While forest advocates had high hopes, the EU parliament voted this week not to declassify woody biomass as a renewable energy source, paving the way for more EU, U.S., and Canadian forests to be turned into wood pellets and burned.
Mongabay series: Bioenergy
Proponents of Swiss biomass are subject to an “Alice in Wonderland Syndrome,” expecting the public to believe in many impossible things, including that burning forest biomass is carbon neutral, sustainable and clean, critics say.
For the first time, a portion of the EU government has challenged the sustainability of burning forest biomass to make energy, a controversial policy pushed by the forestry industry but condemned by environmentalists.
The EU remains committed to burning forests to make energy, despite conclusive scientific evidence of its climate destabilizing impacts. In a new strategy, forest advocates plan to take the EU to court to fight that policy.
The E.U. continues to struggle with the irony of a commitment to conserving forests, while also burning forest biomass and ignoring the carbon emissions that causes — all in order to achieve a mandate to end burning oil, gas and coal.
The Glasgow climate summit is failing to address the danger of burning forests to make energy — a practice classified as carbon neutral, though science shows that its emissions exceed that of coal per unit of energy produced.
More than 100 scientists have issued a letter urging U.S. President Biden and Congress to remove provisions promoting logging, forest biomass and fossil fuels from the multitrillion-dollar infrastructure and reconciliation (Build Back Better) bills.
Cooking with firewood, diesel and gas all add to climate change and is harmful to health. So innovators have launched solar cookery enterprises that could transform Mexico’s fossil fuel-dependent businesses.
New research has tracked biomass industry carbon emissions, finding that U.S. wood pellet production, transatlantic shipping, and U.K. and E.U. pellet burning, plus a loss of stored forest carbon, combine in substantial unreported emissions.
Mongabay joins a noted forest ecologist in Olympic National Park to experience its magnificence and significance as a bastion of biodiversity and a carbon storehouse; protection of these vanishing U.S. and Canadian ecosystems is vital, say scientists.
The EU and the forestry industry say burning wood to make energy is carbon neutral and cleaner than coal. But critics say biomass is a disaster for forests, biodiversity and the climate. Mongabay reviews the evidence on both sides.
The waters of Lake Victoria — the world’s largest freshwater tropical lake — are clogged by water hyacinth that harm the fishery, economy and health. Locals are combatting the invader by turning it into biofuel.
The biomass industry says that burning wood to make energy is carbon neutral. Environmentalists say biomass is a disaster for forests, biodiversity and the climate. Mongabay reviews independent scientific evidence on both sides.
Though Shell, Chevron and others have abandoned the quest for the Holy Grail — a revolutionary algae biofuel that could be scaled up to replace oil — ExxonMobil continues the search; but is it all just greenwash?
Combining to hamstring Mexico’s climate-friendly biodiesel industry: a lack of regulatory support, a president favoring fossil fuels, competition from other industries for used cooking oil, and a crime network.
Biogas may play a key role in the global renewable energy transition, helping communities and nations meet multiple U.N. Sustainable Development Goals and their pledged Paris Agreement emissions cuts.
Cambodians have long used charcoal to cook their food, with its use ingrained in the culture. Innovative entrepreneurs, using education and briquettes made from coconut shell and woody waste, are changing norms.
Soaring demand for charcoal, especially in urban areas, is putting intense pressure on Ugandan forests as well as on local fruit trees, which are being cut to make fuel for cooking and small-scale enterprises.
In lead up to EU forest biomass “carbon neutrality” decision, European Commission Exec. VP Frans Timmermans argues in favor of forest conservation, while also favoring burning wood to make “transition” energy.
The US, China, UK, EU, Japan, South Korea, Canada and others upped their climate ambitions at Joe Biden’s Earth Day Leaders Summit on Climate, but activists pointed to duplicitous policies on forest biomass, coal, and more.
Last fall, the ruling New Democratic Party promised to defer cutting BC’s last old-growth, but the NDP has so far failed to act and may be embracing the province’s old policy: forestry first; nature and planet a distant second.
The Netherlands has voted to stop issuing new subsidies for the burning of forests to generate heat. Though a small win for critics who say biomass is not carbon neutral, the vote could influence a June EU biomass review.
Scientists implore US, EU, Japan, South Korea and UK to stop harvesting forests to turn into wood pellets to burn as fuel at converted coal-burning power plants; a policy the UN has erroneously condoned as “carbon neutral.”
Michael Regan, President Biden’s choice to head the Environmental Protection Agency, in 2019 saw no climate benefit to the production of wood pellets in North Carolina to make energy abroad; what will he do at EPA?
- Indigenous community in Peru losing forests to timber, drug, land trafficking
- Bolivian protected areas hit hard by forest fires
- The protected area that isn’t: Bolivia’s Ñembi Guasu beset by fires, farms, roads
- New oil refinery ‘a huge disaster’ for Nigerian forest reserve
- As shark numbers plummet, nations seek ban on devastatingly effective gear
- Illegal bottom trawling widespread inside Mediterranean marine protected areas
- Will shipping noise nudge Africa’s only penguin toward extinction?
- A new tool to peer into fishing networks: Q&A with Austin Brush of C4ADS
- U.N. report calls for the ban of mercury trade and its use in gold mining
- Following the impacts of palm oil alliance: Violated regulations and penalty proceedings
- Brazil’s new environmental future under Lula: Q&A with Marina Silva
- Growing soy on cattle pasture can eliminate Amazon deforestation in Brazil
Land rights and extractives
- ‘We go in and take Indigenous lands back from cattle ranchers’: Q&A with activist Pablo Sibar
- Delayed Indigenous ‘Man of the Hole’ burial reveals dispute over his land
- As gangs battle over Peru’s drug trafficking routes, communities and forest are at risk
- In Brazil’s soy belt, Indigenous people face attacks over land rights
- Worries and whispers in Vietnam’s NGO community after activist’s sentencing
- Scientists call for end to violence against Amazon communities, environmental defenders
- Indigenous advocates sense a legal landmark as a guardian’s killing heads to trial
- In Brazil, an Indigenous land defender’s unsolved killing is the deadly norm
Indonesia's Forest Guardians
- Pioneer agroforester Ermi, 73, rolls back the years in Indonesia’s Gorontalo
- After 20 years and thousands of trees planted, Kalimantan’s veteran forester persists
- Aziil Anwar, Indonesian coral-based mangrove grower, dies at 64
- A utopia of clean air and wet peat amid Sumatra’s forest fire ‘hell’
- Mangrove forest loss is slowing toward a halt, new report shows
- ‘South Asia needs its own tiger plan’: Q&A with Nepal’s Maheshwar Dhakal
- Nepal was supposed to double its tiger population since 2010. It tripled it
- In prioritizing conservation, animal culture should be a factor, study says
Southeast Asian infrastructure
- Tunnel collapse at dam project in orangutan habitat claims yet another life
- Sulawesi nickel plant coats nearby homes in toxic dust
- Indonesia’s grand EV plans hinge on a ‘green’ industrial park that likely isn’t
- Java communities rally as clock ticks on cleanup of ‘world’s dirtiest river’