The Assault of Bioenergy
The government believes it can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by providing finance to renewable energy technologies through subsidies called Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs). As well as providing support for clean technologies like wind and solar, ROCs also finance electricity from biomass and bioliquids, which increase greenhouse gas emissions, drive deforestation, and worsen air quality locally.
Greenhouse gas emissions from burning biomass are around 50% higher than those from burning coal per unit of energy. The Committee on Climate Change has expressed concern that the large scale use of biomass electricity would hinder rather than help the UK’s transition to a low carbon economy.
Bioliquids produce significant levels of local air pollution affecting health in this country, as well as black carbon (soot) which accelerates polar ice melt. Per unit of energy, biomass burning compared to coal produces higher levels of nitrogen dioxide and small particulates which are linked to respiratory and heart diseases. The Environmental Audit Committee recently found that the Government is already putting thousands of UK lives at risk by not adequately addressing air quality problems, and the European Environment Agency has just reported on air quality noting with concern the increasing use of wood burning in Europe.
The sourcing of biofuels and biomass from overseas is directly linked to natural habitat conversion to monocultures with devastating impacts on biodiversity. Natural ecosystems because of their biodiverse nature are major drivers of biospheric cycles including the rainfall cycle. Weakening these cycles has very serious implications for global warming, global rainfall patterns and ultimately on global food production.
Biofuels and biomass has also been widely implicated (directly and indirectly) in human rights abuses – including the forced eviction of people from their land and inhumane treatment of workers.
On Tuesday 21st February, 2012, at 7.00pm there will be a public meeting to discuss these issues in Committee Rooms 3 and 4, Council House, Victoria Square, Birmingham, B3 3BD.
Speakers: Deepak Rughani, Bio-fuel Watch
Steve Hall, Socialist Resistance and anti-fracking campaigner
Chair: Chris Crean, West Midlands Friends of the Earth’s regional campaigner
For further details contact:
Deepak Rughani trained as an ecologist.
He taught environmental science at a conservation centre and ecology at London University.
He worked as a change management consultant for 12 years before becoming active as an environmental campaigner in 2005.
Biofuelwatch was set up in 2006 as it became clear that the rush to bioenergy carried with it grave systemic risks to climate, ecosystems, indigenous communities and food production.
Deepak is contactable at firstname.lastname@example.org
If the leaking of smelly shale gas from your water taps and the ground generally, well-head fires and potential earthquakes weren’t a good enough reason to be worried about the expansion of hydraulic fracturing, or ‘fracking’ for shale gas, then the use of toxic chemicals in the fracking process which could be even more disastrous, surely must be. This is because of the possibility of them contaminating not only the surrounding land and water courses when they are pumped back to the surface, but of contaminating underground aquifers as well, from which many get their drinking water.
What we need in this country as well as globally, is not shale gas and what goes with it, but massive state investment in the development of renewable forms of energy like, marine, solar and wind power.
Stephen Hall is a supporter of Socialist Resistance in the North West. He attended last years Camp Frack protests near Preston and he will give an update on the campaign against shale gas extraction.