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Category Archives: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Canada’s Indigenous communities: a key part of sustainable biomass energy

The Wood Pellet Association of Canada
June 18, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada

In Canada, June 21, has been designated National Indigenous Peoples Day. As stated by the Government of Canada, this is a day to “recognize and celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.” …Increasing economic ties with Indigenous people is a huge opportunity for Canada’s wood pellet sector. As a result of political and legal changes, more and more Indigenous communities are playing an active role in the management of forest resources. There is increasing participation by Indigenous communities and businesses in the forest sector as tenure holders, mill owners, contractors and consultants. This creates opportunities for reconciliation and full participation by Indigenous peoples in the Canadian economy. …Canadian wood pellet producers stand ready to work together with Indigenous people to provide sustainable economic development at home and sustainable biomass energy to the world.

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Exciting results from the CanmetENERGY energy optimization partnership

By Enrique Mateos-Espejel, Senior Scientist at FPInnovations
FPInnovations Blog
June 9, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada

In 2018, FPInnovations had published an article about its successful and promising partnership with Natural Resources Canada’s CanmetENERGY. The partnership is still going strong and continues to stimulate the Canadian pulp and paper industry by collaborating on integrated energy optimization studies to maximize efficiency, increase the sale of green power, reduce greenhouse gases (GHG), debottleneck production and facilitate the diversification of products. The results obtained through this collaboration are still very exciting. Since 2018, six other mills have been evaluated, and the total potential savings of the identified energy optimization projects was of $6.4 million/year. This represents a reduction of 68.2 kt direct GHG emissions/year. The implementation rate of the projects identified, which is the number of projects implemented or in course of implementation, is of 52% of the total. “We have been focusing on helping the mills implement the energy saving opportunities we previously identified”, says Enrique Mateos-Espejel, Senior Scientist at FPInnovations.

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Canada’s managed forests have turned into super-emitters, and 2018 set a record

By Barry Saxifrage
The National Observer
June 5, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada

Death and decay are winning in Canada’s vast managed forest lands. And this victory is unleashing a rising flood of climate pollution. Put simply, our forests are dying and being cut down faster than they can grow back. In 2018, the flood of CO2 pouring out of them reached record levels, at nearly a quarter billion tonnes of CO2 in a single year. That’s more than Canada’s once biggest climate pollution source — the oil and gas sector — emitted that year. Sadly, this isn’t a short-term aberration. The long-term trends are relentlessly grim. They show that our forests switched from much-needed CO2 sinks into dangerous CO2 emitters more than a decade ago. And what started as a trickle has grown into a flood of CO2 pouring into our atmosphere.

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Canadians still support climate action: poll

By Jeremy Hainsworth
Yorkton This Week
May 28, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada

COVID-19’s economic and health challenges have not diminished support for infrastructure changes to create a cleaner Canadian economy, a new poll finds. Results from the Abacus Data-Clean Energy Canada poll found an equal number of those surveyed believed a change to a cleaner economy was possible and that such considerations should come after health and economic concerns. …Some 58% said they believed the pandemic should not deter efforts to combat climate change (26%) or COVID-19 has convinced them changes are needed in how people live and work to fight it (32%). Among other key findings were: 94% endorse or support efforts to promote Canadian minerals and metals for use in clean technologies and Canadian forest products as low-carbon building and packaging solutions.

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Roundtable urges feds to dramatically scale up support for nature-based climate solutions

By Shawn McCarthy
Corporate Knights
May 20, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada

Canada could reap sizeable economic and environmental gains by supporting better carbon management in our forests and on our farms, which are often treated as afterthoughts in the climate-crisis debate. In an online roundtable Wednesday, experts urged the federal government to dramatically scale up its support for nature-based climate solutions. The approach would not only contribute to the country’s effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; it would protect nature, create jobs, provide additional income to struggling farmers and promote reconciliation with Indigenous communities, a white paper produced for the session by Ralph Torrie of Torrie Smith Associates and Céline Bak of Analytica Advisors concluded. Currently, Canada is one of only a few major economies that do not incorporate the value of environmental services provided by forests, wetlands and farms into their agricultural policies.

