Category Archives: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board flexes its muscle in board rooms around the world to stem climate change

By Barbara Shecter
The Timmins Times
September 28, 2022
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada

The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), which invests on behalf of the country’s CPP pension scheme, used its influence as a major institutional investor to push 35 companies to make “material“ commitments and improvements to climate-related disclosures and practices in the past year, according to its latest report on sustainability investing made public Wednesday. …CPPIB, which invests in public and private companies including direct investments, voted in favour of climate-related shareholder proposals that sought deeper disclosures on topics such as operational emissions management, asset portfolio resilience and public policy, the report said. Richard Manley, managing director, said the approach with public companies in the portfolio is to articulate clearly how the Canadian pension believes sustainability-related factors should be integrated to inform strategy and enhance returns or reduce risks in the business.

 

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Pierre Poilievre plans to scrap the carbon tax, but will he unveil a climate plan?

By Catherine Levesque
The National Post
September 27, 2022
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada

Pierre Poilievre

OTTAWA — Nuclear technology, carbon capture and mining critical minerals are all components of Pierre Poilievre’s approach to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to fight climate change, but it remains unclear when he will unveil a more fulsome climate plan of his own. …Poilievre used his first opposition day as Conservative leader on Tuesday to speak out against the federal carbon tax in the House of Commons, but was instead confronted by the Liberals, the Bloc Quebecois, the NDP and the Greens on his climate change plan. Poilievre did not present a climate plan during the leadership race and has not signalled his intention of doing so in the near future now that he is leader, but has repeatedly been saying that technology, not taxes, is the way to reduce emissions.

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The ‘Ironclad Rule of Carbon’ Means We Have to Change How We Think About Design

By Lloyd Alter
TreeHugger
September 25, 2022
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada

I try to distill many of the thoughts discussed on Treehugger into coherent lectures when teaching Sustainable Design at Toronto Metropolitan University’s School of Interior Design and The Creative School. The theme of my teaching this year is the importance of upfront carbon emissions—a subject I talk about often on Treehugger and a term that was actually developed on this site in a 2019 post titled “Let’s Rename Embodied Carbon” to “Upfront Carbon Emissions.” More recently, I wrote a post in which I developed what I called the “ironclad rule of carbon.” …The Architects Climate Action Network in the United Kingdom did a study, “The Climate Footprint of Construction,” and concluded that “the embodied carbon of a building can be up to 75% of its total emissions over a typical 60-year lifetime.” …As operating energy demand is reduced, the upfront carbon increases as a proportion of the total.

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Air Canada Introduces CHOOOSE as New Carbon Offset Partner

By Air Canada
Cision Newswire
September 27, 2022
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada

MONTREAL– Air Canada introduced CHOOOSE, a global climate technology company as the airline’s new carbon offset program provider. The option to purchase verified carbon offsets is now seamlessly integrated into the airline’s Canadian and US booking websites. …People are increasingly interested in responsibly reducing the environmental footprint associated with travel. …The selected climate projects support several major sustainability programs that deliver benefits both in Canada and internationally and that align with United Nations Sustainable Development Goals from No Poverty and Zero Hunger to Climate Action and Life Below Water. Projects supported include forestry projects in Canada, forest management and mangrove ecosystem programs in Central and South America, and clean cooking solutions for Indigenous peoples in South Asia.

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Drax contributed $1 billion to Canadian economy: study

By Nelson Bennett
Business in Vancouver
September 26, 2022
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada

The wood pellet sector may be the bottom-feeders of the forest economy, using wood and forest waste that no one else wants to make a renewable fuel, but in Canada, one company alone in that space has contributed $1.1 billion in Canadian GDP and paid $277 million in taxes, according to Oxford Economics. Oxford Economics was commissioned by Drax Group Plc to look at the economic impacts of the company in the UK, Canada and the U.S. …The study concludes that Drax globally contributed $4.6 billion in GDP to the UK, Canadian and American economies in 2021, and supported 35,600 jobs… Drax now owns 17 pellet plants in North America, including seven in B.C. and two in Alberta. …The report estimates Drax spent $736 million with Canadian suppliers in 2021, 58% of which was spent in B.C., and 13% in Alberta. Drax directly employs 436 workers in Canada – the bulk of them in B.C.

