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Protest Enviva : Forests Not Fuel!

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Sheraton Hotel

1 Festival Square

Edinburgh

EH3 9SR

United Kingdom

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Forests Not Fuel!

On the 4th and 5th of October, one the of world’s largest bioenergy conferences will be coming to Edinburgh.

Attending the conference will be Enviva, a company responsible for an emerging environmental disaster in Southern US forests : cutting down endangered, old growth wetland forests and turning them into wood pellets to burn in power stations.

The UK is the world’s largest importer of wood pellets, burning pellets made from 15 million tonnes of green wood last year (by comparison, the entire UK only produced 10.8 million tonnes of wood last year).

At this conference, Enviva and other wood pellet companies will try and convince the Scottish Government that burning wood for electricity is clean, green and sustainable: it’s not - it pollutes the climate, destroys precious habitat and is an incredibly wasteful use of wood resources. We need forests to stay standing for the climate, for our health and for the thousands of unique species which call them home.

Join us to tell Enviva and the Scottish Government that Forests Aren’t Fuel!

Leafleting delegates 8.30am - 9.30am, Protest 12.30pm - 2pm (more details tbc - check back here for updates)

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More about Enviva and biomass electricity:

Enviva is the world’s largest producer of wood pellets, producing nearly 3 million tonnes annually. Enviva source the majority of these wood pellets from old growth wetland forests in the South-East of the USA, or from monoculture pine plantations which are replacing them.

These forests are a unique and highly endangered ecosystem. They contain the highest tree diversity in North America, being covered in hundreds of different species of oak, cypress, gum and elm. They’re the only home of weird and wonderful species such as the Venus fly trap and the red-cockaded woodpecker, as well as bears, bats, wolves, turtles, manatees, and many more besides. In fact, the North American Coastal forests were recently designated a ‘biodiversity hotspot’, due to extremely high levels of unique and rare species, and extremely high levels of threat.

Only 20% of original forest cover remains, mostly highly fragmented. Only 10% of the remaining forest is protected, and the demand for wood is rising rapidly: the logging rate for Southern forests was four times that of South American rainforests from 2000 to 2012.

The UK is mainly responsible for this rising demand. The extra 2 million tonnes of exported US wood pellet production from 2012 to 2014 all went to the UK. Drax Power Station in Yorkshire is the largest buyer, and burned 6.6 million tonnes of pellets in 2016, (made from 13.2 million tonnes of green wood).

At this conference, Enviva and other wood pellet companies will be trying to convince the Scottish Government that burning wood to generate electricity is sustainable, great for the climate and benefits local communities. This couldn’t be further from the truth:

- It takes minutes to burn a tree, but decades for it to regrow. These companies often claim they’re using waste wood or residues, but available waste wood in the US is miniscule compared to the demand for wood pellets. Replacing even a portion of society’s fossil fuel use with biomass would mean converting millions of acres of forest to monoculture plantation, and there simply isn’t enough land for this demand.

- Burning trees for electricity is not carbon neutral - in fact, it increases CO2 emissions in the atmosphere relative to coal for 35-100 years. To combat climate change, we desperately need to be expanding forests, not cutting them down and assuming that in the future they’ll soak up the extra CO2 emitted.

- Burning wood emits similar air pollutants to coal, but more small particulates, which are highly dangerous to health. Wood pellet processing facilities also come with a host of local impacts on water and air.

There are far superior alternatives to biomass electricity : wind and solar are many times more efficient at using land to generate energy, and many times better for the climate. Energy demand reduction is the cheapest option and is crucial to transition to a zero-carbon society. We need proper investment in these types of energy rather than support for an archaic, combustion-based biomass energy.

For more info, see biofuelwatch.org.uk/end-biomass-subsidies

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Sheraton Hotel

1 Festival Square

Edinburgh

EH3 9SR

United Kingdom

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