database, researchers at UC Santa Barbara… have studied how the traits of tree communities are shifting across the contiguous United States. The results indicate that communities, particularly in more arid regions, are becoming more drought tolerant, primarily through the death of less hardy trees. …There are two ways a community can become more drought tolerant: Less hardy trees can die or more resilient trees can grow faster. Both result in a community that is hardier overall. …Overall, the results indicate that forests are shifting to communities that can cope with greater average water stress as well as more variability in water stress. This should buffer forests against some of the effects of climate change, at least in the short term.

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Halt in Nation’s Largest Forest Could Help Climate Change Fight

By Eric Tegethoff
Public News Service
March 19, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

SEATTLE — A federal judge has blocked a logging project in the nation’s largest forest and conservation groups say that’s a big win in the battle against climate change. The judge put a temporary injunction in place against a project that would have opened logging on 1.8 million acres in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest. U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington is one of the forest’s staunchest supporters. Patrick Lavin, Alaska policy adviser for Defenders of Wildlife, says logging this old-growth forest would do great damage to the country’s climate-action efforts. “It’s an important carbon sink, and approaches like this that remove that sink are going to make it all the worse for climate change,” he points out. “So it’s a disturbing proposal from a climate perspective.” The U.S. Forest Service originally approved the logging plan for the next 15 years, but only gave “vague” details on where logging would take place, according to the court.

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Wilderness offers no protection for forests or climate

By Javier Goirigolzarri, executive director, Communities for Healthy Forests
Capital Press
March 16, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

Javier Goirigolzarri

Recent opinions have attempted to discredit active forest management as part of a political campaign to prohibit fuel reduction projects on 500,000 acres of national forests. Yet there is a broad political consensus, not to mention a wide body of science, supporting the use of thinning and prescribed burning to mitigate the many risks to our forests.  For the past 30 years, we have tried the preservationist, or “hands off” approach to public lands management. Among the 191 million acres of National Forest System land, only 35% of the land base is unreserved and available for active management. About half of 1% of those acres are treated in any one year. …Anti-logging activists commonly trot out a single study suggesting wildfires are more severe on private forest lands. Yet the Governor’s Council found that for each of the past three decades, 92 to 93% of all burned acres occurred primarily on federal lands.

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Legislature promotes timber industry’s carbon reduction

By Cameron Sheppard
The Peninsula Daily News
March 11, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

OLYMPIA, Washington— State lawmakers have passed legislation that will align the timber and forestry sector with the state’s carbon emission goals. The Senate voted 46-3 in favor of passing House Bill 2528, which would recognize the amount of carbon that trees absorb from the atmosphere and allow that amount to be accounted for after the potential implementation of a carbon emission tax. The House passed the measure in January in a 95-0 vote. Cindy Mitchell, senior director of public affairs for Washington Forest Protection Association, said this law will help recognize the role forests, both public and private, play in reducing atmospheric carbon. …The bill… would recognize the sector as one that reduces atmospheric carbon. And it directs the state Department of Commerce to promote timber and forestry products.

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Legislature promotes timber industry as carbon-negative | 2020 Legislative Session

By Cameron Sheppard
Bainbridge Island Review
March 10, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

OLYMPIA – Washington state lawmakers have passed legislation that will align the timber and forestry sector with the state’s carbon emission goals. The Senate voted 46-3 on March 5 in favor of passing House Bill 2528, which would recognize the amount of carbon that trees absorb from the atmosphere and allow that amount to be accounted for after the potential implementation of a carbon emission tax. The House passed the measure in January in a 95-0 vote. Cindy Mitchell, Washington Forest Protection Association, said this law will help recognize the role forests play in reducing atmospheric carbon. … The bill not only gives the timber and forestry industry a competitive edge against other carbon-emitting industries after implementation of a carbon fee, it would recognize the sector as one that reduces atmospheric carbon. And it directs the state Department of Commerce to promote timber and forestry products.

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Legislature promotes timber industry as carbon-negative

By Cameron Sheppard
The Northern Light
March 9, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

Washington state lawmakers have passed legislation that will align the timber and forestry sector with the state’s carbon emission goals.  The Senate voted 46-3 on March 5 in favor of passing House Bill 2528, which would recognize the amount of carbon that trees absorb from the atmosphere and allow that amount to be accounted for after the potential implementation of a carbon emission tax. The House passed the measure in January in a 95-0 vote.  Cindy Mitchell, senior director of public affairs for Washington Forest Protection Association, said this law will help recognize the role forests, both public and private, play in reducing atmospheric carbon. Mitchell said the state’s 8 million privately owned acres of working forests account for a 12% annual reduction of the state’s carbon emissions.