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Canadian Bioeconomy Conference hosts first online panel discussion

The Canadian Bioeconomy Conference and Exhibition
June 10, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West
Today was to have been the start of the ninth Canadian Bioeconomy Conference and Exhibition in Prince George. While the ongoing pandemic has forced postponement of the conference until June 2021, conference organizers are presenting their first webinar later this month to keep the bioeconomy front-and-centre and foster dialogue between governments, industry, and communities. The bioeconomy describes a transition away from fossil fuels for materials, energy, and chemicals. The forest is at the centre of this transition, delivering sustainable products, chemicals, and energy that can also store carbon and reduce waste. …“Back and Better with the Bioeconomy” is the title of the webinar that will be held on June 25, featuring the Honourable Doug Donaldson, Canada Research Chair Warren Mabee, Mercer International Vice-President Brian Merwin, and BC Chief Forester Diane Nicholls.

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Build Back Better by investing in Coastal First Nations Great Bear Forest Carbon Project

By Chief Marilyn Slett, president of the Coastal First Nations
Corporate Knights
June 2, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

Marilyn Slett

As Canada ties economic stimulus strategies for corporations to its 2050 climate goals, both government and business have an opportunity to invest in a First Nations forest carbon financing model and make a meaningful commitment to address their climate impact. In early May, the Prime Minister unveiled a new “bridge loan” program to support large businesses recovering from a pandemic economy. …By encouraging carbon offsetting in the plan, Canada has an opportunity to further reconciliation with Coastal First Nations… The Great Bear Forest Carbon Project – led by nine coastal First Nations – is the world’s largest forest carbon initiative. …[It] offers Canadian businesses and governments the chance to build back better in the wake of COVID-19 by working with Coastal First Nations to protect the world’s largest intact temperate rainforest right here on our Pacific Coast.  …buying Great Bear credits is an opportunity to invest in a conservation economy that balances ecological integrity with human well-being.

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BC wood pellet firm Pacific BioEnergy transforms wildfire-hit area

Bioenergy Insight
May 29, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

On 1 May, Pacific BioEnergy planted its first seedling in the Bobtail fire area west of Prince George, BC. In 2015, the Bobtail area was hit by a major wildfire, which burned an area covering 25,533 hectares. The extent of the fire damage prevented salvage by the traditional forest industry. In 2019, PacBio reached an agreement with one of the major licensees in the area to salvage some of the burned fibre utilising its bioenergy licence. The firm completed forest development planning and harvest layout while taking into account all the resource values such as wildlife habitat, visual quality objectives, fisheries and archaeological resources. …Now… the Bobtail fire area has been transformed from a carbon source to a carbon sink, while restoring the forest ecosystem. 

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Pacific BioEnergy completes McBride Residual Fibre Recovery Project

By Veronica Beltran
CKPG Today
May 28, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

MCBRIDE—Pacific BioEnergy Corp. announced yesterday (May 27) the completion of their McBride Residual Fibre Recovery Project which saw the conversion of fibre to pellets— instead of being burned—and created seasonal jobs. The project began in February of 2019 and involved grinding harvesting residuals that would otherwise have been piled and burned, to prepare sites for replanting. The material was brought to Pacific BioEnergy’s Prince George plant, where almost 9,000 tonnes of fibre were used for pellets. “We approached the project on the principle that it is better to utilize already harvested fibre and create new employment and contracting opportunities versus burning it and impacting local air quality.”—John Stirling, CEO, Pacific BioEnergy

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Cumberland weighs its carbon offset options

By Mike Chouinard
The Comox Valley Record
May 24, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Village of Cumberland has prioritized its carbon offset projects. At a meeting earlier in May, council members voted to devote the Village’s offsets to a collection of projects – the Synergy Portfolio –with the Great Bear Forest Carbon Project as a back-up choice should the first choice no longer be available. …The Province has changed the reporting tool for the program, leaving some uncertainty, at least as of the time of the meeting. “We don’t actually know what the carbon offsets are yet,” Mason added. She notes there is $7,500 budgeted for the offsets, which should be sufficient based on previous years. Cumberland is a signatory to the BC Climate Action Charter and qualifies for a refund on carbon taxes paid through the Climate Action Revenue Incentive Program.

