Divest from False Solutions like Biomass Power Plants - Days of Action

24 October 2017

On the Days of Action, NOAH decided to call out false solutions. Volunteers visited a number of board members of The Danish pension fund PKA. The message was clear: if PKA wants to live up to its green credentials it must divest from MGT Teesside.

MGT Teesside is a biomass power plant being built in the UK. Once fully built, it is planned to be the biggest biomass power plant in the world, and is the largest thermal-combustion power plant under construction in the UK today. The plant will burn up to 1.5 million tonnes of wood pellets a year, of which around 1 million tonnes will be supplied by Enviva, a US pellet producer known to source wood from clearcut biodiverse coastal hardwood forests in the southern US .


On the picture above, Lilian Bondo, board member of PKA and chairman of The Danish Association of Midwives, is asked to reconsider the impacts on climate, environmental and health of the PKA's investment. She is offered a chestnut seed with the following text:


“Cut down a hardwood tree today. Burn it. And all the carbon of the wood will be converted to CO2.

Plant your chestnut tomorrow. As it grows, it will slowly bind CO2 from the atmosphere. In 200 or 300 years, your will at long last have repaid your debt to the climate.

Until then, the burnt CO2 will have contributed to changing the earth’s climate.”

Jacob Sørensen, activist of NOAH and participant of the action: “It is unfortunate that the EU regards biomass burning as a renewable energy source. The Commission's impact assessment of the winter package is genuinely worried about the expansion of biomass use in the energy sector, but once it has been decided that biomass is renewable, it is difficult to withdraw such decision. The time perspective and the impact on nature are completely ignored. The worst thing is that it creates a wrong understanding by politicians and investors that biomass will be part of a low emission energy system of the future. Because of the obvious problems in using biomass for energy, many stakeholders have started arguing that bioenergy should only be used temporarily in a transition period towards a low emission society, but this will bind investments in false solutions“.

“The small present is a good illustration of the dynamics of preparing and making an action. A few days before the action nobody had ideas to the details of the action, but suddenly one of our activists showed up with the present and a suggestion to a text”.

“We believe the outcome of the action was great. We made a few of the most economically powerful stakeholders in Denmark aware of an issue which has been difficult to come out with in the media. And we succeeded in agreeing to continue the dialogue under more orderly conditions.”