Biomass and agrofuels burned in the UK from Indonesia, Brazil, Ghana or Kenya can cause deforestation and other harmful land use. In some cases greenhouse gas emissions can be worse than fossil fuels.
Biofuels and biomass can also have a negative impact on food prices and lead to human rights abuses, through forced evictions for instance. Burning biomass and biofuel also causes air pollution linked to health problems for those who live nearby.
Corporations like Drax, one of Europe’s biggest climate change contributors, are lobbying DECC to increase their profits from 'burning the biosphere'. Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs), have led to a large number of planning applications for biofuel and biomass (mainly wood) power stations across the UK. For example in Bristol and Portland W4B has had plans for two large palm oil power stations approved despite strong local and national opposition, including local authority opposition in Bristol. The Bristol power station alone would, if built, double the use of palm oil in UK biofuels overnight.
Companies such as MGT Power, Prenergy, Helius Energy and Forth Energy are planning to build biomass power stations which could be larger than any that exist worldwide today. Virtually all of the wood will be imported which will directly or indirectly lead to more logging and more industrial tree plantations at the expense of tropical forests, grasslands and communities in Brazil, the Republic of Congo and Ghana.
For more information about the impacts of ROCs for biofuels and biomass click here.