The EU’s renewable energy policy is making global warming worse

Countries in the EU, including the UK, are throwing away money by subsidising the burning of wood for energy, according to an independent report.

While burning some forms of wood waste can indeed reduce greenhouse gas emissions, in practice the growing use of wood energy in the EU is increasing rather than reducing emissions, the new report concludes.

Overall, burning wood for energy is much worse in climate terms than burning gas or even coal, but loopholes in the way emissions are ...

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Biomass subsidies ‘not fit for purpose’, says Chatham House

Subsidies should end for many types of biomass, a new Chatham House report argues, because they are failing to help cut greenhouse gas emissions.

The report adds that policymakers should tighten up accounting rules to ensure the full extent of biomass emissions are included.

The analysis outlines how policies intended to boost the use of biomass are in many cases “not fit for purpose” because they are inadvertently increasing emissions by often ignoring emissions from burning wood in power stations and failing ...

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Most wood energy schemes are a ‘disaster’ for climate change

There has been rapid growth in the use of wood chips and pellets for generating electricity

Using wood pellets to generate low-carbon electricity is a flawed policy that is speeding up not slowing down climate warming.

That’s according to a new study which says wood is not carbon neutral and emissions from ...

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Native forests absorbing more carbon dioxide

New Zealand’s forests and other land areas may be absorbing up to 60% more carbon dioxide than has been calculated, with much of this uptake likely occurring in native forests, NIWA scientists have discovered.

New research led by NIWA atmospheric scientists Drs Kay Steinkamp and Sara Mikaloff-Fletcher, indicates that New Zealand’s forests absorb much more than previously thought, with much of the uptake occurring in the southwest of the South Island.   

Carbon dioxide is a primary greenhouse gas and responsible ...

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Vegetation creates rain – true fact

Just because it’s been done before, doesn’t mean it should be done again. 

European colonisation brought logging into the Bellingen Shire and throughout Australia. It was the keystone for large-scale development providing both housing and an agricultural base.

But more than 200 years later, a comprehensive review of 150 scientific papers on land-clearing and rainfall, conducted by Dailan Pugh of the North East Forest Alliance, concludes deforestation has wreaked havoc on the country’s climate.

In short: vegetation creates precipitation and Clearing Our Rainfall Away summarises the evidence of ...

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Clearing Our Rainfall Away

Vegetation creates rain. That’s one of the conclusions of a comprehensive review of more than 150 scientific papers on land-clearing and rainfall, conducted by Dailan Pugh of the North East Forest Alliance. Clearing Our Rainfall Away, released today, summarises the evidence of how land-clearing affects rainfall, and the impacts that land-clearing has had on Australia’s climate.

 

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Forests – Another Chance for Peace

In 2010, economist Judith Ajani wrote about the forest wars that have besieged us over the last 40 years or more, the bad decisions made and what needs to be done. This is still as relevant today – in fact even more so as the industry is set to collapse due to overcutting but with the bosses screaming for more logs. Sadly, much of the remaining forests’ ecological values that were so critical to save then, have been lost – ...

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Scientists identify the real king of the forest: fungus

To a casual hiker, one bit of North American forest may seem like any other. But look more closely and a mysterious patchwork of diversity emerges. Some stands of forest are clearly dominated by a single kind of tree. Others are a diverse mix of species.

Now, a multiyear effort to understand these differences has uncovered a surprising answer. What controls forest diversity is not the trees but the fungi that interact with them, typically at microscopic scales, below ...

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Bird Safety Tips and the Toxic Effects of Smoke

This could explain why there seem to be fewer birds than before the 2014 Goongerah/Deddick fires, even in the areas where the fire didn’t reach. The thick smoke lasted for almost 8 weeks. Smoke impacts birds respiratory system, which is more efficient than mammals’ so they can absorb more oxygen (this allows them to fly) but they absorb more toxins as well.

…Why are birds more susceptible to the toxic effects of smoke?  Short answer: because their respiratory system is more ...

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The secret life of echidnas reveals a world-class digger vital to our ecosystems

Echidnas may not seem the most active of animals. Waddling around, they spend much of their time dozing and hiding. But in research published today in the Journal of Experimental Biology, we show that echidnas dig huge amounts of soil, and play a crucial role in Australia’s ecosystems.

By attaching miniature GPSs and accelerometers to echidnas in Western Australia, we found that these mammals move on average 200 cubic metres of soil each year. For the 12 echidnas we studied, this ...

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