Deceptive climate solutions

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Burning forests is a false solution for the climate emergency

False solutions fail to provide results. Deceptive solutions are known to be false and sold as proven solutions. The intentional deception to secure false gains is fraudulent behavior.

Biomass deception

Enviva, the world’s largest producer of wood pellets, falsely says on their website, “We wanted to develop a cleaner energy alternative to fossil fuels. In particular, we wanted to offer electric utilities a fuel to replace coal, enabling them to generate power without interruption while reducing their greenhouse gas emissions.” In fact, Enviva is targeting Southeastern states where forests are cheap and mills are subsidized.

Enviva’s deceptive marketing campaign claims “bioenergy” is the solution to climate change! Enviva’s Chairman & CEO, John Keppler, says, “The United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a Special Report on Climate Change and Land concluding that sustainable forest management and bioenergy are critical climate change mitigation measures and can elicit environmental benefits. Bioenergy is, in fact, a necessary component in every pathway that the IPCC models to keep temperature changes within 1.5°C.” Nov. 21, 2019, press release on their website.

Keppler’s claim on climate and bioenergy is 100 percent false. The IPCC 2018 report says, “restoring and expanding forests is the best and most viable way to increase carbon uptake, as long as forests are fully functioning ecosystems, rather than monoculture plantations.” This is the opposite of Keppler’s claim.

Carbon uptake (carbon capture and sequestration) is nature’s way to preserve life. During photosynthesis sunlight energy transfers electrons from water (H2O) to carbon dioxide (CO2), to produce carbohydrates and oxygen. Undisturbed soil and its microbial life are the secrets of the forests.

Keppler talks about tree-tops and branches in the woods as feedstock, but Enviva actually uses whole pine trees and hardwoods. Burning hardwoods is a source of volatile organic compound emissions, a known health risk. Enviva ignores VOC hazards with emission levels higher than other mills. Keppler puts profits over life.

Forest owners are part of the game, they use genetically engineered fast-growing trees and transform natural forests into fragile pine plantations. Biodiversity makes forests resilient, not pine plantations.

Enviva must make full risk disclosures to local communities. For 2020 the U.K. is giving Drax $1.7 billion in subsidies to make wood pellets affordable. Drax subsidies can end any day and Enviva investors will dump their shares leaving idle mills.

Case in point: Enviva’s Lucedale wood mill. The Mississippi government is the most recent willing victim with the governor celebrating an early Christmas. The MS Environmental Quality Department ignored public comments and gave all necessary permits. MS taxpayers paid $4 million in “grant funds” plus $13 million in property tax breaks and other hidden costs, to create 90 jobs. MS gets stumps and pollution, paying more than $200,000 per job to lure pellet mills to destroy public health and roads. Logging trucks and clearcutting machines are weapons of mass destruction.

Climate reality

With glaciers melting and forests burning, we don’t have time to waste. Honesty and hunger for life are fundamental. Here are some issues to think about: Renewable energy is a deceiving name. Chiggers are renewable. The world is not running out of chiggers and that does not make chiggers desirable.

When you see hundreds of logging trucks making daily deliveries, think of 40-ton hearses with dead trees, $7 per ton including delivery, around $280 per hearse. Forests must be left alone doing what they do best.

According to Gov. Hutchinson, selling Arkansas around the world, the trees in the forests are crops sold as timber by tree farmers. Same as soybeans and cotton!

Life is cheap in the South. Stumps don’t lie.

Honest climate solutions

Communities can provide honest climate solutions by acquiring barren land for reforestation. Restoring and expanding forests is the best way to increase carbon uptake.

Federal, state, and county funds (our taxes), or Teacher Retirement Funds should not be used as subsidies for wood pellet mills. Why not invest instead in trades and local businesses, planting seeds for the future?

Dr. Luis Contreras

9 COMMENTS

  1. This is what climate action looks like: the “Trump Forest”

    Trump Forest—a global reforestation project aiming to offset President Trump’s anti-climate policies—has reached 1 million trees after thousands of pledges from around the world.

    Trump Forest was launched just under a year ago after POTUS announced he was pulling the U.S. from the Paris agreement.

    “Thanks to you guys, you’ve pledged more than a million trees all over the world to try and offset that ignorance,” Adrien Taylor, one of the three founders of the project, said in a video message announcing the milestone. “In doing so, you’ve not only offset some of the carbon emissions that have come out of the Trump administration, you’ve also helped reforest communities, and you’ve helped create a small silver lining in the very dark cloud of ignorance which is in the White House.”

    https://www.ecowatch.com/trump-forest-climate-change-2537081678.html

  2. The truth about wood pellet mills:

    “Enviva Partners LP has proposed to build a dirty, dangerous wood pellet mill in Lucedale, Mississippi. They promise wealth. They promise jobs. But it’s all snake oil. The only thing this facility is sure to deliver are tax breaks for corporate titans clean across the country, to feed power plants clean across the world. And what does Mississippi get? Bald patches where forests used to be, poisoned air, and thickened traffic.

