- 1-3 June 2010, Helsinki, Finland: PulPaper2010 Conference - Implementing the New Rise. (Conference themes: bioenergy, forestry, sustainability, technology)
- 3 June 2010, Brussels, Belgium: Seminar: Impact of wood-based bioenergy on forests, forest dependant people and the climate – A Southern perspective. (Themes: biomass, forests, Genetically Engineered trees (GE trees), indigenous people, sustainability, wood)
- 7-9 June 2010, Düsseldorf, Germany: International Conference on Renewable Resources & Biorefineries. (Themes: bio-based economy, bio-products, biorefineries)
- 8-10 June 2010, Prince George, British Columbia, Canada: 4th International BioEnergy Conference and Exhibition. (Themes: markets, policies, technology)
- 9-10 June 2010, São Paulo, Brazil: Round Table on Responsible Soy Association Fifth International Conference. (Themes: Round Table on Responsible Soy Association/RTRS, soy, sustainability)
- 10-11 June 2010, Washington, DC, USA: Forestry Carbon Markets and REDD.(Themes: forestry, greenhouse gases, REDD)
- 14-17 June 2010, St. Louis, Missouri, USA: International Fuel Ethanol Workshop and Expo. (Themes: cellulosic ethanol, co-products/distillers grains, corn ethanol, feedstocks, technology)
- 16-17 June 2010, Barcelona, Spain: European Biodiesel 2010. (Themes: algae, biodiesel, Europe, feedstocks, rapeseed)
- 22 June 2010, Online webinar: WEBINAR: President Obama’s National Export Initiative and the U.S. Biomass Industry. By the Biomass Coordinating Council (BCC) of ACORE. (Themes: biomass, markets, trade, United States)
- 22 June 2010, Washington, D.C., USA: Rights and Resources Initiative Dialogues on Forests, Governance and Climate Change. (Themes: forests, indigenous people, REDD, UNFCCC)
- 22-23 June 2010, Alexandria, Virginia, (Washington, D.C. area) USA: Global Advanced Biofuels Scale Up Summit 2010. (Themes: algae, biobutanol, BioDME, cellulosic ethanol, feedstocks, markets, technology)
- 22-23 June 2010, Milan, Italy: Biogas Europe. (Themes: biogas, cogeneration, European regulatory framework, biogas infrastructure, markets, technology, waste feedstocks)
- 23-24 June 2010, Cary, North Carolina, USA: 3rd Annual Ecosystem Markets Conference. (Themes: ecosystems, forests, markets)
- 27-30 June 2010, Ames, Iowa, USA: Biochar 2010. Hosted by Iowa State University (Themes:agriculture, biochar, economics, forestry, policy, soil)
- 28 June - 2 July 2010, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK: 18th Commonwealth Forestry Conference. (Themes: climate change, forests, REDD, wood)
- 29 June - 1 July 2010, Arlington, Virginia (Washington, D.C. area) USA: The Sixth National 25x'25 Summit. (Themes: 25 x 25 Alliance, agriculture, biomass, forestry, national security, policy, sustainability)
- 30 June - 1 July 2010, Brussels, Belgium: 2010 AEBIOM European Biomass Conference and RENEXPO. (Themes: bioenergy, markets, policy, sustainability, energy crops, wood residues, MSW and more)
- Greener palm oil arrives in the United States, 29 June 2010 by Mongabay.com: "The first shipment of palm oil certified under sustainability criteria [has] arrived in the United States, according to the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)."
- "AAK, a vegetable oils and fats manufacturer based in Malmo, Sweden, announced the arrival of the first shipment of segregated RSPO-certified palm oil to its refinery in Port Newark, New Jersey. Segregated RSPO-certified palm oil has been kept separate from conventional palm oil throughout the supply chain. Most 'sustainable' palm oil users don't actually use segregated certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO), Instead they offset conventional palm oil buy purchasing the equivalent amount of GreenPalm certificates, which represent real CSPO sold elsewhere as conventional palm oil."
- "The RSPO also announced that daily production of CSPO has now surpassed 5,000 metric tons per day."
