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Category Archives: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Australian wildfires strike home for ex-pat living in Victoria

By Roxanne Egan-Elliott
The Times Colonist
January 26, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, International

Werner Kurz

Tony Aston has heard for a long time that climate change could mean the end of the world for humans. But ever since he learned that his parents had lost their home to the wildfires ravaging Australia, that possibility feels more real. …Werner Kurz, a senior research scientist with Natural Resources Canada, says Australia’s recent experience is a cautionary tale for the rest of the world, including B.C. Kurz, who also leads the Forest Carbon Management project for the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions at UVic, was in Australia over Christmas on a trip he had booked a year earlier. …Kurz called the wildfires in Australia and elsewhere a warning about the consequences of continued droughts and extreme weather due to climate warming, and a reminder of the urgency to achieve significant reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions.

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Leaning in by leading the way: Canada’s forest Sector embraces UN Sustainable Development Goals and World Economic Forum’s 2020Core Focus on Fighting Climate Change

Forest Products Association of Canada
January 21, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada

As political and business leaders descend on Davos-Klosters (Switzerland) for the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum, issues related to climate change are looming larger than normal over this year’s gathering. It’s not just the official theme of “Stakeholders for a cohesive and sustainable world” that has set the tone so succinctly. It’s the evidence that is most convincing this year, and a feeling that the world is running out of time to reverse course. And on this point, the facts speak for themselves. Dire warnings from the latest UN report on the environment in November 2019 say that as the world warms, we will see more frequent and intense climate impacts such as the catastrophic heatwaves and storms we are witnessing. The report calls on global business leaders, investors, and citizensto “Lean in” and engage in a collective global effort to reducegreenhouse gas emissions.

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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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Community Pellet Day: Saturday February 1, 2020

Skeena Sawmills
January 28, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

TERRACE, B.C. – In response to the significant local need for home heating pellets, Skeena Bioenergy, in partnership with the Kitsumkalum Economic Development Group, is hosting a Community Pellet Day. On Saturday, February 1st, local residents are invited to come to the Kitsumkalum Boat Launch and receive pellets by donation. Volunteers will be on-site from 10AM to 4PM to fill pellet containers and help to load them into vehicles. Pellet bags or containers will NOT be provided and, given the significant need, each household will be limited to 200 pounds of pellets. Donations received will benefit a variety of local community groups. Skeena Bioenergy’s pellets are industrial grade pellets (I2) and while safe to burn in domestic stoves, they may burn slightly differently than standard consumer pellets and produce somewhat more ash.

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Wildfire and Carbon: Increasing the resilience of BC’s forests to climate change

Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions
January 27, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

Researchers from Canada and the United States want to de-escalate the devastating forest wildfires that are increasingly occurring due to climate change, while strengthening development of a forest-based bioeconomy in British Columbia (BC), boosting carbon uptake and reducing emissions. These goals are part of a $1 million, four-year Theme Partnership project called “Wildfire and Carbon” announced today by the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS), which is hosted and led by the University of Victoria. The project team includes scientists from the Canadian Forest Service, the University of British Columbia (UBC), and the USDA Forest Service. Judi Beck, director general of Natural Resources Canada’s Pacific Forestry Centre, explains that managing forests to achieve emissions reductions involves many complex trade-offs. For example, wildfire risk reduction activities—such as controlled burning to reduce fuel loading and create fire breaks—release greenhouse gases and smoke which contribute to climate change and affect human health.

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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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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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A Banner Year

By Rim Portz
Biomass Magazine
January 22, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

Tim Portz

In January 2016, the U.S. Energy Information Administration launched the Monthly Densified Biomass Fuel Report. While lagging the calendar by roughly 90 days, the data accumulated so far indicates 2019 was the most successful year for producers of residential wood pellets since reporting began. The data confirms what many in the industry suspected would happen when the calendar flipped a year ago: Carryover inventories in most regions were nearly nonexistent, and forecast demand was high. …Amidst all these record production levels and increased plant revenues are some reasons for concern, none more glaring than the historically low inventory levels throughout most of the pellet-producing regions. …If a sector’s health is determined by the opportunities in front of it, it would be hard to argue that the residential wood pellet industry has ever been healthier.

