The UK gives billions to energy companies that burn trees for electricity, harming our climate and forests around the world.

Cut Carbon Not Forests is a campaign to stop handouts to this dirty and destructive industry. Ask your MP to help end biomass subsidies now.
Jon Albert/Nature in Stock
Jon Albert/Nature in Stock

What needs to change?

UK leaders say they’re committed to tackling climate change and protecting nature, but billions in subsidies for biomass electricity lead to massive carbon emissions and harm forests.

 

We deserve a coherent approach to these serious threats, not years more of hypocrisy and waste. Dirty biomass subsidies must end now.

We are in a global climate and biodiversity crisis. Biomass electricity drives both.

 

Wood harvest for biomass harms forests and the wildlife that depends on them. Power stations that burn wood also emit massive amounts of heat-trapping carbon dioxide fueling more climate chaos.

 

Instead of billions more in dirty biomass subsidies, the Government must prioritise renewables like solar and wind, which guarantee real emissions cuts at a fraction of the cost of burning wood for electricity.

Key Facts

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Nearly 13 million tons of CO2

Drax alone emitted nearly 13 million tons of CO2 from burning wood in 2019.

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8.5 million metric tons of pellets from overseas forests

In 2019, the UK imported 8.5 million metric tons of wood pellets—more than any other country in the world.

 

Most came from the United States where an area of woodland roughly the size of the New Forest was harvested to supply just a portion of this demand. The UK also imports wood pellets from Estonia, Latvia, Canada, Brazil, Portugal and other countries.

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£3 million a day in subsidies

Subsidies to large biomass power plants cost UK energy billpayers more than £1 billion in 2020—or almost £3 million a day.

 

Until most subsidies are due to end in 2027, billpayers will spend £13 billion in direct support to biomass-burning plants (including £10bn just for Drax).

What can you do?

Help stop the UK from harming our planet’s forests. Urge your MP to support an immediate end to billions in biomass subsidies.

Act Now
Image © Chris Hannant
Image © Chris Hannant

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

The Burning Question: Should the UK End Tax Breaks on Burning Wood for Power?

Burnout 2020: The UK Is Now the Top Subsidiser of Bioenergy in Europe

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 redirect dirty biomass electricity subsidies to true clean energy, co-ordinated by a coalition of UK and US-based NGOs. The bulk of biomass electricity subsidies are paid out via the Renewables Obligation Certificates scheme and can be redirected immediately. Join us and email your MP today.

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