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Insurers, others sound alarm on Canada’s ‘vague and distant’ climate change strategy

By Adam Radwanski
The Globe and Mail
September 12, 2022
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada

Just weeks before the federal government intends to release its long-awaited strategy to brace Canada for climate-change consequences, industries and organizations that have engaged with Ottawa in developing the plan are warning that it’s on track to be too little and too late. Climate Proof Canada, a coalition that is led by the Insurance Bureau of Canada will publicly release a letter on Monday that accuses Environment Canada of getting bogged down in long-term aspirations rather than addressing immediate threats such as floods, wildfires and extreme heat. …The coalition is calling for the strategy – which Ottawa plans to release at November’s COP27 summit, to provide a five-year implementation plan for safeguarding homes and other buildings and protect vulnerable communities. …By some accounts, there has also been bureaucratic resistance… whatever the cause, Ottawa has been left with mere weeks to land on specific policies. [to access the full story, a Globe & Mail subscription may be required]

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Study confirms B.C. wood pellets sustainably sourced

By Nelson Bennett
Business in Vancouver
September 21, 2022
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

Gary Bull

Somewhere in the world, forests may be harvested to feed the bioenergy industry, but that’s not happening in Canada, a new study says. A study commissioned by the Wood Pellet Association of Canada concludes 85% of the inputs of wood pellets in B.C. is waste from sawmills and other secondary manufacturing, like plywood mills, with 15% coming from “bush grind” and low-quality logs that would otherwise likely be burned in slash piles. Canada is the world’s second largest wood pellet producer, and with 12 pellet mills, B.C. is Canada’s largest producer of wood pellets, which are exported to Asia and Europe, where they are mostly burned in thermal power plants as an alternative to coal. The association commissioned four forestry experts and registered foresters, including Gary Bull at the University of BC’s Faculty of Forestry, to review industry and government data to determine just what goes into the wood pellets made in B.C.

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‘Huge momentum’ for Fort Nelson pellet project

By Matt Preprost
Alaska Highway News
September 14, 2022
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Fort Nelson First Nation says it is “on the doorstep” of a new forest economy in the Northern Rockies region after securing what it calls a “major forestry tenures commitment” from the provincial government. In a news release Wednesday, the First Nation said the provincial forests ministry has offered a number of forest licenses amounting to 1.26 million cubic metres of timber a year, “making it one of the largest forest tenures commitments ever made to a First Nation in history.” The First Nation says the licenses, committed to in a July 2022 letter from government, are to enable to the construction and operations of a new pellet plant in partnership with Peak Renewables. “This is the opportunity of a lifetime for our people,” Fort Nelson First Nation Chief Sharleen Gale said in a statement.

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Calgary company hopes unique biofuel technology can help decarbonize Canada’s airline industry

By Emma Graney
The Globe and Mail
September 16, 2022
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

Inside a nondescript building in an industrial park on the outskirts of Calgary, one company is hoping its unique biofuel technology can help decarbonize Canada’s airline industry. It’s part of a larger push toward establishing a sustainable aviation fuel production sector. …And for Calgary’s SixRing Inc., the ultimate goal is to play a key role in that economic opportunity. The company recently received $1.4-million from the federal government, which it will use to scale up production with its technology. Unlike other biofuels, which often use food-derived feedstocks such as canola oil, it uses crop and forestry by-products including straw and corn husks, wood chips, bark and wood infested with pine beetles. …Over the next three decades the airline industry expects technology to move toward hydrogen- or electrical-powered aircrafts, but in the meantime it’s eyeing Sustainable Aviation Fuel as a kind of stopgap measure.

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Northwest Territories forests absorb more carbon than territory emits — most of the time

By Liny Lamberink
CBC News
September 14, 2022
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

Forests in the N.W.T. absorb way more carbon than the entire territory emits — most of the time. “The forest is an enormous resource, and I am overwhelmed by it, to be honest,” said Jakub Olesinski, a forest ecologist with the territory’s environment department and one of the authors of a report on the state of forests in the N.W.T. The purpose of the report, published by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) earlier this year, is to provide a baseline of information about forests in the territory that can be used to measure future changes — such as those caused by climate change. It includes details about carbon stored in the natural environment. …Kathleen Groenewegen, an inventory and analysis forester with the department, said from 1990 to 2019, managed forests in the N.W.T. (which are almost entirely in the Taiga Plains ecoregion) were usually a sink for carbon, sucking in, on average, 7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. 