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From propane to biomass — Rural BC community undertakes biomass heating project

By Steve Kozuki, FESBC Executive Director
Forest Enhancement Society of BC
May 21, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

The transition from fossil fuels to sustainable sources of energy has been slow, but one small community recently made a big leap toward energy efficiency by installing biomass boilers to provide heat energy for its people: the proud community of Esk’etemc (pronounced ess-ke-tem) people in Alkali Lake, located approximately 50 kilometres south of Williams Lake, B.C.  The Esk’etemc are a forward-thinking community with strong cultural values and connection to the land. The overall project started in 2016 with a feasibility study. Phase 1 of their project to convert from propane to biomass was completed in the summer of 2019 with the completed installation of two boilers which heat eight buildings in the community. The boilers are manufactured in Austria by a company called Froling and distributed and installed by Vancouver-based Evergreen Bioheat. 

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Concerns raised over use of whole logs at Pinnacle Pellet plant

By Thom Barker
Prince Rupert Northern View
May 20, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

A co-founder of Bulkley Valley Clean Air Now says the public has been and continues to be misled regarding source material for the Pinnacle Pellet plant in Smithers. Len Vanderstar points to the original presentation by NewPro to Smithers Town Council before their particleboard operation was repurposed to manufacturing wood pellets. In the presentation, the company said the plant would use “wood waste from cut blocks, lumber shavings, and sawdust that might be otherwise burned in open burning piles or wood boilers.” But, Vanderstar says the plant has been using whole, pulp quality logs and private land hardwoods since day one, something that has also led to complaints from neighbours of the plant about noise from the wood chipper. Doug Donaldson, the province’s forests minister, said it has basically become uneconomical to get pulp logs—cut in the process of harvesting for sawmills—to pulp mills, so they are ending up on slash piles.

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Wood pellets from clear-cut, old-growth forests may not be carbon neutral

By Carl Meyer
National Observer
May 12, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

Clear-cutting old-growth forests to produce wood pellets to replace fossil fuels in electricity generation would release more carbon into the atmosphere than it would save “for many decades,” according to a new scientific study.  The findings raise questions about the wood pellet industry’s claims that their product is “carbon neutral” and that switching from burning coal to burning pellets would reduce “100 per cent” of greenhouse gas emissions. Greenpeace Canada, which partially funded the study, said it has “huge implications” for Canadian policy.  But the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC), a group representing timber, pulp and paper producers, said the study is based on a “hypothetical” scenario that doesn’t represent the sector’s current practices and commitments, including to sustainable forest management and the low-carbon transition.

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American Forest Foundation Welcomes WestRock Foundation as a Family Forest Carbon Program Partner

By American Forest Foundation
CSRwire
June 18, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

WASHINGTON—Today, the American Forest Foundation (AFF) announced WestRock, a leading provider of differentiated paper and packaging solutions, through its WestRock Foundation, has committed to supporting family forest owners addressing climate change by investing in the development of the Family Forest Carbon Program, a new program created by AFF and The Nature Conservancy. Families and individuals own the largest portion – 38 percent – of the forestland across the United States. …The Family Forest Carbon Program is a new approach to climate change mitigation that more readily opens carbon markets to small family forest owners. Carbon markets have traditionally been cost prohibitive to small forest holdings, those between 20 and 1,000 acres, and complex to navigate. The Family Forest Carbon Program provides a path to participation, simplifying the process and reducing cost, providing technical assistance and creating incentives for family forest owners to adopt enhanced management practices. 

