-For immediate release, September 30, 2020-
As the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) develops the Act on Special Measures Concerning Procurement of Electricity from Renewable Energy Sources by Electricity Utilities, wood pellet biomass must be excluded from consideration if the legislation hopes to secure carbon emission reductions, habitat protection, and community resilience to climate change, say American NGOs in a letter sent to METI, Forestry Agency, and the members of the Biomass Sustainability Working group today.
In an open letter (English, Japanese) from NGOs in the sourcing region for Japanese wood pellet biomass demand, METI is warned that incentives for forest-based wood pellet biomass have adverse impacts on climate, forests, and communities. Enviva Partners LP, the world’s largest pellet producer based in the Southern United States who supplies companies like Sumitomo with pellets, operates with little regard to its climate or environmental impact. Furthermore, the letter writers state, Southern US forests are better left standing than burned when it comes to the fight against climate change. Southern US forests, when left in the ground, are “a critical climate solution, storing enormous amounts of carbon in trees and soils and buffering communities from climate impacts like flooding and storms.”
According to Rita Frost, Campaigns Director of Dogwood Alliance, a signer of the letter: “If we are serious about tackling climate change, we can no longer incentivize burning forests for fuel. The Japanese government has a key opportunity to exclude wood pellet biomass from its definition of renewable energy, which will protect forests, climate, and communities.”
The American NGOs thank the Japanese government for seeking alternatives to fossil fuels in order to fight climate change and yet make clear that their experience with the wood pellet biomass industry shows it is unfit as an energy source in regards to climate aims.