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Toronto Dominion Securities invests $10 million in Boreal Wildlands Carbon Project

TD Securities Inc. Equity Capital Markets
Cision Newswire
September 21, 2022
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada East

TORONTO – The Toronto-Dominion Bank announced a $10 million investment into the Boreal Wildlands Carbon Project located in Hearst, Northern Ontario. The project is being developed by Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) in support of its crucial efforts to protect nearly 1,500 square kilometers of boreal forest in Northern Ontario – the largest single private conservation project ever undertaken in Canada. Known as the ‘lungs’ of the planet, Canada’s boreal forests hold more than 10 per cent of the world’s land-based carbon reserves, and their protection remains critical in the fight against biodiversity loss and climate change. Through its investment, TD Securities (TDS) will help conserve more than 145,173 hectares of mixed hardwood and softwood boreal forest. TDS will receive access to a portion of the carbon offsets generated from the project. The investment demonstrates TD’s commitment to supporting the growth and development of voluntary carbon markets by providing innovative financing solutions.

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EU vote allows biomass to continue to help meet RED goals

By Erin Voegele
Biomass Magazine
September 14, 2022
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, International

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) on Sept. 14 voted in favor of proposals for a revised Renewable Energy Directive (REDIII). The proposals aim to raise the share of renewables in the European Union’s final energy consumption to 45 percent by 2030. They also address the use of woody biomass. The MEPs decision, in part, allows biomass energy, including primary woody biomass, to continue counting towards the renewable energy targets. MEPs, however, also adopted amendments calling for phasing down the share of primary wood biomass counted as renewable energy. …Under the proposal, the energy share from solid biomass fuels derived from primary woody biomass cannot exceed the share of the overall energy consumption of the average of such fuel in 2017-2022, based on the latest available data. Bioenergy groups are welcoming the adoption of the REDIII but stress that the new definition of primary woody biomass raises some concerns.

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Elevated carbon dioxide has had a strong and consistently positive effect on wood volume

By Eric Davis, Brent Sohngen and David Lewis
Nature Communications
September 19, 2022
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

Over the last half century in the United States, the per-hectare volume of wood in trees has increased. …This paper uses empirical analysis to estimate the effect of elevated carbon dioxide on aboveground wood volume in temperate forests of the US. To accomplish this, we employ matching techniques that allow us to disentangle the effects of elevated carbon dioxide from other environmental factors affecting wood volume and to estimate the effects separately for planted and natural stands. We show that elevated carbon dioxide has had a strong and consistently positive effect on wood volume while other environmental factors yielded a mix of both positive and negative effects. This study, by enabling a better understanding of how elevated carbon dioxide and other anthropogenic factors are influencing forest stocks, can help policymakers and other stakeholders better account for the role of forests in Nationally Determined Contributions and global mitigation pathways to achieve a 1.5 degree Celsius target.

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American Forest Foundation Awarded $35 Million Grant to Unlock Climate-Smart Market Opportunities for Family Forest Owners

By Kristen Voorhees
The American Forest Foundation
September 14, 2022
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

WASHINGTON — The American Forest Foundation, a national conservation organization that works to deliver meaningful conservation impact through the empowerment of family forest owners, received $35 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities to expand climate-smart forest products markets for family forest owners. “The USDA’s groundbreaking investment will help AFF unlock the potential of family forests to reach our nation’s ambitious climate goals,” said Rita Hite, president and CEO of the American Forest Foundation. “We are energized by the Administration’s commitment to investing in rural America and advancing win-win solutions for people and our planet. This funding will be instrumental in catalyzing the impact of AFF’s Family Forest Carbon Program to support and empower all landowners in the fight against climate change.” …The initiative aims to engage 1,600 landowners with an estimated 162,000 acres of family forests within a five-year time frame. 

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Study: U.S. Urban Biomass Has $786 Million Potential in a Circular System

By Stefanie Valentic
Waste 360
September 20, 2022
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

Urban forests – street trees, municipal parks – in the United States are estimated to span 51.5 million hectares of land and hold 800 million metric tons of carbon. In a new study published in One Earth and funded by Yale University and the US National Science Foundation, scientists examined the economic benefits of creating circular systems for urban biomass. “Substantial urban tree waste is generated and underutilized in the U.S ,”  the study authors stated. “Circular utilization of urban tree wastes has been explored in the literature, but the life-cycle environmental implications of varied utilization pathways have not been fully understood.” Researchers tackled the life-cycle environmental implications of managing and utilizing uban tree waste to determine the best means of diversion and reuse. …Five scenarios were identified as “different pathways” to waste diversion. Scenario 1 explored landfilling, while others studied biochar, composting and other methods.