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Growth in renewable power expected to continue

By Erin Voegele
Biomass Magazine
June 9, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

U.S. electricity generation from renewable sources is expected to reach 21 percent in 2020 and 23 percent in 2021, up from 17 percent in 2019, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration in its latest Short-Term Energy Outlook. Electricity generation from natural gas is expected to increase to 41 percent. …In the electric power sector, biomass is expected to be used to generate 26.9 billion kilowatt hours of electricity this year, increasing to 28.8 billion kWh next year. Biomass was used to generate 28.8 billion kWh of electricity in 2019. That volume of consumption includes 15.2 billion kWh from waste biomass and 11.7 billion kWh from wood biomass this year, with production from wood waste biomass increasing to 15.5 billion kWh and production from wood biomass increasing to 13.2 billion kWh in 2021. Approximately 15.7 billion kWh from waste biomass and 13 billion kWh from wood biomass was generated last year.

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Pervasive shifts in forest dynamics in a changing world

Science Magazine
May 29, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

Forest dynamics are the processes of recruitment, growth, death, and turnover of the constituent tree species of the forest community. These processes are driven by disturbances both natural and anthropogenic. McDowell et al. review recent progress in understanding the drivers of forest dynamics and how these are interacting and changing in the context of global climate change. The authors show that shifts in forest dynamics are already occurring, and the emerging pattern is that global forests are tending toward younger stands with faster turnover as old-growth forest with stable dynamics are dwindling. …There are widespread observations of increasing tree mortality due to changing climate and land use, as well as observations of growth stimulation of younger forests due to CO2 fertilization. These antagonistic processes are co-occurring globally, leaving the fate of future forests uncertain. 

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Long-term resilience of Earth’s tropical forests in warmer world

By The American Association for the Advancement of Science
EurekAlert
May 21, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

A long-term assessment of the sensitivity of hundreds of tropical forest plots to increasing temperatures brings encouraging news: in the long run, Earth’s tropical forests may be more resilient to a moderately warming world than short-term predictions have suggested. According to the new biome-wide study, tropical forests worldwide and their carbon storage capacities are likely to remain intact in moderate climate warming scenarios – so long as they’re not further impacted by other human disturbances such as clearance, logging or fires. As plants and trees grow, they convert inorganic carbon into biomass, effectively storing vast amounts of atmospheric carbon dioxide into terrestrial flora. Understanding the land-atmosphere carbon flux of tropical forests – where nearly 40% of the world’s carbon-hoarding vegetation resides – is particularly important to understanding potential climate change scenarios.

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Innovative solutions for carbon rooted in family forests

By Tom Martin, President and CEO, American Forest Foundation
GreenBiz.com
May 20, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

Tom Martin

Over the past year, we have seen corporations such as Amazon, Microsoft and Starbucks set ambitious goals to drive towards net zero or net positive emissions. At the same time, organizations such as the Science Based Targets Initiative, CDP and the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance have seen their member ranks increase as more businesses have set reduction goals for their greenhouse gas emissions. The challenge has been in determining the specific actions that can be taken to meet these goals. The companies that stand out as true climate leaders are taking the right approach: Their plans lead with reducing their emissions through changes in operations — removing inefficiencies, capitalizing on new technologies and moving to a clean energy future. Only then do they look at other options such as carbon offsetting.

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Scientists warn Congress against declaring biomass burning carbon neutral

By Justin Catanoso, Wake Forest University
Mongabay.com
May 13, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

Some 200 U.S. environmental scientists have sent a letter to congressional committee chairs urging they reject new rules proposed in April under the Clean Air Act that would define biomass, when burned to produce energy, as being carbon neutral. The scientists say that biomass burning is not only destructive of native forests which store massive amounts of carbon, but also does not reduce carbon emissions. A long-standing UN policy, recognizing biomass burning as carbon neutral, has caused the U.S. forestry industry to gear up to produce wood pellets for power plants in Britain, the EU, South Korea and beyond. Scientists warn that the failure to count the emissions produced by such plants could help destabilize the global climate.

