The UK wastes more than £1 billion a year subsidising burning trees for electricity, with much of the wood cut down and shipped in from precious forests overseas.

Cut Carbon Not Forests calls on the Government to end subsidies for this dirty energy and instead invest in low-cost and truly clean and renewable energy. Help protect the world’s forests and the wildlife that depends on them as we rebuild after the coronavirus pandemic. Ask your MP to call for removing subsidies from companies that burn trees for electricity.
Jon Albert/Nature in Stock
Jon Albert/Nature in Stock

What needs to change?

Burning wood in power stations is not clean energy and should not be subsidised by the public if the UK is serious about tackling the climate emergency and building back better after the coronavirus. Government subsidies for this false climate solution must end now.

What can you do to help?

Do your bit to protect the world’s forests: Ask your MP to call for biomass subsidies to be redirected to low-cost and truly clean and renewable energy like solar and wind.

Act Now
Image © Chris Hannant
Image © Chris Hannant

Key Facts *

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Nearly 8 million tonnes of wood pellets

Nearly 8 million tonnes of wood pellets were imported into the UK to be burnt for energy.

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348 km2 of US forests

348 km2 of US forests were harvested to supply just a portion of this demand – an area of woodland roughly the size of the New Forest.

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13 million tonnes of CO2

Drax alone emitted 13 million tonnes of CO2 from burning wood as fuel for electricity.

*Key Facts as of 2018

About The Campaign

Clearcut of bottomland hardwood forest from which biomass was sourced.

 

We need to protect forests to combat our climate crisis – not cut them down and burn them for energy.

Aerial view of industrial-scale
wood pellet production.

 

Billions in subsidies for this dirty energy increases electricity costs and diverts money from real clean energy.

Iconic wetland forest
in the U.S. Southeast.

 

Forests are some of the most incredible places on Earth. Burning trees does not generate clean energy.

About the campaign wildlife image
Red-shouldered hawk.

 

UK demand for wood-fuelled electricity degrades the habitats of many animals.

About the campaign wildlife image
Yellow-crowned night heron.

 

Burning trees is fake clean energy. It makes climate change worse and destroys habitats and wildlife.

About the campaign wildlife image
Critically endangered red wolf.

 

Forests are home to precious animal species that need our protection, such as the highly endangered red wolf.

Investing in true clean and renewable energy and protecting the world’s forests is critical if we are to address the global climate emergency.

 

However, the UK wastes more than £1 billion a year subsidising burning trees for electricity, with much of the wood cut down and shipped from precious forests overseas.

 

The UK’s massive demand for wood-fuelled electricity is accelerating climate change, destroying forest habitats and endangering wildlife. The forests where much of the UK’s wood for biomass electricity is sourced are “some of the most biologically important habitats in North America,” according to the World Wildlife Fund, and are home to at-risk species like the Louisiana black bear.

Resources

Explore these links to discover more about the significant impact of burning forests for electricity.

MP Briefing on Cut Carbon Not Forests Campaign

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The climate change impact

Serious Mismatches Continue Between Science and Policy in Forest Bioenergy

Think Wood Pellets are Green? Think Again.

Forest Bioenergy, Carbon Capture and Storage, and Carbon Dioxide Removal: An Update

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The threat to wildlife

Global Markets for Biomass Energy are Devastating U.S. Forests

Bioenergy Threatens the Heart of North American Wetland Forests

Announcing the World’s 36th Biodiversity Hotspot: The North American Coastal Plain

Threat Map of Southeast U.S. Wood Pellet Plants Exporting to Europe

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The cost of subsidies

Why We Need to Scrap Subsidies For Burning Wood

Burnout: E.U. Clean Energy Subsidies Lead to Forest Destruction

Money to Burn II: Solar and Wind Can Reliably Supply the United Kingdom’s New Electricity Needs More Cost-Effectively Than Biomass

Open Letter Calling on the Government to Redirect Subsidies from Biomass to True Renewable Energy

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About Us

Cut Carbon Not Forests is a campaign to remove subsidies from companies that burn trees for electricity, co-ordinated by a coalition of UK and US-based NGOs. Out of £1.7 billion in biomass electricity subsidies, £1.26 billion was paid out via the Renewables Obligation Certificates scheme and can be redirected immediately. Join us in asking the Government to redirect biomass subsidies to real clean and renewable energy.

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nrdc logo
southern environmental law center logo
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