The November 2014 talk (arranged by Hull FOE and Transition Hull) explored all the reasons why biofuels are not a green answer to the challenge of moving away from fossil fuels.
Duncan Law, a member of Transition Town Brixton and a campaigner with Biofuel Watch UK, came up from London to deliver an excellent, fact-filled talk supported by data and illustrations. His presentation slides are here BiofuelTalk14Slides
The large-scale biomass industry is the cause of huge areas of deforestation, whatever the companies say about using clippings or tops or whatever. The carbon savings are based on dodgy accounting, which doesn’t seem to factor in the time it takes for new trees to grow. The pollution arising from burning biofuels is far more problematic than acknowledged, with some communities suffering serious health effects.
Biofuels are classified by the government as a renewable energy source. After hearing Duncan’s talk this seems untenable. So when discussing renewable energy it is important specifically to exclude industrial-scale Bioenergy. We need to redefine real renewable energy sources to exclude those that do more harm than good.
There are 2 excellent short films which will bring you up to speed on the debate.
- The film Our Forests aren’t Fuel by Dogwood Alliance (7 mins) shows graphically the impact on southern US forests of this industry. http://dia.dogwoodalliance.org/p/salsa/web/questionnaire/public/?questionnaire_KEY=1656
- The film Biomass: Emergency by Reel News (25 mins) focuses powerfully on pollution and justice issues. http://www.biofuelwatch.org.uk/2014/biomass-emergency-video/
The situation in Hull is outlined in this briefing on local bioenergy projects: Hull bioenergy background. See also this piece (November 2014) about the local bioethanol refinery Vivergo http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02cr0bf.
To find out more about Biomass visit Biofuelwatch’s Resources on Biomass, which includes recent reports, short briefings and a Frequently Asked Questions section. http://www.biofuelwatch.org.uk/biomass-resources/
If you want to get involved in the Biofuelwatch campaign please explore some of the options on the Take Action menu on the Biofuelwatch website. You can sign up for Biofuelwatch e-alerts which are a powerful campaigning tool. You will also receive a short monthly newsletter which should inspire and motivate you to get more involved in this hugely important campaign.
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