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Case against EU’s wood biomass policy thrown out of court

Renewables Now
May 13, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, International

The European General Court has dismissed a case brought by individuals and environmental groups from six countries to annul biomass provisions contained in the EU’s 2018 Renewable Energy Directive, ruling that the plaintiffs do not have a legal standing. In March 2019, plaintiffs from Estonia, France, Ireland, Romania, Slovakia and the US initiated legal action with claims that the EU’s biomass policy would not only destroy forests, but also increase greenhouse gas emissions. …The court stated that the plaintiffs’ arguments had no merit. …The applicants do not put forward any factor recognised by case-law which would be capable of distinguishing them individually as addressees.” …Furthermore, the plaintiffs do not meet the specific criteria when actions for annulment brought by associations may be admissible, the court document shows. The plaintiffs on Tuesday said they will consider an appeal against the court decision.

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Forests can be risky climate investments to offset greenhouse gas emissions

By Kerry Bennett, Office of the Vice President for Research
Northern Arizona Univerisity News
June 19, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

Given the tremendous ability of forests to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, some governments are counting on planted forests as offsets for greenhouse gas emissions—a sort of climate investment. …it’s important to understand the risks. If a forest goes bust—through severe droughts or wildfires, researchers say—much of that stored carbon could go up in smoke. Professor Scott Goetz and associate professor Deborah Huntzinger, both of Northern Arizona University, found that forests can be best deployed in the fight against climate change with a proper understanding of the risks to forests that climate change itself imposes. …forests are able to store carbon for at least 50 to 100 years. Such permanence is not always a given, with the very real chance that the carbon stored in forest mitigation projects could go up in flames or be lost due to insect infestations, severe drought or hurricanes in the coming decades.

Additional coverage in Resources for the Future

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Use of forests to offset carbon emissions requires an understanding of the risks

By Paul Gabrielsen
Phys.org
June 18, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

Given the tremendous ability of forests to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, some governments are counting on planted forests as offsets for greenhouse gas emissions—a sort of climate investment. But as with any investment, it’s important to understand the risks. If a forest goes bust, researchers say, much of that stored carbon could go up in smoke. In a paper published in Science, University of Utah biologist William Anderegg and his colleagues say that forests can be best deployed in the fight against climate change with a proper understanding of the risks to that forest that climate change itself imposes. “As long as this is done wisely and based on the best available science, that’s fantastic,” Anderegg says. “But there hasn’t been adequate attention to the risks of climate change to forests right now.”

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Oregon bids goodbye to coal power

By Nick Rosenberger
East Oregonian
June 13, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

Since 1980, the Boardman Coal Plant has produced nearly half of Portland’s electricity. …That production — both of energy and emissions — will come to an end in just a few months. The Portland General Electric-owned facility, the last coal plant operating in Oregon, will close by the end of 2020. …There are nearly 600 coal-fired plants still operating in the U.S., though more than 200 others have closed in the last two decades due to declining revenue or environmental regulations. Those regulations are an attempt to reduce the effects of burning coal, the largest human-made contributor to carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. …Corson said the company then considered torrefaction as a final option before closing the plant for good. Torrefied wood “certainly could be a viable fuel” at a plant like Boardman, said Matt Krumenauer, vice president of the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities.

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Big polluters are spending billions on controversial projects that protect forests and let them keep polluting

By Benjamin Romano
The Seattle Times
June 7, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

As industrial polluters try to erase their greenhouse gas emissions, they plan to spend billions of dollars in the coming years on preserving and restoring forests to cancel out pollution they can’t directly eliminate with electric vehicles, energy efficiency improvements and wind and solar power projects. Protecting, enhancing and restoring forests brings undeniable benefits. …Environmental justice advocates say emissions offsets can let companies continue burning fossil fuels and polluting in vulnerable communities, even as they burnish their image through the preservation or planting of trees often far removed from their operations. …Crider and others said offset markets are improving, and the potential of natural climate solutions funded through them is too great to ignore. Offsets represent a welcome source of revenue for forest landowners who would otherwise harvest their trees. For conservation groups, offsets promise funding for long-term stewardship.

