Delingpole: Trump Must Stop U.S. Hardwood Forests Being Burned for UK ‘Biofuel’

ADVANCE FOR WEEKEND EDITIONS NOV. 26- 27** Hardwood chips burn at some 900-degrees inside the boiler at the Biomass Heating Plant at Mount Wachusett Community College in Gardner, Mass., Friday, Nov. 18, 2005. Around 1000 tons of wood chips are burned annually to fuel the closed loop hydronic heating system …
AP/Elise Amendola

Greenies are up in arms over another environmental scandal of their own making. A TV documentary, shown on Britain’s left-wing Channel 4, has been shocked to discover that old hardwood forests in the U.S. are being chopped down, exported to the UK and burned for what is laughably being billed as “green” energy.

According to the Ecologist:

Huge areas of hardwood forest in the state of Virginia are being chainsawed to create ‘biomass’ energy in Britain as the government attempts to reach targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in efforts to tackle climate change, an investigation by Channel 4 Dispatches has found.

A key part of government efforts to hit its green energy targets is to switch from generating electricity from burning coal to burning wood – or so-called biomass. It’s a policy that is costing taxpayers more than £700 million per year through a levy on their electricity bills.

Well fancy that. Enviroloons caught once again killing the planet in order to save it.

Oscar Wilde would have called this “the rage of Caliban seeing his own face in the glass”.

I call it: “Groundhog Day.” This happens all the time because environmental destruction is not a bug of the Climate Industrial Complex – it’s a feature.

The U.S.-hardwood-for-UK-biomass scandal is a perfect example of the havoc wrought on nature by misguided environmental policy.

It has been in the public domain since at least 2014 when David Rose wrote the first of several exposes in the Mail on Sunday.

He revealed that burning wood as a substitute for coal does not reduce CO2 emissions (it increases them…)

But astonishingly, a new study shows that the switch by Drax from coal to wood is actually increasing carbon emissions. It says they are four times as high as the maximum level the Government sets for plants that use biomass – which is defined as fuel made from plant material that will grow back again, therefore re-absorbing the CO2 emitted when it is burnt.

He revealed that the cost is exorbitant:

At £80 per MW/hr, Drax’s biomass energy is two-and-a-half times more expensive than coal – a cost passed on to customers. Last year Drax soaked up £340 million in ‘green’ subsidies that were added to British consumers’ power bills – a sum set to rocket still further. Without these subsidies, its biomass operation would collapse.

He revealed that, far from using just “eco-friendly” pellets (supposedly left over from things like housebuilding), Drax’s supplier is clear-cutting swathes of hardwood forest which will take years to recover.

In a promotional video for Bloomberg Business last month, the only pellet source that managing director Andy Koss mentioned was the sawdust. He said: ‘We take the sawdust that’s left over from sawmills that are cutting the big trees that go into house-building.’

In fact, according to Drax’s own website, last year sawdust made up just 9.5 per cent of its pellets. A much bigger source is American hardwood trees – such as oak, sweetgum, cypress, maple and beech – supplied by US firm Enviva, which sells Drax a million tons of pellets a year, a quarter of the plant’s 2014 supply. Drax claims the wood it is supplied with is ‘sustainable’.

However, the Dogwood Alliance, a US environmental group, has investigated Enviva operations on the ground several times and found evidence to the contrary.

Drax is proud of its green credentials, and claims that it uses sawdust from sawmills and ‘waste wood’ or ‘leftovers’ – branches and smaller sections – discarded by commercial logging operations

Late last month, Dogwood campaigner Adam Macon travelled with colleagues to the Enviva pellet plant at Ahoskie, North Carolina, where he saw piles of hardwood trunks 40 feet high being fed into the plant’s hopper – the start of the process where the trees are pulped and turned into pellets. These could not be described as ‘leftovers’.

Yet four years on, nothing has been done to correct this crying scandal.

Britain’s ‘Conservative’ government remains so wedded to green ideology and EU-driven renewables targets that actually considers its biomass policy something to boast about.

As it told the Ecologist:

A spokesman for the Government’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy told Channel 4: “Between 1990 and 2016, the UK reduced its emissions by over 40 percent. We have the most stringent biomass sustainability provisions in Europe.

“Environmentally friendly, low carbon bioenergy can help the UK to transition to a more diverse energy mix, increase our energy security, keep costs down for consumers and help us to meet our 2050 carbon targets.”

So the only place we’re likely to get any sense on this issue is Donald Trump’s United States.

People of America: from North Carolina to Virginia and beyond, your precious, beautiful, biodiverse, picturesque hardwood forests are being felled to be shipped across the pond to provide overpriced, eco-unfriendly energy which is causing old people to die in fuel poverty while the squishy fake-conservative government responsible for this outrage crows about how magnificently green it is being.

I’m not suggesting that the time has come quite yet to redirect your warheads from Pyongyang to London, necessarily.

But I do think a few stiff words from President Trump might be appropriate, if and when the British government finally deigns to give him the state visit he so richly deserves.

Remember what Britain did to the White House in 1812, America. Don’t let the Brits get away with doing it again to your cherished woodland…

 

 

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