Monday 18 March 2024

Wood Pellet Giant Drax Targets California Forests: Excerpt

 "Plans for two industrial pellet plants would increase carbon emissions and hurt the health of rural communities, campaigners warn.

The wood pellets Drax produces are treated as “carbon neutral” under international accounting rules, based on an assumption that new-growth trees will capture the carbon lost by wood burnt for electricity. But scientists and campaigners have long disputed these claims. 

A 2021 study from the European Academies Science Advisory Council concluded that burning wood for energy “is not effective in mitigating climate change and may even increase the risk of dangerous climate change.” A power station operated by Drax in the UK generates 8 percent of the UK’s “renewable” electricity, but is also the single largest emitter of carbon dioxide.

Golden State Natural Resources claims its forest management techniques reduce the risk of wildfires — a claim which has also been disputed by campaigners — and that it maintains “stringent guardrails” to ensure the sourcing of materials for pellets is sustainable. Drax also says its pellets are made from “sustainable biomass” generated from low-grade roundwood, sawmill residues, and forest residues — although several investigations have found instances of the company using primary forest materials.

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