- "Some critics say the [RSPO] lacks oversight, sets a low bar for compliance, and is underfunded. Supporters argue that RSPO is still a relatively new initiative that needs more time to prove itself."
- NGOs Say EU Fuelling Hunger By Grabbing Land For Biofuels , 29 June 2010 by Eurasia Review: "Western development and environmental groups warned Tuesday that EU biofuels targets are leading to uncontrollable land grabbing from poor communities in Africa, pushing more people into hunger."
- "A day before EU member states submit their renewable energy plans to the EU, NGOs Action Aid and Friends of the Earth Europe called on European leaders to halt the expansion of biofuels."
- "Adrian Bebb, from the Friends of the Earth Europe said, 'huge tracts of land are being snatched across the developing world for European biofuels.'"
- "Whether it's their impact on the environment, the climate, or the need to swallow up more land, the arguments against large scale biofuels continue to grow."
- Scientists Question EPA's Greenhouse Gas Emission Estimates, 28 June 2010 by azocleantech.com: "The approach the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) uses to estimate greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural anaerobic lagoons that treat manure contains errors and may underestimate methane emissions by up to 65%, according to scientists".
- "An interdisciplinary team of scientists from the University of Missouri evaluated the EPA and IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] approach to estimate greenhouse emissions from anaerobic lagoons." They "documented errors in the approach, which the EPA and IPCC adapted from a method used to estimate methane production from anaerobic digesters." Additionally, the team "found that uncovered anaerobic lagoons were more efficient at converting waste to methane than predicted using literature based on digesters."
- See the paper, An Evaluation of the USEPA Calculations of Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Anaerobic Lagoons.
- The Rainforest Alliance Releases New Verification Mark to Recognize Achievements in Sustainability, 23 June 2010 by Environmental News Network: "The Rainforest Alliance today released its new verification mark to recognize businesses and projects that have achieved significant and measurable sustainability milestones. The new mark is awarded to forest carbon projects and tourism and certain forestry enterprises that meet standards developed by the Rainforest Alliance itself or by other organizations with which the Rainforest Alliance is aligned."
- A key issue is "verification of the legality of wood sources, which is particularly important since illegal logging throughout the world continues to undermine efforts to promote social equity, environmental conservation and sustainable economic growth in many nations."
- "For nearly 20 years the Rainforest Alliance CertifiedTM seal has been used to designate farms and forestlands that meet the rigorous, third-party standards of the Sustainable Agriculture Network or the Forest Stewardship Council. These standards for environmental, social and economic sustainability are developed through an independent, participatory process."
- EPA “Dropping the Ball” on E15, 18 June 2010 by The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA): "EPA is preparing to approve E15 use for only model year 2007 and newer vehicles in September while waiting to approve E15 for model year 2001 and newer vehicles later this fall. The RFA has repeatedly challenged EPA to provide any justification for such a decision, but the agency has yet to do so."
- Net Benefits of Biomass Power Under Scrutiny, 18 June 2010 by Tom Zeller Jr. from The New York Times: "Matthew Wolfe, an energy developer with plans to turn tree branches and other woody debris into electric power, sees himself as a positive force in the effort to wean his state off of planet-warming fossil fuels."
- "[P]ower generated by burning wood, plants and other organic material, which makes up 50 percent of all renewable energy produced in the United States, according to federal statistics, is facing increased scrutiny and opposition."
- "Biomass proponents say it is a simple and proved renewable technology based on natural cycles. They acknowledge that burning wood and other organic matter releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere just as coal does, but point out that trees and plants also absorb the gas. If done carefully, and without overharvesting, they say, the damage to the climate can be offset."
- "But opponents say achieving that sort of balance is almost impossible, and carbon-absorbing forests will ultimately be destroyed to feed a voracious biomass industry fueled inappropriately by clean-energy subsidies. They also argue that, like any incinerating operation, biomass plants generate all sorts of other pollution, including particulate matter. State and federal regulators are now puzzling over these arguments."