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European Parliament Continues to Recognize Primary Woody Biomass as a Renewable Energy Source

By Enviva Inc.
Businesswire
September 14, 2022
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, International

BETHESDA, Md.–Today, the European Parliament once again voted to recognize primary woody biomass as a renewable energy source. This is consistent with its prior classification under both the first Renewable Energy Directive (RED) and RED II. Enviva Inc. welcomes the designation as it marks a critical step in the right direction toward … all-in renewables strategy to reduce carbon emissions and limit global dependence on fossil fuels. “One thing is clear: wood-based biomass is a building block of the energy transition and, despite the vote of left-green Members of the European Parliament, can still be counted as renewable energy. The new directive will set the necessary framework to achieve the greatest possible CO2 reduction effect and not to ensure that our forests are burned in the future. I am counting on the member states to follow our proposals as the procedure progresses (“trilogue”),” continued Mr. Pieper in his statement.

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EU limits subsidies for burning trees under renewable energy directive

By Jennifer Rankin
The Guardian UK
September 14, 2022
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, International

The European parliament has called to end public subsidies for the environmentally destructive practice of burning trees for fuel, but campaigners warned the plans risked being “too little, too late”. Voting on an amendment to the EU’s renewable energy directive, MEPs called to “phase down” the share of trees counted as renewable energy in EU targets. But they swerved setting any dates to reduce the burning of “primary wood”. …The EU wants to expand renewable energy as fast as possible, as it seeks to accelerate the green transition and end dependence on Russian fossil fuels. MEPs voted for 45% of EU energy to come from renewable sources by 2030. …In a long-awaited vote on Wednesday, MEPs voted to end subsidies for “primary woody biomass”, namely healthy, standing trees logged for fuel, or fallen trees. …The vote sets the stage for negotiations between MEPs and the EU’s 27 national governments.

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‘Timber Cities’ Might Help Decarbonize the World

By Bob Berwyn
Inside Climate News
September 12, 2022
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, International

Buildings constructed with more wood, and less cement and steel, would help decarbonize the construction and housing industries in line with global goals to cut greenhouse gas emissions 50 percent by 2030 and reach net zero emissions by 2050, new research shows. The paper, published Aug. 30 in Nature Communications, explains that building mid-rise wood dwellings to meet the demand from rapidly expanding urban populations could avoid about 100 gigatons of carbon dioxide emissions through 2100—about 10 percent of the reduction needed to cap global warming below 2 degrees Celsius. …Lead author Abhijeet Mishra, with the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impacts Research said… “An earlier paper looked at how buildings can be a global carbon sink.” But that work did not answer the question of where the wood would come from. “The idea was to fill that gap,” he said. The scale of wood construction envisioned would require about 555,000 square miles of additional tree plantations. 

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Forests’ carbon uptake will be compromised by climate change, leaf temperature study suggests

By Oregon State University
Phys.Org
September 12, 2022
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, International

A new study led by Oregon State University suggests leaves in forest canopies are not able to cool themselves below the surrounding air temperature, likely meaning trees’ ability to avoid damaging temperature increases, and to pull carbon from the atmosphere, will be compromised in a warmer, drier climate. The findings contrast with a prevailing theory in the scientific community that canopy leaves can keep their temperature within an optimal range for photosynthesis. Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the research… showed that canopy leaves warm faster than air, are warmer than air during most of the day and only cool below air temperature in mid- to late-afternoon. Future climate warming is likely to lead to even greater canopy leaf temperatures, which would negatively impact forest carbon cycling and enhance forest mortality risk, the scientists say. [also see further coverage in Florida State University News]

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Companies Are Buying Large Numbers of Carbon Offsets That Don’t Cut Emissions

By Shane Shifflett
The Wall Street Journal
September 8, 2022
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

With the boom in renewable energy, many of the credits that trade hands merely represent a transfer of money from one profitable enterprise to another, critics say. …Companies looking to offset their emissions are buying credits in vast numbers that do little to help neutralize their carbon output. Pedro Martins Barata, a former executive board member of the U.N. program, known as CDM, says he is concerned the market lacks transparency, making it difficult for buyers to understand which projects would have happened without issuing credits. “No one should buy any of that stuff anymore,” said Mr. Martins, who is now at the Environmental Defense Fund. …Surging demand for credits is being driven by companies, often under pressure from investors, governments and customers, to reduce their net carbon footprint. More than 5,000 companies have signed a U.N. pledge to eliminate or offset their greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050. [to access the full story a WSJ subscription is required]