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In California, A Push Grows to Turn Dead Trees into Biomass Energy

By Jane Braxton Little
Yale Environment 360
May 19, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

As forests in California and the Western U.S. are hit by rising numbers of fires and disease outbreaks related to climate change, some experts argue that using dead and diseased trees to produce biomass energy will help to restore forests and reduce CO2 emissions. …Jonathan Kusel owns three pickups and a 45-foot truck for hauling woodchip bins. He operates a woodchip yard and a 35-kilowatt biomass plant that burns dead trees, and he runs a crew marking trees for loggers working in national forests. Those are a lot of blue-collar credentials for a University of California, Berkeley PhD sociologist known for his documentation of how the decline of the timber industry affects rural communities. What drove Kusel into a side business — logging small and dead trees and burning them in biomass boilers — is fear of fire. 

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Land Conservancy and partners receive a $375,000 grant to keep forests healthy as climate changes

By Kathy Jennings
Southwest Michigan’s Second Wave
May 21, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

More than 40,000 trees chosen for their ability to create forest habitats adapted for climate change and to withstand invasive species will be planted in southwest Michigan over the next two years. Work will be done in 14 different forested areas throughout the region to improve nearly 500 acres of forest by addressing invasive species, planting new forests, and diversifying existing forests. It’s part of a project to improve the health of existing forests and grow new forests in nature preserves and county parks spanning over 70 miles of latitude from northwest Indiana to the Grand River in West Michigan. Trees will be planted by The Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy (SWMLC) and four regional partners—Ottawa County Parks, The Nature Conservancy-Michigan, Chikaming Open Lands, and Shirley Heinze Land Trust.

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Restricting forest planting ‘at odds with NZ’s climate change goals’

By Eric Frykberg
Radio New Zealand
June 23, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

New Zealand runs a serious risk of failing to meet legally mandated goals on climate change, according to the Forest Owners Association.  That would happen if the government went ahead with halting forest conversions of farmland if they occurred too often.  The possibility of state intervention against afforestation was mentioned – but not promised – by Minister of Agriculture Damien O’Connor, speaking at a parliamentary select committee last week.  The conversion of farmland into forestry has repeatedly been accused of undermining thriving rural communities and replacing them with a “green desert”.   This would be even worse with trees grown for carbon credits, not timber, since rural communities – stripped of farm workers – would not get an economic boost from visiting pruning contractors or tree felling gangs either.

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Climate change: Wales lags behind on planting new trees

BBC News
June 16, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Wales is falling behind the rest of the UK in planting trees to tackle climate change, official statistics show.  About 80 hectares of new woodland were planted in 2019-20, the lowest number for a decade.  Forestry experts said the figure – which amounts to just 4% of the Welsh Government’s target of 2,000 hectares a year – was “clearly disappointing”.  The government said it was taking “significant steps” to increase tree cover.  Across the UK, 13,460 hectares of new woodland were created in 2019-20, according to provisional figures compiled by government-backed forestry organisations.  This breaks down to 10,860 in Scotland, 2,330 in England, 200 in Northern Ireland and 80 in Wales.  More than 80% of the new planting occurred in Scotland, heralded as “outstanding” by the Scottish Government though it too missed its annual target.

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Decoding The History of Climate Cycles, One Tree Ring At A Time

By Anuradha Varanasi
The Earth Institute – Columbia University
June 11, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Rosanne D’Arrigo

Rosanne D’Arrigo, a research professor of biology and paleoclimate at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University, started out as one of the very few women who ventured into dendrochronology — the scientific study of dating tree rings to figure out when they were formed. Deriving data from those tree rings allows her to study the climate and atmospheric conditions that existed thousands of years ago. D’Arrigo’s work in collecting these valuable tree rings has taken her to remote locations in countries like Myanmar, Canada, Alaska, Indonesia, Madagascar, Mongolia, and Japan, to name a few. Her extensive research has involved studying the complexity of different components of the Asian monsoon and how volcanoes can play a role in cooling the tropics. 

