April 23, 2014. Source: Biofuelwatch
Campaigners have disrupted Drax Plc’s AGM in London today, calling for the power station to be closed down because of the environmental and social impacts of the biomass and coal that it is burning. Three campaigners were removed from the meeting after unfurling a banner reading “No to biomass and coal – shut down Drax” and accusing company directors of misleading the public over claims that their biomass conversion is low-carbon, renewable energy. The protest happened against a backdrop of falling company share prices as the UK Government announced that it would not be awarding a lucrative new subsidy scheme, a Contract for Difference, to Drax’s second converted unit, sparking investment uncertainty.
Biofuelwatch campaigner Duncan Law was one of the campaigners removed from the AGM today. He said:
“Drax is calling itself the world’s biggest renewable energy power station, but looking past the shiny green façade you see it’s actually still a giant incinerator, only now fed on ancient wetland forests as well as opencast coal. And what’s more, it will be pumping out more CO2 than ever despite company claims that it’s doing the opposite.
It is clear that Drax and the UK government aren’t listening to evidence that big biomass power stations in the UK are fuelling forest destruction in the southern US and increasing carbon emissions. We feel we have no choice but to take this further action to highlight how, in the name of renewable energy, energy companies and their allies in government are causing yet another environmental disaster.”
Filed under Actions / Protest, Biodiversity, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Climate Change, Coal, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Green Economy, Greenwashing, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests
By Steve Horn, April 22, 2014. Source: DeSmog Blog
Gen. James Jones; Photo: Wikimedia Commons
The political carnival that is the prelude to the Iowa caucuses has started over a year and a half early. At the center of it this time around: a game of political hot potato over the northern leg of TransCanada‘s Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.
American Petroleum Institute (API) deployed one of its paid consultants — former Obama Administration National Security Advisor General James “Jim” Jones — to deliver an Earth Day address in the home state of the presidential caucuses at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.
James Jones used his time on the podium to promote the KeystoneXL tar sands pipeline, which another James — retired NASA climatologist James Hansen — once called a “fuse to the biggest carbon bomb on the planet.”
“General James Jones…will discuss the benefits of the pipeline initiative, including more jobs, less dependence on foreign oil, and cheaper energy costs for Americans,” explained an April 15 Drake University press release promoting the event.
By Dina Cappiello, AP, April 21, 2014. Source: Yahoo News
Photo: AP Photo/The University of Nebraska
Biofuels made from the leftovers of harvested corn plants are worse than gasoline for global warming in the short term, a study shows, challenging the Obama administration’s conclusions that they are a much cleaner oil alternative and will help combat climate change.
A $500,000 study paid for by the federal government and released Sunday in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Climate Change concludes that biofuels made with corn residue release 7 percent more greenhouse gases in the early years compared with conventional gasoline.
While biofuels are better in the long run, the study says they won’t meet a standard set in a 2007 energy law to qualify as renewable fuel.
The conclusions deal a blow to what are known as cellulosic biofuels, which have received more than a billion dollars in federal support but have struggled to meet volume targets mandated by law. About half of the initial market in cellulosics is expected to be derived from corn residue.
Note: Building off of the energy at COP6, Global Justice Ecology Project helped co-found Climate Justice Now! at COP13 in Bali with a call to take the struggle for system change to the streets — check out the founding statement here: http://www.climate-justice-now.org/category/events/bali/
-The GJEP Team
By Frederika Whitehead, April 16, 2014. Source: The Guardian
Huaorani Indian children play with scarlet macaws in Yasuni National Park, Ecuador, where oil companies want to drill. Photograph: Steve Bloom Images / Alamy
Today it is accepted, but 20-30 years ago campaigners were struggling to even get an acknowledgement that climate change was happening, let alone that it was manmade. It would have been hard to imagine that one day we might hold the developed nations responsible and start talking about redress for victims of climate change, as we did in 2000.
The nub of “climate justice” is the idea that the developed world made the mess and therefore the developed world should pay the price for fixing the problem.
The first climate justice summit was organised to coincide with Cop 6 – the sixth session of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) conference at the Hague in 2000. It was put together by the Rising Tide network as a radical alternative to the official talks.
Roger Geffen was at the summit as a civil society activist. He says: “the message we wanted put out was that what’s going on at [Cop6] was the wrong ideas being discussed by the wrong people.
“There were all these people in the developing world who were the real victims of climate change who had not got a voice in the process.” Continue reading
By Suzanne York, April 14, 2014. Source: How Many?
Image: Stephanie McMillan
The president of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim, warned that battles over water and food will erupt within the next five to ten years as a result of climate change. As he was talking of the risks of climate change, the UN announced that food prices had risen to their highest in almost a year.
At about the same time as these announcements were happening, the Oakland Institute released a report on the World Bank and land grabs, stating that the World Bank was destroying traditional farming to support corporate land grabs (where corporations, individuals and governments buy or lease prime agricultural lands, often displacing poor and marginalized communities who have lived there for generations).