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USDA grants $30 million for increased carbon storage in New England forests

By Susan Sharon
Main Public Radio
September 14, 2022
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US East

The U.S Department of Agriculture announced on Wednesday funding for what’s being called a potentially transformational pilot program to help forest landowners in Maine and the rest of New England mitigate climate change. The goal of the program is to remove more carbon from the atmosphere by growing more and better quality wood, verifying the results and building markets for climate-friendly wood products. The New England Climate Smart Forest Partnership Project is one of 70 projects announced by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to sequester and store carbon and reduce other greenhouse gas emissions. “During the life of these projects, we’re hopeful of recording more than 50-million metric tons of CO2-equivalent reductions and greenhouse gas reductions and carbon sequestration benefits. That’s equal to about ten million cars being taken off the road,” Vilsack said.

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Pioneering the first Mass Timber Carbon Removal Methodology

Timber Finance Initiative
September 28, 2022
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Seattle, Zurich – The Timber Finance Initiative, Green Canopy NODE, South Pole and Gordian Knot Strategies have joined efforts in creating the first mass timber carbon credit methodology. They are developing a globally applicable carbon credit methodology for mass timber construction in Verra’s Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) GHG crediting Program. Verra will serve as the independent standard-setter for the methodology. The Working Group …will develop a concept note to be submitted to Verra’s VCS Program… later this year. The final methodology will then be developed by the Timber Finance Initiative and South Pole. A rigorous carbon methodology will help realize the climate value of stored carbon in mass timber construction and help scale mass timber as a negative emissions technology and low-emissions building material. …Sustainably sourced mass timber mitigates climate change twofold: By removing CO2 from the atmosphere and storing it long-term in buildings and by replacing GHG-intensive conventional building materials.

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Climate campaigner ejected from Labour event sponsored by Drax power plant firm

By Alex Lawson
The Guardian
September 27, 2022
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

An environmental campaigner has been ejected from an event sponsored by the power station operator Drax at the Labour party conference after criticising the company’s use of biomass. The owner of the North Yorkshire power station sponsored a debate on Tuesday on Britain’s net zero climate goals on the fringes of the political party’s conference in Liverpool. The company’s group director of corporate affairs, Clare Harbord, was on the panel. Climate campaigners have accused Drax of greenwashing and argue that its biomass operations, which burn wood to produce electricity, are far from green and can even increase the CO2 emissions driving the climate crisis. The talk in Liverpool was titled “Reaching net zero: how can the UK boost energy security and invest in green jobs?” Several campaigners interrupted the discussion to question Drax’s green credentials.

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Will Indonesia’s new forest pact with Norway open door to more funding?

By Michael Taylor
Thomson Reuters Foundation
September 22, 2022
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

KUALA LUMPUR – A new funding pact between Indonesia and Norway to cut carbon emissions by protecting and restoring rainforest should kick-start similar deals between the Southeast Asian country and rich nations, said green groups, which broadly back the partnership. Indonesia abruptly ended its previous accord with Norway a year ago, due to apparent disagreements and slow progress in releasing payments based on the results of work to curb forest loss. The new five-year collaboration, outlined in a memorandum of understanding (MoU) inked by ministers in Jakarta last week, will provide annual payments in line with evidence showing emissions from deforestation have been avoided or reduced through conservation efforts. …There is a risk that Indonesia’s government will curb deforestation to an extent but continue to allow some commodity-driven felling in the name of “progress”, while freezing much-needed reforms to secure indigenous peoples’ rights, he added.

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Vultures Prevent Tens of Millions of Metric Tons of Carbon Emissions Each Year

By Ian Rose
Scientific American
September 20, 2022
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Vultures are obligate scavengers, meaning they get all their food from already dead prey… [They are] nature’s flying sanitation crew. And new research adds to that positive picture by detailing these birds’ role in a surprising process: mitigating greenhouse gas emissions. …the 22 species of vultures found around the world are often the first scavengers to discover and feed on a carcass. This cleanup provides a vital service to both ecosystems and humans: it keeps nutrients cycling and controls pathogens that could otherwise spread from dead animals to living ones. Decaying animal bodies release greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide and methane. But most of these emissions can be prevented if vultures get to the remains first …U.S. Forest Service scientist Grant Domke points to studies on large-scale wildfires that show their detrimental impact on emissions and sequestration has the same order of magnitude as the beneficial effect shown by vultures. 

