Drax have today announced that they are abandoning plans for a huge biomass power plant in Yorkshire that alone would have consumed about 1.9 million tonnes of wood each year. See here for the story.
The RSPB welcomes this announcement as good news for wildlife and good news for the climate, and are calling on Government to act now to ensure other ‘forest burner’ power plants share the same fate.
Last Autumn we published an alarming report based on a review of plans for biomass power stations in the UK. We found 57 power plants burning biomass that are either in operation, proposed or in development as a result of generous Government subsidies. Most of these intended to import wood from countries like the US, Brazil and Canada to generate electricity; in total they would be responsible for importing 39 million tonnes of biomass every year. This compares to the ~10mn tonnes of wood that is harvested from UK forests each year.
Clearly, this would be a disaster for the climate and for wildlife as forests are felled and thinned to fuel the plants. That’s why the RSPB has been campaigning for subsidies for new biomass power plant to be removed, in favour of genuinely green renewable energy like wind, wave and solar power, as well as small scale biomass heat and combined heat and power.
Here at the RSPB, we are deeply concerned that runaway global warming will undermine what we're doing to save nature from today's causes of decline - particularly agricultural expansion and intensification.
We often hear people casually shrugging off the evidence and claiming climate change isn't happening. A more common response in the nature conservation community is to accept and understand climate science- most people in this sector have some background in science after all - but focus on the now and act like it isn't happening.
Well, this striking new video from NASA is a neat reminder of the evidence of the existing warming trend. It shows temperature change across the world over the last 100 years, with red indicating a higher temperature than the baseline period (1951-1980) and blue showing a lower temperature.
We'll be doing more stories on this blog this year as to what this means for birds and wildlife, who are on the frontline of this change and are already feeling the impact.