The Uptick on News on Food Security
It’s easy for some to dismiss talk of food shortages and insecurity as just more “chicken little warnings” that have been wrong in the past. But a look at recent news on food security should give people cause for concern. Continue reading
By Naomi Klein, April 10, 2014. Source: The Guardian
A large field of fracking sites in a Colorado valley. ‘The industry’s singular solution to the climate crisis is to dramatically expand an extraction process that releases massive amounts of climate-destabilising methane.’ Photograph: Ted Wood/Aurora Photos/Corbis
The way to beat Vladimir Putin is to flood the European market with fracked-in-the-USA natural gas, or so the industry would have us believe. As part of escalating anti-Russian hysteria, two bills have been introduced into the US Congress – one in the House of Representatives (H.R. 6), one in the Senate (S. 2083) – that attempt to fast-track liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports, all in the name of helping Europe to wean itself from Putin’s fossil fuels, and enhancing US national security.
According to Cory Gardner, the Republican congressman who introduced the House bill, “opposing this legislation is like hanging up on a 911 call from our friends and allies”. And that might be true – as long as your friends and allies work at Chevron and Shell, and the emergency is the need to keep profits up amid dwindling supplies of conventional oil and gas.
For this ploy to work, it’s important not to look too closely at details. Like the fact that much of the gas probably won’t make it to Europe – because what the bills allow is for gas to be sold on the world market to any country belonging to the World Trade Organisation. Continue reading
April 13, 2014. Source: Biofuelwatch
Photograph: Ed Andrieski/AP
Today, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group on Mitigation of Climate Change released its “Summary for Policy Makers” . Climate, energy and social justice groups  commend the IPCC for clearly acknowledging the close link between economic growth and increased greenhouse gas emissions but warn that the report falls far short on translating this insight into meaningful, holistic and bold pathways to mitigation. They point to the disproportionate influence of economists, engineers and environmental managers, and a dearth of climate scientists, ecologists or other experts from key relevant disciplines in the group.
The groups are particularly concerned that large-scale bioenergy and biofuels, waste incineration, nuclear power and carbon capture and storage (CCS) are referred to as “low carbon” in mitigation models, despite concerns raised elsewhere that some of those technologies are risky, unproven and could actually make climate change worse . They are also decry IPCC’s support for increased use of fossil gas over the next few decades  and by their endorsement of failed market mechanisms, including cap and trade . Continue reading
By Haya El Nasser, April 11, 2014. Source: Al Jazeera America
California is known for the twin threat of natural disasters from drought and earthquakes, with both phenomena certain to give many residents serious concern.
But there is one group that is starting to reap serendipitous marketing ammunition from the state’s current historic drought and the ever-present worry of ground-shaking tremors: the anti-fracking movement.
“California faces two interlinked crises, a water crisis and a climate crisis, and fracking makes both of these problems worse,” said Kassie Siegel, senior counsel for the Center for Biological Diversity, a nonprofit conservation group.
Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing — a method of high-pressure injection of substances to extract oil from rock formations — has become a hugely controversial subject across the United States. Defenders of the process, especially the oil and gas industry, hail it as a solution to America’s energy woes. Critics say it is highly pollutive and contributes to climate change at a time when the country should be moving away from fossil fuels.
April 10, 2014. Source: Biofuelwatch
Campaigners have awarded the UK Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) the “Biomess Award” after coming out on top of an online poll coinciding with a major biomass industry conference in London, with Drax and the Green Investment Bank coming a close second and third place, respectively.
The award for forest destruction was given at an alternative awards ceremony held last night outside a gala dinner for delegates. After a last-minute change of venue the dinner took place at the conference venue, Grange St Paul’s Hotel. More than 40 people held banners reading: “Big Biomass Fuels: Deforestation, Landgrabbing & Climate Change” and “Big Biomass Is Greenwash not Renewable Energy”.
Biofuelwatch Campaigner Duncan Law, who hosted the satirical awards ceremony, said:
The people have spoken, and as far as they’re concerned DECC are the biggest biomass baddie. Through their outrageous support for the biomass industry they have fuelled a new market for burning wood, and rewarded irresponsible companies such as Drax and their pellet suppliers Enviva for clearing ancient forests and pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Note: In response to a recent media frenzy about poplars genetically engineered to create biofuels and “greener” paper, Global Justice Ecology Project, Biofuelwatch, Center for Food Safety and Canadian Biotechnology Action Network issued the following statement today.
To sign GJEP’s petition calling for a global ban on GE trees, click here.
-The GJEP Team
April 9, 2014.
Scientists and environmentalists today condemned a recent press release by researchers at the University of British Columbia announcing they have created genetically engineered (GE) poplar trees for paper and biofuel production, opening the prospect of growing these GE trees like an agricultural crop in the future.
The poplars were genetically engineered for altered lignin composition to supposedly make them easier to process into paper and biofuels. Groups, however, warn that manipulation of lignin, and the potential contamination of wild poplars with that trait, could be extremely dangerous.
Lignin is a key structural component of plant cell walls and a major component of soils. It is also the product of millions of years of natural selection favoring sturdy, healthy and resilient plants. GE poplars with altered lignin could have devastating effects on forests, ecosystems, human communities and biodiversity.
Poplars include at least 30 species, are widespread throughout the Northern Hemisphere and have a high potential for genetic dispersal.