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Arizona University to slash 45,000 tonnes of CO2 by planting ‘entire forest’

By Dimitris Mavrokefalidis
Energy Live News
March 5, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

Arizona State University (ASU) has announced plans to reduce its carbon footprint by planting a forest of 1,000 trees in the area. This forms a part of the university’s green project to mitigate its carbon emissions at the rate of around 45,000 metric tonnes each year. The trees, which are currently being grown by Northern Arizona University (NAU) at their research greenhouse, will likely be planted in November. It said each tree will cost around $44 and will be funded through a $10 fee for all ASU-sponsored round-trip flights. Over the upcoming years, the university’s laboratory will monitor the amounts of carbon stored in the soil to determine how much of a “carbon sink” the land is and how effective the trees are at minimising the release of carbon by the university.

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Enviva and The Longleaf Alliance Announce Partnership

By The Longleaf Alliance and Enviva Holdings, LP
Businesswire
March 27, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

BETHESDA, Md.–Today, Enviva and The Longleaf Alliance announced the signing of a five-year partnership to protect and restore longleaf pine forests, one of the most biodiverse ecosystems in North America. Enviva and The Longleaf Alliance will collaboratively implement Enviva’s longleaf forest restoration plan. Longleaf pine forests are a critical forest ecosystem in the southeastern U.S. They are considered high conservation value forests because of their rarity and biodiversity value. Longleaf forests support some of the highest levels of small-scale species diversity of any forest ecosystem in North America. Well-managed longleaf pine forests provide critical habitat for 29 threatened and endangered species, including the red-cockaded woodpecker, the gopher tortoise, and the Eastern indigo snake.

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Model: What increased woody biomass use looks like for the global forest ecosystem

By Adam Daigneault, University of Maine
Phys.org
March 27, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

Incentivizing both sequestration and avoidance of emissions— using a carbon rental or carbon tax and subsidy approach—versus only a carbon tax encourages protection of natural forests by valuing the standing stock, according to a new study led by Georgia Institute of Technology. In their study, the research team—Alice Favero, associate director of Graduate Studies at Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Public Policy; Adam Daigneault, University of Maine E.L. Giddings Assistant Professor of Forest, Conservation and Recreation Policy; and Brent Sohngen, professor of environmental economics at Ohio State University—addressed the impacts of woody biomass demand on forest harvests, prices and related timber management issues. Their findings on the consequences of bioenergy policies on forests and carbon emissions are published in the journal Science Advances.

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Enviva Holdings’s off-take contract with Sumitomo Forestry becomes firm

Lesprom Network
March 27, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Enviva Partners announced that its sponsor’s previously disclosed 18-year, take-or-pay off-take contract to supply Sumitomo Forestry Co., Ltd., a major Japanese trading house, is now firm, as all conditions precedent have been satisfied. Sales under the contract are expected to commence in 2023 with annual deliveries of 150,000 metric tons per year of wood pellets. Enviva Partners, LP expects to have the opportunity to acquire this off-take contract, along with associated wood pellet production capacity, as part of a drop-down transaction from its sponsor. …John Keppler, Chairman and CEO of Enviva said, “our off-take contract with Sumitomo Forestry, which runs from 2023 to 2041, has become firm as our customer was able to complete its project financing and lift all conditions precedent to the effectiveness of the contract even amid current volatility and uncertainty in global markets. “

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Sawmill downturn disrupts winter biomass talks

By Jamie Aldridge
Argus Media
March 27, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Expectations of a downturn in sawmill activity — a likely result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic — has prompted concerns over wood pellet raw material supply and stalled discussions for winter 2020-21 deliveries. A decline in timber demand, as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, could prompt a decline in sawmill activity in the Baltics, North America and central Europe. Sawmill residues are a key wood pellet raw material, and a spate of closures would likely increase wood pellet production costs. …”The raw materials situation in the Baltics is deteriorating,” Swedish utility Vattenfall trader Rob Marcus said. European economies are slowing down forcefully, and the demand for lumber and wooden products is falling, meaning that a shortage of forestry and processing by-products is looming, he said. …Biomass market participants also voiced concerns about the sawmill markets in the US and Canada. Canadian wood pellet producers are particularly reliant on sawmill residues for their feedstock. 

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Future Forests + Jobs launches directory on wood bioenergy research

By Erin Voegele
Biomass Magazine
March 25, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Future Forests + Jobs announced on March 25 the launch of the FFJ Research Directory, a repository of academic research, papers and studies that document the positive contributions wood bioenergy is making to the energy sector. The collection will provide industry leaders, policymakers, researchers and others with a comprehensive review of research literature on wood bioenergy. The directory currently includes more than 30 academic studies and reports from leading scientists and research universities around the world. This includes researchers from North Carolina State University, the University of Illinois, the University of Georgia, Clemson University, Wageningen University, Stockholm Environmental Institute, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, and University Utrecht, as well as governmental bodies such as the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Department of Energy, U.K. Committee on Climate Change, the United National IPC, and the European Commission. Future Forests + Jobs plans to update the research directory as new studies are released.