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Burning wood increasingly out of favour as a source of green energy

DutchNews.nl
June 10, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Support for the use of wood pellets to generate electricity is crumbling in The Hague and there is now a majority in parliament for ending subsidies for new biomass power plants, the Telegraaf said on Wednesday afternoon. Two coalition parties, ChristenUnie and D66, are now opposed to the use of subsidies, the paper said, ahead of a debate with economic affairs minister Eric Wiebes. “The climate is not being helped by biomass,” D66 MP Matthijs Sienot told broadcaster NOS. In particular, the way wood is being imported from abroad to burn in Dutch power stations has come in for criticism, both in the Netherlands and in the US. Some experts also claim wood is more polluting than coal, which the Dutch government is keen to phase out.

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Finland’s consumption of recycled wood increased in 2019

Lesprom Network
June 9, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Finland’s consumption of forest industry by-products and wood residues increased by 1% from the previous year to nearly 12 million cubic metres in 2019. The consumption of bark totalled 7.9 million cubic metres, while different types of sawdust were consumed a total of 2.5 million, industrial chips 1.2 million and other industrial by-products 0.2 million cubic metres. Wood pellets and briquettes consumption amounted to 0.2 million cubic metres, according to the Natural Resources Institute Finland. …“Proportionally, the use of recycled wood in energy generation increased the most, by 13%, and totalled just over one million cubic metres. During the preceding ten-year period, the burning of recycled wood has more than doubled.”

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Football pitch-sized area of tropical rainforest lost every six seconds

By Adam Morton
The Guardian
June 2, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

The amount of pristine tropical rainforest lost across the globe increased last year, as the equivalent of a football pitch disappeared every six seconds, a satellite-based analysis has found. Nearly 12m hectares of tree cover was lost across the tropics, including nearly 4m hectares of dense, old rainforest that held significant stores of carbon and had been home to a vast array of wildlife, according to data from the University of Maryland. Beyond the tropics, Australia’s devastating bushfires led to a sixfold increase in tree cover loss across the continent in 2019 compared with the previous year. 

Additional coverage in the Independent here

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Climate change will make droughts more intense, more frequent

By Alexandru Micu
ZME Science
June 3, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

New research from ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes, Australia, says we’ll see longer and more frequent droughts due to climate change. Southwestern Australia, parts of southern Australia, as well as regions in the Amazon, Mediterranean and southern Africa can expect to see more frequent and intense droughts in the future as climate patterns shift across the globe. At the same time, central Europe and the boreal forest zone are projected to get wetter and experience fewer droughts — but the ones they do get are likely to be much more intense than today.

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Ireland’s bioenergy opportunity ‘immense’, says new IrBEA president

Bioenergy Insight Magazine
June 2, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Paddy Phelan

Ireland’s bioenergy opportunity is “immense”, according to the new president of the Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA), Paddy Phelan. …According to Phelan, sustainably-produced bioenergy will play a key role in Ireland’s transition from a fossil fuel-based economy to a low-carbon economy, with biomass, biogas, energy crops, wood fuels and biofuels playing a key part. He added: “As well as contributing towards Ireland’s renewable energy targets, the sector can be the catalyst to drive jobs and economic growth in rural Ireland while assisting to address the climate change and emissions reduction challenges we face as a country and people.” Phelan said IrBEA’s objective should be to provide 100% of Ireland’s energy demand from renewable sources by 2050

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Climate Change, Deforestation Harm Old-Growth Forests: Study

By Bobby Magill
Bloomberg News
May 28, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Forests globally are becoming younger and shorter because of deforestation and climate change, reducing biological diversity and stunting forests’ ability to store atmospheric carbon, according to research published Thursday. Rising global temperatures, clear-cutting, wildfire, and climate change-driven insect infestations are leading to more trees dying and fewer trees growing old across the globe, according to the research in the journal Science. That creates an ecological imbalance that prevents the forests from storing carbon dioxide, the study found. “Trees are adapted to live in the conditions they grew up in,” said lead study author Nate McDowell. “The conditions they grew up in were historically relatively stable: temperature went up, but it came back down. And now it doesn’t come down anymore.”