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Tide Turning on Use of Wood-Burning for Renewable Energy in Europe: ENGO

By Partnership for Policy Integrity (PFPI)
Business Wire
September 20, 2022
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

BRUSSELS — A vote last week by the European Parliament marks a first step toward new restrictions on burning “primary woody biomass” for renewable energy under the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive (RED). The Parliament’s proposal, to be finalized after negotiations with the European Council and Commission, would end subsidies for energy generated by burning most forest biomass by 2024. …On the heels of the vote, a group of NGOs from across the EU have filed a legal case seeking to block forest bioenergy and forestry projects from inclusion under the Sustainable Finance Taxonomy, the EU’s new guidance for sustainable investments. Together, these measures could be a turning point for the EU, which allows energy from wood-burning to count toward renewable energy targets. …Power plants burning forest biomass currently receive a significant portion of the €17 billion per year that EU member states grant in bioenergy subsidies overall.

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How Putin’s Invasion Of Ukraine Produced A Windfall For Enviva’s Wood Pellets Business

By Christopher Helman
Forbes
September 20, 2022
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

John Keppler

In North Carolina eastern pine harvest remains … head for one of 10 plants run by Enviva, to be made into wood pellets. …“We’re already sold out,” boasts John Keppler, Enviva’s cofounder and CEO. Earlier this year, the Bethesda, Maryland-based company locked in take-or-pay contracts to sell German and other European customers millions of tons of pellets over the next 15 years at upwards of $250 a ton, a record price that now yields gross margins of $43 a ton, up 14% over last year. The pellets fuel plants that might have previously relied on Russian coal or natural gas. In Europe, natural gas prices have jumped ten-fold in two years to the equivalent of $60 per thousand cubic feet (versus $8.25/mcf in America). “There’s never been a better time to be in the pellet business,” Keppler says. …“Every ton we produce is a ton of coal that stays in the ground,’’ he says. Many environmentalists doubt that’s a good tradeoff.

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Beer shortage threat in UK as carbon dioxide price hike impacts brewers

By Nick Wood
The Daily Record
September 17, 2022
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

The UK beer industry is under threat, as rising carbon dioxide (CO2) prices could impact production – and even cause a shortage of the beverage ahead of the busy Christmas season. CO2 plays a crucial role in the beer-making process, from carbonation to packaging, meaning brewers are facing the pressure to meet costs. Carbon Herald reports prices of the gas have currently peaked at £2,800 per tonne. Three months ago, producers were paying £250 per metric tonne of CO2. The production of CO2 has been impacted partly due to rising wholesale gas prices. As the gas is a bi-product of fertiliser, the rising costs meant many fertiliser plants in the UK were forced to close. Last month, US fertiliser group CF Industries – which produces about a third of this country’s supply of CO2 – announced it would be shutting down its ammonia plant in the UK.

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New tech aims to track carbon in every tree, boost carbon market integrity

By Carolyn Cowan
Mongabay
September 19, 2022
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Climate scientists and data engineers have developed a new digital platform billed as the first-ever global tool for accurately calculating the carbon stored in every tree on the planet. Founded on two decades of research and development, the new platform from nonprofit CTrees leverages artificial intelligence-enabled satellite datasets to give users a near-real-time picture of forest carbon storage and emissions around the world. With forest protection and restoration at the center of international climate mitigation efforts, CTrees is set to officially launch at COP27 in November, with the overall aim of bringing an unprecedented level of transparency and accountability to climate policy initiatives that rely on forests to offset carbon emissions. Forest experts broadly welcome the new platform, but also underscore the risk of assessing forest restoration and conservation projects solely by the amount of carbon sequestered.

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EU taxonomy forest bioenergy inclusion ‘unlawful’ say NGOs

By Natasha Turner
ESG Clarity
September 16, 2022
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

European NGOs have today announced legal action seeking to block forest bioenergy and other forestry projects from the Sustainable Finance Taxonomy, calling their inclusion ‘unlawful’. The Taxonomy, which has been criticised for including nuclear and natural gas as sustainable investments, also includes projects that accelerate logging and burning forest wood despite their substantial impact on ecosystems and the climate, the groups said. As a result, seven NGOs, along with legal support, have filed an annulment action arguing that the qualifying criteria for forestry and bioenergy projects violate basic legal obligations under primary EU law as well as key obligations under the Taxonomy Regulation because they are not based in scientific evidence, they fail to mitigate climate change, and they cause significant harm to the environment. …“The European Commission has failed to provide any scientific basis for the forest and bioenergy criteria,” said Elsie Blackshaw-Crosby.