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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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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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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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“A Trillion Trees” is a great idea—that could become a dangerous climate distraction

By James Temple
MIT Technology Review
January 28, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Signing on to the Trillion Tree initiative was basically the cost of admission for the global elite at this year’s World Economic Forum (well, that plus tens of thousands of dollars for the badge). In fact, tree planting was the rare issue on which even Jane Goodall and Donald Trump could get on the same page at Davos.  Meanwhile, Axios revealed last week that Congressman Bruce Westerman, an Arkansas Republican, is working on a bill dubbed the Trillion Trees Act that would set a national target for tree planting (although apparently it won’t be—and almost certainly couldn’t be—a literal trillion). It’s great that trees are having a moment.  …But it’s also a limited and unreliable way of addressing climate change. We have a terrible track record on carrying out reforestation efforts to date.

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Does biofuel have a palm oil problem?

By Scarlett Evans
Power Technology
January 28, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Biofuel is gaining prominence in the power industry. Yet its eco-credentials largely depend on what fuel is used in its production, and when the French government banned palm oil from the country’s biofuel scheme, it was hailed as a positive step in the fight against wide-scale deforestation. …Consumer dissent against palm oil has been rumbling for years now. …Top palm oil producing countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia are fighting back. …Balancing economic gains with environmental obligation is proving rocky terrain, and it seems action against unethical biofuels is only just beginning. …The efforts of Greenpeace France were instrumental in lobbying for the ban. …When asked what’s next for Greenpeace’s campaign, Sénéchal said …“If using the biomass comes at the expense of natural carbon stock and sinks like forests, then it’s not a fit for purpose solution.”

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Timber in Construction and Bioeconomy in the EU Green Deal resolution

The European Organization of the Sawmill Industry
January 17, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

The European Sawmill Industry (EOS) is extremely pleased to see that our call for including forest-based products and bioeconomy in the framework of the Green Deal is now an integrated part of the European Parliament Green Deal Resolution (point 42). The European Parliament also requested Member States to “encourage the promotion of timber construction” (point 27). Wood is the only renewable carbon neutral construction material. …The European Parliament adopted on Wednesday (15 January 2020) its position on the European Green Deal… with 482 votes for, 136 against and 95 abstentions. The Members of the EU Parliament wants the upcoming Climate Law to include higher ambitions for the EU’s 2030 goal of emissions reductions (55% in 2030 compared to 1990, instead of “at least 50% towards 55%”, as proposed by the Commission). A copy of the Resolution is available here.

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Activist group secretly plants 500 trees in Antwerp at night

By Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times
January 21, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Hundreds of trees have been secretly planted overnight in Antwerp by an environmental action group called The Phantom Tree Company. Operating under the motto “stop talking about global warming and do something,” the group targets vacant properties without the accord of their proprietors. Over a period of two weeks, the group planted 500 trees in vacant lots in Puurs-Sint-Amands, across a 2-hectare stretch of land in the province of Antwerp. “We plant trees at nights on wastelands owned by governments and inter-municipal companies without their permission,” an anonymous group member told said, VRT reports. …The group said that they worked with local beekeepers to plant trees that benefit bee populations, and that they also took biodiversity into account, planting native species like elms and willows.

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Climate not considered a top 10 risk by CEOs – survey

Associated Press in Atlanta Journal of Commerce
January 20, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

DAVOS, SWITZERLAND — Climate issues are set to be one of the main talking points at the World Economic Forum in the Swiss ski resort of Davos this week, but a survey of CEOs released Monday shows that they are not even ranked among the top ten threats to business growth. In its annual report ahead of the gathering in Davos, financial services group PwC said climate change and environmental issues are ranked as the 11th biggest threat to their companies’ growth prospects. Though up one spot from the same survey a year ago, climate-related issues lag way behind other concerns such as over-regulation, which ranks as the number 1 worry. Other concerns in the top 10 include trade conflicts, lack of skills among workers and populism in politics.

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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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The audacious effort to reforest the planet

By Ben Guarino
The Washington Post
January 22, 2020
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

…“We’ve been astonished to find that [planting trees] is up there with all the best climate change solutions,” said ETH Zurich ecologist Thomas Crowther, thesis adviser to Finkbeiner, now a 22-year-old PhD student in environmental science. Plant for the Planet inherited a massive tree-planting program, renamed the Trillion Tree Campaign, from the United Nations in 2011; Crowther is its chief scientific adviser. …On Tuesday in Davos, Switzerland, President Trump said the United States would join 1t.org, a new project launched by the World Economic Forum to connect the Trillion Tree Campaign and other reforestation programs around the world. “In doing so we will continue to show strong leadership in restoring, growing and better managing our trees and our forests,” said Trump. …When it comes to climate change, however, not all trees are created equal.

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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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