    First of all, these wood pellet facilities poison the air, releasing dangerous microscopic particles that can make asthma worse, cause heart attacks or, even, lead to early death. Mississippi will be cutting down her breathtaking forests to literally take her own breath away.

    A report from the Environmental Integrity Project last year found that a third of wood pellet plants were releasing illegal levels of pollution. Together, they emit a staggering 16,000 tons of toxic pollutants each year. At its plant in Southampton County, Virginia, Enviva actually removed the equipment that prevents pollution from escaping its smokestack and now local residents have no idea how much hazardous pollution they’re breathing, according to the group.

    Eight of the 15 largest facilities have had fires or explosions since 2014, including plants in Hazlehurst, Georgia and near Tuscaloosa, Alabama. A blaze at a pellet storage silo in Port Arthur, Texas, burned for two months in 2017, and that smoke from that fire forced dozens of local residents to seek medical care. That was the fifth fire associated with that facility in as many years, the group found.

    Second, Mississippi ain’t the one benefiting from this deal; Enviva is. Mississippi taxpayers will have to cough up $4 million in grant funds, including $1.4 million for a water well and a water tank. Lucedale’s George County has put $13 million in property tax breaks on the line.

    https://www.clarionledger.com/story/opinion/columnists/2019/05/09/mississippi-deserves-better-than-envivas-wood-pellet-mill/1153760001/

  3. Here is what the Dogwood Alliance says:

    Alabama will not benefit by allowing Enviva to build these facilities. In North Carolina, where Enviva operates four wood pellet facilities, NC Governor Roy Cooper recently delivered harsh criticism of the industry in the state’s Clean Energy Plan.

    Alabama has an opportunity to stop this industry before it is too late. We need to send a strong message that our forests are worth more standing.

    Send a public comment by Nov. 15th to the Alabama Department of Environmental Management and Governor Kay Ivey urging them to deny Enviva’s permit for a facility in Epes, Alabama.

    Personalize your message to make sure that ADEM receives your comment.

    Introduce yourself and adding a sentence on why you care about forests or why you’re concerned about the expansion of the wood pellet industry.

    https://www.dogwoodalliance.org/actions/alabama-will-not-benefit-from-the-wood-pellet-industry/

  4. Public comments are open through Friday, November 15th at 5 p.m., using this link:

    http://www.adem.state.al.us/newsEvents/notices/sep19/9enviva.html

    Enviva’s Chairman & CEO John Keppler says burning the forests is the IPCC’s strategy to fight the climate emergency. “Enviva has an unwavering commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship. As the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has noted, renewable wood energy is an important part of keeping global temperatures in check, and an incentive for private landowners in Alabama and elsewhere to keep growing more trees. We look forward to working with local landowners who share our belief in keeping forests as forests. We also pledge to uphold the most stringent safety and air quality controls as we do with all our operations.”

    https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20191107006195/en/Enviva-Alabama-Department-Environmental-Management-Opportunity-Hear

    Keppler needs to read the IPCC report again and again, which clearly states protecting and restoring the forests is the best proven way to capture atmospheric carbon dioxide … how can he claim the opposite?

  5. Enviva faces strong opposition … burning Alabama forests is not a climate solution

    The Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) has issued a draft permit for Enviva to construct an enormous new wood pellet plant in Epes, Alabama. This is the first of four wood pellet facilities that Enviva hopes to build in Alabama.

    If built, this plant would produce 1.2 million tons of wood pellets per year and would require nearly 80 acres of forests to be cut down per day, turned into wood pellets, and shipped overseas to be burned for electricity in Europe and Asia. It would be a huge emitter of greenhouse gases and other toxins that would threaten our climate and the local community’s health.

    Alabama organizations know that their state will not benefit by allowing Enviva to build these facilities. In North Carolina, where Enviva operates four wood pellet facilities, NC Governor Roy Cooper recently delivered harsh criticism of the industry in the state’s Clean Energy Plan.

    Alabama has an opportunity to stop this industry before it is too late.
    Local organizations concerned about Enviva’s proposed facility recently sent a letter to local residents warning them of the negative impacts of this industry.

  6. Enviva has big plans … where is the funding coming from?

    “Enviva expects the pellet production plant in Epes to become the next facility in its strategic asset cluster in the Gulf region, which envisions other pellet plants in the states of Mississippi and Alabama, and a future deep-water marine terminal at the Port of Pascagoula, Mississippi.”

    “Enviva said the proposed production facility would principally utilize a mix of softwood and residues from mills sourced from within a 75-mile radius. The pellets produced at the plant would be transported by barge via the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway to the terminal at Pascagoula, then exported to Europe and Asia.”

    https://bioenergyinternational.com/pellets-solid-fuels/enviva-gets-green-light-for-us175-million-port-of-epes-wood-pellet-plant-plans

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