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European Parliament backs 45% renewable energy goal for 2030

By Paul Messad
EURACTIV
September 14, 2022
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

The European Parliament voted on 14 September in favour of a 45% target for renewable energy in the EU’s energy mix by 2030, paving the way for negotiations with the 27 member states to finalise the text before the end of the year. Russia’s war in Ukraine is “a war on our energy, a war on our economy, a war on our values and a war on our future”. Those words were those of Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission President who was addressing Parliament on Wednesday in her annual State of the Union speech. And MEPs apparently took note. With 418 votes in favour, 109 against and 111 abstentions, the Parliament adopted a new revision of the 2018 directive on renewable energies, part of EU plans presented last year aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55% before the end of the decade. 

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Wooden Cities Key To Cutting Worldwide Carbon Emissions To Combat Climate Change

New Zealand Forest Owners’ Association
Scoop Business
September 13, 2022
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

NEW ZEALAND — The Forest Owners Association President is predicting massive increases in the worldwide demand for engineered timber construction. Grant Dodson has told delegates at the Forest Institute Conference in Auckland that continuing worldwide urbanisation, coupled with the need to reduce carbon emissions from concrete and steel construction, will result in many counties encouraging mid-rise timber accommodation. He says a recent study published by the Potsdam Institute of Climate Research projects that the worldwide demand for wood for such building will need the global plantation forest area to at least double, and perhaps triple, by 2100. …Dodson also told delegates here in New Zealand the demand for wood for fuel had already begun to increase. He commended Fonterra’s aim of converting all its powder driers from coal by 2037 and said the cooperative was leading the biofuel revolution in New Zealand. 

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Politicians can’t be short-sighted on energy security

By Mark Sommerfield
CAPX
September 13, 2022
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

UK — We are facing a once-in-a-generation energy crisis which will require an unprecedented response from the Government. So it was strange to see Stepan Stepanenko in these pages call for the Prime Minister to ‘take a long, hard look’ at one of our most dependable energy sources. Biomass currently delivers enough renewable energy to power 4 million homes, displacing fossil fuels and supporting more wind and solar power. Energy is complex. We should tread lightly when encouraging politicians to take sides on energy sources. Misguided intervention into energy markets tends to drive up costs and have unwanted ripple effects. Effective energy policy should be underpinned by the expertise of scientists and engineers. …In the case of biomass, its value to our energy system is apparent and the science points to a clear conclusion. Sustainable biomass is vital to both the present and future of our energy mix.

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IEA Bioenergy argues bioenergy from wood is “part of a sustainable energy mix”

By Paul Bennett, IAE Bioenergy
Bioenergy Insight
September 12, 2022
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

As the European Parliament (EP) prepares to vote on biomass amendments on 14 September, and amidst a report that the three largest groups in the EP have backed proposals to end subsidies for biomass used in power plants and exclude primary wood burning from the EU’s renewable energy targets, IEA Bioenergy has released a statement. Dr Paul Bennett, Chair of the Executive Committee of IEA Bioenergy, said: “Europe is facing a hard winter season due to Russia’s war in Ukraine and the question is: where enough electricity and heat will come from at affordable prices? Urgent action is required to move away from the reliance on fossil fuels, both for energy security and for the climate. “But there are campaigns currently being run against bioenergy from wood that misrepresent on-the-ground forestry practice. This is dangerously short-sighted and ignoring broader environmental and social implications. Policy-making should be based on facts, not on fiction.

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Alder Fuels and Enviva to commercialize sustainable aviation fuel

By Per Jonsson
Forestry.com
September 12, 2022
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

The carbon dioxide emissions must decrease. By 2050, the net emissions of greenhouse gases shall be zero according to the EU’s Green Deal. Similar targets have been presented by many governments and leaders around the globe. Aviation is often pointed out as “the bad guys”. Here in Sweden, we talk about “flight shame” meaning shame on the ones who fly instead of taking the train. But the aviation industry is working on it. Will they eventually be the ones that solve the problem? On the 6th of September 2022, Alder Fuels, a clean tech developer and green crude producer, presented the news that they will team up with Enviva, a US producer of woody biomass, to commercialize the supply of Sustainable Aviation Fuel. Enviva will supply up to 750.000 metric tons of woody biomass (forest residue) to Alder’s first Green Crude production plant, soon to be under construction. The supply is planned to commence in 2024. 