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Setra begins construction of pyrolysis oil plant at its Kastet sawmill in Sweden

Lesprom Network
March 24, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

The first ground was broken for Pyrocell’s plant at Setra’s Kastet sawmill in Gävle, Sweden. Pyrocell will be manufacturing non-fossil pyrolysis oil as a raw material for producing renewable fuel. Wood industry company Setra and fuel company Preem are working together to produce fossil-free pyrolysis oil from sawdust through the jointly-owned company Pyrocell. Pyrocell’s plant will transform sawdust, a waste product in Setra’s industrial process, into pyrolysis oil. The pyrolysis oil will be processed further to make renewable diesel and petrol at Preem’s refinery in Lysekil. “This investment is part of Setra’s strategy to increase the value and the climate benefit of our products. Pyrocell is an important link in the value chain for renewable fuel. This commercial processing of sawdust will help us contribute to the goal of fossil-free transport in Sweden by 2030,” says Katarina Levin, CEO of Setra.

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Burning Wood Can Be a Clean Source of Power After All

By Jess Shankleman
Bloomberg
March 25, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Burning large amounts of wood from forests can cut greenhouse gas pollution—but only alongside policies that encourage new trees to quickly absorb carbon dioxide. That’s the conclusion of new research published in Science Advances, which seeks to counter the prevailing view that biomass can worsen climate change. Energy companies in the U.S. and Europe—including Drax Group Plc, once the U.K.’s biggest coal power plant—are turning to biomass fuels harvested from forests or farms as a way to wean themselves off coal. While wood is the largest biomass source, it can also come from other organic matter such as crop waste or even garbage. That material is then burned to run steam turbines that produce electricity (and heat as a by-product) that can be piped to homes. It can also be turned into biofuels for transportation.

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Fewer oaks, more conifers: Britain’s forests must change to meet climate targets

By Jamie Doward
The Guardian
March 22, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Last century the Forestry Commission sparked anger with a mass planting of conifer trees designed to provide a national reserve of timber because the shortages of the first world war had highlighted a national need.  Now a leading expert is calling for similar action again, arguing that if the UK is serious about offsetting its carbon dioxide emissions it must plant tens of millions of trees from imported species on open land. John Healey, professor of forest sciences at Bangor University, says that relying on indigenous species such as oak and beech will make it impossible for the government to hit its climate goals. Britain will have no choice, he says, but to engage with the commercial sector in large-scale planting of imported conifers, despite fears of the impact on habitats and wildlife.

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Drax’s largest biomass shipment arrives at the UK’s biggest biomass handling facility

By Drax Group
MarketScreener
March 20, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

The Zheng Zhi bulk carrier vessel transported 63,907 tonnes of Drax’s sustainable biomass from the US port of Baton Rouge in Louisiana. The consignment supplies Drax Power Station with enough fuel to generate electricity for 1.3 million homes. …Simon Bird, Director of ABP Humber International Terminal, said: ‘Our colleagues here on the Humber are working hard to keep our homes powered, our stores stocked and keeping Britain trading. A huge thank you is deserved for all those working through this time. …Andy Koss Drax CEO Generation said: We are doing everything we can to ensure that we maintain a continuous, stable and reliable electricity supply for millions of homes and businesses in the UK. This shipment of sustainable biomass from our pellet mills in the US – the largest yet – highlights the critical role played by infrastructure such as the ports and rail in our supply chain.’

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Sydney-based New Forests commits to new carbon-neutral action plan

By Florence Chong
IPE Real Assets
March 13, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

New Forests has committed to become a carbon-neutral business under a new climate action plan. The A$5.9bn Sydney-based forestry manager – which owns nearly 1m hectares of forestry and conservation investments across the Asia-Pacific region and the US – also published its first climate disclosure report, documenting its efforts to align with Task Force for Climate-related Financial Disclosures’ (TCFD) recommendations. “New Forests’ vision is for forestry to become a leading sector in the transition to a sustainable future,” the report said, noting “deep connections” between the forestry sector and climate change. It said sustainable forestry and natural climate solutions were both essential to any climate mitigation pathway that could achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement.

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Climate change: Will planting millions of trees really save the planet?

