An open letter to Australian Senators from the Dogwood Alliance.
My name is Julianna Martinez, and I am a campaign organizer at Dogwood Alliance. Dogwood Alliance is an environmental non-governmental organization that works to protect the forests of the Southern United States from unsustainable industrial logging practices. We urge you to vote against inclusion of native forest biomass in Australia's renewable energy target.
There is a common misconception amongst lawmakers in Australia, that biomass energy is non-controversial and commonly supported in the United States and around the world. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. The movement against the biomass industry is growing, and this issue has gained widespread attention, including pieces featured on NPR and in the Washington Post. We need leaders such as yourself to join the opposition to this misguided industry and to help mitigate the effects of the biomass industry.
Dogwood Alliance recognizes the dangers and fallacies of these destructive biomass industries. This summer, we are going on an “SOS: Save Our Southern Forests” tour to campaign against the biomass industry. We insist that “Our Forests Aren’t Fuel,” and we aim to educate citizens, policymakers, and industry members about the dangers of this false energy solution as well as pressure companies who stand to gain from this practice to put a stop to it.
European policymakers are increasingly promoting the clearcutting of Southern forests to burn them for electricity to satisfy their “clean energy” standards. However, this is not a climate-friendly solution, and in many cases it can release more carbon emissions than coal. Our standing forests gather and store carbon, which makes them a key solution for carbon pollution and one of our best defenses against climate change.
Additionally, the biomass industry is destroying wetland forests, and communities in the Southeast U.S will not stand for this. The industry has devastating impacts on our communities, our forests, and our local economies here in the Southern U.S. It poses serious threats to our health and lifestyles, destroys much of the biodiversity in the Southern U.S, and is entirely driven by unsustainable subsidies which creates unfair competition with our traditional wood products industries. The industry claims to use only wood waste, however, we have investigated different facilities and proven that they do not merely use residues rather they clearcut high volumes of whole logs from intact forests.
Dogwood Alliance does not support the biomass industry, rather we are in favor of alternative and competitive energy sources such as solar and wind energy. However, the inclusion of native forest biomass may further reduce the share of the Renewable Energy Target for wind and solar by up to 15%.
The inclusion of native forest biomass into the Renewable Energy Target could provide an incentive for the burning of native forest wood waste for bio-energy, which could lead to devastating outcomes for biodiversity and the destruction of intact carbon stores. Wood waste from native forests should not be an eligible renewable energy source.
We urge you to save Australia from going down the same destructive path as European policymakers have in the recent past. The inclusion of native forest biomass into the national Renewable Energy Target would have adverse effects on climate, forests, communities, and local economies. Vote against inclusion of native forest biomass into Australia's renewable energy target.
For Our Forests,