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Over-Dependence on Carbon Removal Technologies Could Increase Climate Change and Food Security Risks

By Laura Thomson
AZoCleantech
September 8, 2022
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

In a new study published in Nature, an international group of scientists emphasized the risk of depending on carbon removal technologies to curb climate change. To curb global warming to below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels, researchers and others are placing their hopes on the world’s copious supply of biomass – materials such as wood remains, agricultural remnants, and energy crops – to set up mass bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS), the use of which is also presumed to grow significantly in the future. However, …the harmful effects of climate change on crop yields may decrease the capacity of BECCS and endanger food security, thus forming an undetected positive feedback loop on global warming. Scientists from IIASA, Fudan University in Shanghai, China, and other organizations worldwide attempted to measure the strength of this feedback by closely considering the relationship between climate change, bioenergy, agriculture, and carbon removal technologies.

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Tropical soils highly sensitive to global warming, warn researchers

By University of Leeds
Phys.Org
September 8, 2022
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Global warming is likely to cause a decline in the number of species of microbes that live in tropical soils which could threaten the biodiversity of rainforests and increase carbon emissions, according to new research. Microorganisms, which include bacteria and fungi, play a key role in the health of tropical forest ecosystems. They breakdown dead organic matter, and use, transform or release as CO2. About a third of the carbon stored in soils is held in tropical soils—and they support around two-thirds of the world’s . Climate models suggest the tropics could warm by two to five degrees centigrade by the end of the century. To date, there has been little scientific research into the impact this level of warming could have on the tropical microbes that play a key role in plant health and in mediating carbon emissions.

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There’s a New Race to Develop Bite-Sized Carbon Capture Tech

By Shoko Oda
Bloomberg News in the Financial Post
September 9, 2022
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Technology to remove carbon dioxide from emissions before they enter the atmosphere is still nascent, but many scientists, governments and investors are already banking on the approach to reduce the climate impact of difficult-to-decarbonize industries. Carbon capture technology operates a bit like a giant vacuum, sucking planet-warming CO₂ from emissions generated by the burning of carbon-intensive fuels. But wide-scale adoption has so far been stymied by the size and expense of most capture systems, which can cost up to $500 million and typically require bespoke equipment and installation. New standardized, modular designs that are aimed at small emitters could open the door for more widespread use. Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. plans to start introducing a line-up of small to medium-sized carbon capture systems next year, which it says can sequester up to 95% of CO₂ emitted from small polluters like municipal waste incinerators, cement plants or ships. 

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Leaders will build on Glasgow legacy to establish Forests & Climate Leaders’ Partnership at COP27

By Alok Sharma MP
UK Government
September 21, 2022
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

COP26 President Alok Sharma is calling on world leaders to join the launch of the Forests and Climate Leaders’ Partnership at COP27, to scale up action to protect, conserve and restore the world’s forests while delivering sustainable development and promoting an inclusive rural transformation. He is also calling on future COP Presidencies to join the UK in maintaining momentum on forests year on year.  Participating countries will meet annually to enhance collective efforts to maximise the contribution of forests and sustainable land use to  global and national climate goals. …The first meeting of the Forests and Climate Leaders’ Partnership is taking place at COP27 in Egypt this November. …Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada, said: “There is no path to fighting climate change and building a healthy future that does not involve forests.”

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Exploring the Massive Clean Energy Boondoggle of Burning Trees as Carbon Neutral

Mish Talk
September 18, 2022
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

In 2018, the EPA Declared That Burning Wood Is Carbon Neutral. …The Environmental Protection Agency announced that it would begin to count the burning of “forest biomass”—a.k.a. wood—as carbon neutral. The change will classify burning of wood pellets a renewable energy similar to solar or wind power. [But] Even if a tree is planted for every tree converted to fuel pellets, trees regrown on plantations don’t store the same carbon as natural forests. One recent study suggests it would take 40 to 100 years for a managed forest to capture the same amount of carbon as a natural forest. And since most plantation forests are harvested at 20 year intervals, they will never make it to the carbon-neutral point. “Unless forests are guaranteed to regrow to carbon parity, production of wood pellets for fuel is likely to result in more CO2 in the atmosphere and fewer species than there are today,” William Schlesinger writes.

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