By David Shukman, Science Editor
BBC News
March 14, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

From Greta Thunberg to Donald Trump and airlines to oil companies, everyone is suddenly going crazy for trees. The UK government has pledged to plant millions a year while other countries have schemes running into billions. But are these grand ambitions achievable? How much carbon dioxide do trees really pull in from the atmosphere? And what happens to a forest, planted amid a fanfare, over the following decades? …Can you plant that many? Yes, with the right people. I watched a team of people in their 20s …they could plant between 2,000 and 4,000 trees a day. …it’s not enough just to plant them and walk away. …the key is a plan for careful management, according to Stuart Goodall, who runs Confor, a forest industries association. He’s worried that investors are excited by the planting but not by the long years that follow.

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Surrey MPs support ambitious tree planting initiative to combat climate change

Surrey County Council
March 13, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Last week, MPs from across Surrey took time out to mark Surrey Tree Week by planting trees in their local constituencies. This was organised in support of Surrey County Council’s commitment to facilitate planting 1.2 million trees in Surrey within the county by 2030. Planting trees is an effective way to improve air quality, reduce noise and reduce flooding. Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and each tree will have absorbed approximately one tonne of CO2 by the time it is 40 years old. By the end of March, almost 50,000 trees will have been planted in Surrey.

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Trees on commercial UK plantations ‘not helping climate crisis’

By Patrick Barkham
The Guardian
March 10, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Commercial tree plantations in Britain do not store carbon to help the climate crisis because more than half of the harvested timber is used for less than 15 years and a quarter is burned, according to a new report.  While fast-growing non-native conifers can sequester carbon more quickly than slow-growing broadleaved trees, that carbon is released again if the trees are harvested and the wood is burned or used in products with short lifespans, such as packaging, pallets and fencing.  Of the UK’s 2018 timber harvest, 23% was used for wood fuel, while 56% was taken to sawmills. Only 33% of the wood used by sawmills was for construction, where wood used in permanent buildings can lock in carbon for decades. Much of sawmill wood was used for fencing (36%) with a service life of 15 years, or packaging and pallets (24%) or paper (4%).

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Warming ‘May Harm Rainforests Less’

By Alex Kriby
The Good Men Project
March 8, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

LONDON – Scientists think they have found some good news for the Amazon and other tropical forests. They say they appear more able to withstand the effects of climate change than previous studies had suggested. The research team, including climate scientists and tropical ecologists from the UK, USA, Australia and Brazil, concluded that the forests are less likely to lose biomass – plants and plant material – in response to greenhouse gas emissions over the rest of this century. …The scientists say their results have important implications for the future evolution of rainforests, including the role they play in the global climate system and carbon cycle. The study is published online in Nature Geoscience. The research team was led by Dr Chris Huntingford from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology in the UK.

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Forestry seen as key to Russian climate change efforts

By Dave Keating
Euractiv.com
March 5, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

This week, as the European Union unveils legislation binding the bloc to lowering emissions to ‘net-zero’ by 2050, much attention is being paid to what exactly this net-zero target means. The idea behind a net-zero target is to reduce emissions as much as possible – for instance by planting forests or burying emissions underground. The European Union isn’t the only one thinking about how continued emissions could be abated. Russia formally joined the Paris Agreement, highlighting the role its vas forest areas can play in storing CO2. “Russia is making another colossal contribution to combatting CO2 emissions and CO2 sequestration which is not reflected in the contributions but is a crucial factor in this effort,” said a Kremlin spokesperson at the time. “These are Russia’s boreal forests which are the lungs of the planet,” said the spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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Study: Forest industry mills could near carbon-neutrality target by 2035

YLE News
March 4, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

A new study by the Pöyry consulting firm estimates that Finnish forest industry mills could almost completely replace fossil fuels with renewable energy sources by the year 2035. At present, these mills use mainly natural gas and peat, but also small amounts of oil and coal, for the production of the steam needed in paper and paperboard production. The burning of fossil fuels by the Finnish forest products industry generated just slightly less than three million tons of CO2 emissions in 2018. That was around five percent of the nation’s total. Fredrik Blomfelt, who manages environmental affairs for the Finnish Forest Industries Federation, says that the sector’s energy needs could be met through the use of renewable sources, increased energy efficiency, and the further electrification of mill processes.

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Tropical forests losing their ability to absorb carbon, study finds

By Fiona Harvey
The Guardian
March 4, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Tropical forests are taking up less carbon dioxide from the air, reducing their ability to act as “carbon sinks” and bringing closer the prospect of accelerating climate breakdown. The Amazon could turn into a source of carbon in the atmosphere, instead of one of the biggest absorbers of the gas, as soon as the next decade, owing to the damage caused by loggers and farming interests and the impacts of the climate crisis, new research has found. …“We’ve found that one of the most worrying impacts of climate change has already begun,” said Simon Lewis, professor in the school of geography at Leeds University. …For the last three decades, the amount of carbon absorbed by the world’s intact tropical forests has fallen, according to the study from nearly 100 scientific institutions. 

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