Government must urgently rethink its bioenergy strategy
Commenting on the biomass carbon calculator tool, unveiled today (Thursday 24 July 2014) by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), which calculates the carbon impacts of burning trees for energy, Friends of the Earth’s bioenergy campaigner Kenneth Richter said:
“This important new research confirms that burning trees from overseas forests in our power stations can have a bigger impact on our climate than burning fossil fuels.
“The Government must urgently rethink its bioenergy strategy. Rather than writing blank cheques for firms like Drax the Government must introduce full carbon accounting for bioenergy in the UK, and ensure that cutting emissions is at the heart of all our energy policies.”
Notes to editors
1. Carbon emissions from transporting, harvesting and processing the biomass are currently being accounted for, but the emissions from burning the fuel are assumed to be zero.
2. The burning of biomass is currently assumed to be carbon neutral in legislation. But the new calculator accounts for the significant changes to carbon stored in forests as a result of logging for biomass. It also accounts for additional carbon impacts that results from wood being diverted away from traditional uses (like building and materials) to use in bioenergy. As a result the calculator shows that for a wide range of sourcing scenarios the net emissions of bioenergy from forest biomass can be worse than those of fossil fuels over a timeframe of 20 to 40 years.