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DECC Pushing For Biomass Whitewash

June 30, 2016

By Paul Homewood 


On the plane back from Italy, I came across this story in Private Eye.

[For those who have not read it, the Eye, aka Lord Gnome’s organ, is both a satirical and investigative journal, and has regularly caused great embarrassment for the powers that be].






In other words, we are going to end up with a whitewash.


I have been reporting on this issue now for a couple of years or so, for instance here. Following environmental concerns from US scientists, DECC were forced to commission their own report, which found that burning wood to fuel power stations can create as many harmful carbon emissions as burning coal. Even with perfect practices, net emissions will only return to zero after many decades, by which time we will all presumably have fried.


As the BBC reported in 2014, the then Energy Secretary, Ed Davey, saw “biomass burning as a temporary solution to meet short-term carbon reduction targets.”. And why? Because the rules allowed biomass to count as zero emissions.


Current strike prices for biomass are £105/MWH, more than double market prices. Last year, biomass generated 5.5% of UK power. 

There are too many vested interests involved now, whether operators like Drax or DECC themselves, for us to expect any change to the current wholly unsatisfactory situation.

  1. June 30, 2016 11:03 am

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

  2. Ian Magness permalink
    June 30, 2016 11:08 am

    Of all the insane ideas pursued by the greenies and their friends in governments, the “burning trees shipped from US forests in UK power stations” story will surely go down in history as THE most stupid from each and every standpoint from financial cost through ecological cost through to CO2 emissions. The original idea was just to use waste from the US timber industry but, of course, that idea was never workable due to the sheer quantities of wood needed. So, virgin forest has to be felled with all the attendant ecological issues, leave alone the loss of significant acreages of CO2-chomping trees.
    You really, really couldn’t make it up and anybody with a brain cell in government (don’t hold your breath) would stop this madness now before any more billions are wasted on it and more trees are felled unnecessarily.

  3. June 30, 2016 11:23 am

    Only civil servants can follow protocol irrespective of sanity: and disclaim all responsibility for their spoutings.

    Looks like Old Sparky has been reading this blog, and produced a great article.

    • waterside4 permalink
      July 1, 2016 5:34 am

      Great analysis of this insane policy of greenies burning trees.
      Interesting though that the EYE, should publish this, seeing their long standing record of not commenting on the great big global warming elephant in their front room all these years.
      A case in point was their silence on Climategate.
      Is it anything to do with Hislop being in the pocket on the biased Beeb?
      One wonders out loud.

  4. David Richardson permalink
    June 30, 2016 11:27 am

    Thanks for highlighting this again Paul. The whole business is simply madness.

    I hear today that, with the country needing some firm sensible leadership, we need to sign up to the 57% CO2 reduction by 2030 target. That’s a priority!

    They know that bio-mass is not reducing CO2 emissions and is not “carbon neutral” and that the whole practice is causing huge environmental damage – but the idea is not to have any effect on CO2 and AGW anyway, but to play to the rules and count bio-mass as your go free to the next target round.

    The same applies to bio-fuel. All those greeny organisations that said it was imperative 10 years ago, now say it is a bad thing. All those who pointed out it would lead to us burning food that helped the third world to eat, and warned that countries would bulldoze rain forest to grow palm oil to go in Europe’s cars were ranted at in the usual way. The EU (remember them) have been told that the bio-fuel directive is BAD BAD BAD but will not repeal – well they never do.

    The madness will go on.

  5. rwoollaston permalink
    June 30, 2016 11:27 am

    Wasn’t there a senate or congressional inquiry going ahead into the spurious claims of carbon neutrality of the decimation of North American forests for biomass? Perhaps a youtube video of the felling and shredding operations with pictures of the land cleared could be posted onto the appropriate greenie websites and sent to the press – is there anyone onto this in the USA? Add to this a coordinated campaign by watchers of this site to contact their local MPs and it might be possible to make a few waves. Maybe some stats like the amount of forest needed to be cleared to produce x amount of electricity would also grab interest.

  6. Broadlands permalink
    June 30, 2016 1:38 pm

    I’m puzzled or confused, or both. It seems to me that only trees that are burned or converted to decaying mulch will actually add carbon dioxide to the atmosphere and reduce oxygen. Trees that are cut down and converted to wood products…lumber, chairs, tables, houses, books, papers, wood siding etc. should not, once formed, add any CO2 to the atmosphere. Why? Because the CO2 tied up (“captured and stored”) in the tree’s organic matter during its growth (net photosynthesis) is still tied up. it’s just not ‘stored’ as a tree. No oxygen is lost via respiration. Thus, some deforestation does not add or transfer carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. The absence of these deforested trees (if not replaced) will, of course, affect any reduction in CO2 but they should not be considered a net added source.

    Am I wrong about this? Is all of the added CO2 that is attributed to deforestation, per se, considered the result of biomass burning or “biodegradable” respiratory decay? Do the deforestation “accountants” differentiate the two? Probably trivial?

    • Russ Wood permalink
      June 30, 2016 2:18 pm

      I remember once reading “If you want to remove carbon from the atmosphere, tarmac a road or build a library”. Burning trees just doesn’t do the job!

  7. Eric Hutchinson permalink
    June 30, 2016 1:47 pm

    Searching Google for “biomass” reveals many sickening images of countless acres of food producing land, many of which are now used to grow plants for “green energy” – in a world where so many people are undernourished or even starving. Green doesn’t merely stand for naivety anymore – it means immorality.

  8. Ben Vorlich permalink
    June 30, 2016 1:51 pm

    Welcome home, I hope the cycling went well. Just been to arrange with frieds a viewing point for the TdeF

    In relation to this post the Renewable Energy Foundation has a lot of information including biomass data
    Renewable Energy Foundation Biomass

  9. Bitter& Twisted permalink
    June 30, 2016 2:07 pm

    Sic transit gloria mundi

  10. tom0mason permalink
    June 30, 2016 11:13 pm

    The largest amount of underutilized bio-mass appears to be on the plush seats of the DECC.

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