This is the unspoken face of climate change. Logging concessions in Alaska, West Papua and the Congo are being offered to provide wood chip and pellets for Europe to burn as ‘green energy’. Climate Camp activists targeted Forth Energy because of their plans to build 4 biomass power stations. Along with deforestation, biodiversity loss & accelerated climate change, millions of indigenous peole will be evicted. Local residents in Scotland will pay a high price from health-damaging emissions from burning wood.
Protestors drop banner from roof, chain themselves to the door and occupy office of Scottish energy company
MORE PHOTOGRAPHS AVAILABLE AT WWW.tinyurl.com/biomassaction
Leith—A group of 5 activists have been arrested for occupying the headquarters for Forth Energy in Lieth. Three activists locked themselves to office furniture while two others chained themselves to the front doors. Two other activists scaled the roof of the building and hung a banner reading ‘BIOMASS = DEFORESTATION +POLLUTION = CLIMATE CHANGE’ and were released without arrest. The activists, part of the Climate Camp outside of RBS headquarters in Edinburgh, are targeting Forth Energy because of their plans to build four environmentally destructive biomass(wood-burning) energy power stations in Scotland. The office took ran from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Location: 1 Prince of Wales, Dock, Leith, EH6 7DX
Why are environmental activists risking arrest by taking such drastic action? Forth Energy, which labels itself a ‘green’ energy company, is
misleadingly pushing biomass as a solution to climate change. In reality these power stations will increase carbon emissions, pollute local air,
increase deforestation and lead to the displacement of native peoples in the global south. Wood burned in the proposed Lieth, Grangemouth, Rosyth Port and Dundee Port sites will be fed primarily from wood chip freighted in from abroad.
Biomass power stations are more climate damaging than traditional fossil fuel power stations because of the destruction of virgin woodlands that they inevitably require. If built these power stations will mean even more wood imports from abroad and even more destruction of rainforests and old growth forests to be replaced with plantations of eucalyptus in places like South America. For example, the smokestack CO2 emissions from a biomass power station are commonly around 1.5 times greater than those from a coal power station with the same energy output.
In addition to harming the global climate, these power stations will severely impact the health of the communities where they are built. All
biomass burning releases significant quantities of nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds and hazardous
air pollutants (HAPs). Such pollution increases the risks of respiratory diseases, heart disease, cancer and premature mortality including infant
mortality and miscarriage. Leith power station alone would generate nitrogen oxide and particulates equivalent to 100,000 more cars while
Edinburgh and Grangemouth power stations are 200m to the nearest home and Dundee power station just 100m.
Demand for imported wood will also mean native peoples and peasant farmers could be displaced from their land and intimidated, killed, injured or enslaved to make room for new mono culture wood plantations as routinely happens in many developing countries.
Despite all the scientific evidence to the contrary, the UK and EU governments class biomass power stations as renewable, green energy.
Forth energy will receive £300 million in subsidies annually for their four biomass power stations and this is to be funded through an increase
on utility bills.
Sean Gifford, spokesperson for the activists, said ‘Biomass is exacerbating climate change, destroying precious forests and pulling money away from real, sustainable solutions like energy efficiency measures, wind, solar and tidal power. Forth Energy can expect growing opposition until they scrap the idea of biomass altogether’.
Latest from protesters: "All five of us who were arrested got held for 27 hours and then got a ‘fiscal discharge’ which means, let go without charges being pursued. Two others who had done a banner-drop from the roof had been allowed to leave the site without being arrested.
We also had a few people who spent much of the day leafletting in the community and speaking to a lot of residents. Many residents had heard of the biomass plans and there seemed to be a widespread sense of unease about them, but I understand a lot of people were quite surprised/shocked to hear some of the facts. "
For more information about biomass and the campaign against it, please visit www.biofuelwatch.org.uk,
Notes to editor:
- The four power stations which will produce a total 560MW will burn a total of 5.6 million tones of wood a year.
- The four power stations would burn approximately the equivalent of 2/3 of all the wood the UK currently produces every year.
- The UK’s total demand for wood for pulp, paper and biomass is already altogether unsustainable as the UK relies on net imports for over 80% for its wood and wood products.
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