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GoodChips expands certification to global market with Azwood Energy

Voxy New Zealand
May 29, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

A leading energy supplier within New Zealand is enabling GoodChips® to grow its international base. Securing the New Zealand based company, Azwood Energy, reinforces the certification scheme’s mission to ensure quality materials are seen throughout the entirety of the supply chain; both at a local and international level. With the company moving around 1,000,000 cubic metres of raw and processed material each year, it aids towards the country’s aim of lowering its carbon footprint; supplying cost-comparative carbon neutral wood fuels as an alternative to conventional fossil fuels. Now, as Azwood Energy takes further steps to ensure only the best in bioenergy is supplied, being a GoodChips® certified company guarantees the quality of its wood chip and biomass fuel throughout its vast supply chain across New Zealand.

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EU plans to protect 30% of land and seas by 2030 for biodiversity

By Chloe Farand
Climate Home News
May 20, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

At least 30% of EU land and seas will be protected by 2030 to halt the decline of plant and animal species and restore carbon sinks to address climate change, under European Commission plans. The proposed biodiversity strategy, initially due to be released late March and delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, was published on Wednesday. The document outlines a 10-year vision to restore and protect the union’s ecosystems with a budget of at least €20 billion a year. It lays out measures to transform the agriculture sector – one of the EU’s largest drivers of biodiversity loss – by promoting agroecology practices and making a quarter of all EU agricultural land organic in the next decade. The Commission said the strategy would be “a central element” of the EU’s recovery efforts to Covid-19…

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What does the EU’s Farm to Fork Strategy say about forestry?

By Charles O’Donnell
Agriland
May 21, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

The European Commission released its much-talked-about Farm to Fork Strategy yesterday, Wednesday, May 20, which outlines the EU’s plans for food production and agriculture across the bloc. The wide-ranging document doesn’t just stick to food products though. It also mentions forestry, and how, in the commission’s view, that sector can contribute to the environmental sustainability that is central to the new strategy. One of the potential contributions cited for forestry is carbon sequestration, through ‘new green business models’. The “first step” in utilising forestry for carbon sequestration, according to the strategy, is “robust certification rules” for the sector (and agriculture in general) to enable payments to farmers and foresters for the carbon sequestration they provide.

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EU plans sweeping bioenergy review by end 2020

By Frédéric Simon
EurActiv
May 18, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

The European Commission intends to push a “transformative approach” to all forms of bioenergy – including biofuels and woody biomass – as part of a biodiversity strategy due to be unveiled on Wednesday (20 May). The EU executive is “continuously assessing” biomass supply and demand at EU and global level in order to “ensure that EU biomass-related policies are sustainable,” the Commission says in its draft strategy, seen by EURACTIV. That process will culminate by end 2020 when “the Commission will publish the results of this work with regard to the sustainability of bioenergy,” the draft policy document says, adding the review will look “especially (into) the use of forest biomass for energy production.” The Commission’s climate chief Frans Timmermans has made forest conservation and restoration one of the key aspects of the European Green Deal, which aims at reaching carbon neutrality by 2050.

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Using wood waste to produce biochemicals: green chemistry for a green future

By Amanda Doyle
The Chemical Engineer
May 14, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

UK — Reducing our reliance on fossil fuels is essential in order to tackle the climate crisis, but this involves more than just increasing the share of renewable energy. Reliable alternatives need to be found for petroleum-based products, which is what chemical processing company Lixea is doing by turning wood waste into biochemicals, bioplastics, and biofuels. I spoke to Florence Gschwend, CEO and Co-founder of Lixea, about the new process and the company’s journey from spin-out to building a pilot facility. …Lixea’s BioFlex process is a pretreatment technology for the lignocellulose biomass and can be used with almost any type of woody material. The ionic liquid separates the different components of the lignocellulose, while also allowing byproducts such as furfural and acetic acid to be recovered, which can be used in the chemical industry.

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