- Magically carbon neutral biomass, evil EPA rules and other myths, 18 June 2010 by Nathanael Greene on the NRDC Switchboard blog: "The [biomass] industry has convinced policymakers that no matter how much carbon is 'spent' when biomass is burned for energy, there will magically be enough income in the form of regrowth to cover all expenses. Because of this magic, the industry would have us categorically exclude their emissions when we do our carbon accounting."
- Recent climate and energy bills "buy into this magically carbon neutral source of energy. The European Union has done it too."
- "So how did the biomass industry and its supporters...react recently when EPA said it was going to account for the emissions column of the ledger as part of its rules governing which facilities will be covered by the Clean Air Act? Sadly, with willful misinterpretation."
- A recent Massachusetts report "makes it very clear that most forest biomass is not carbon neutral."
- "The ultimate solution is a comprehensive climate and energy bill that requires careful accounting of all carbon, including the carbon released and absorbed by biomass."
- For Gulf, Biofuels Are Worse Than Oil Spill , 17 June 2010 editorial by Investor's Business Daily: "Our growing addiction to alternative energy was killing aquatic life in the Gulf long before the Deepwater Horizon spill. Abandoning oil will kill more and also release more carbon dioxide into the air."
- "Before the first gallon gushed from Deepwater Horizon, there existed an 8,500 square mile 'dead zone' below the Mississippi River Delta....Hypoxia, or oxygen depletion, caused by agricultural runoff...has been on an upward trend as acreage for corn destined to become ethanol increases."
- "[A] 2008 study by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) found that 'nitrogen leaching from fertilized cornfields in the Mississippi-Atchafalaya River system is a primary cause of the bottom-water hypoxia that develops on the continental shelf of the northern Gulf of Mexico each summer.'"
- "Ethanol from corn sounds like an energy panacea, but the devil is in the details. It takes 4,000 gallons of fresh water per acre per day to replace evaporation in a cornfield. Each acre requires about 130 pounds of nitrogen and 55 pounds of phosphorous."
- The OECD "recently stated in a report: 'When acidification, fertilizer use, biodiversity loss and toxicity of agricultural pesticides are taken into account, the overall impact of ethanol and biodiesel can very easily exceed those of petrol and mineral diesel.'"
- "All of this may not be as visually exciting as a gushing oil well a mile below the Gulf, but it shows no form of energy is pain-free and the benefits and trade-offs of any form of energy must be judged on the basis of science and not ideology."
- 63 House Members Tell EPA to Change Tailoring Rule, 16 June 2010 by the National Association of Forest Owners (NAFO): "63 Members of Congress wrote EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson yesterday to 'express our deep disappointment and concern'" over a decision by the Environmental Protection Agency "that contradicts long-standing federal policy that the combustion of biomass does not increase carbon in the atmosphere if done sustainably, and that changing that policy will encourage the use of more fossil fuels over renewable, domestic forest biomass."
- New Energy Coalition Calls for Passage of Clean Energy Bill, 16 June 2010 by American Wind Energy Association (AWEA): "On the heels of President Obama's June 15 speech calling for clean energy legislation, a new coalition of renewable energy, energy efficiency, and biofuels organizations today called on the U.S. Senate to quickly pass comprehensive energy legislation that will create millions of American jobs and decrease our reliance on foreign supplies of fossil fuels by using our own clean and abundant resources."
- Members of the coalition include "the Biomass Power Association, Growth Energy, the Energy Recovery Council," and others. A letter issued by this coalition reads in part:
- "We urge that the Senate move quickly to consider legislation promoting energy efficiency, renewable energy generation, and biofuels, along with associated manufacturing opportunities."
- "Important programs affecting renewable energy industries, energy efficiency initiatives and biofuels programs are all due to expire this year."
- "Ensuring steady growth of the industries that will solve our climate, water, and waste challenges will be a critical way to address not only near-term employment challenges but our long-term environmental and energy security goals. Renewable energy, energy efficiency, and biofuels can make a significant down payment on carbon pollution targets."
- Members of the coalition include "the Biomass Power Association, Growth Energy, the Energy Recovery Council," and others. A letter issued by this coalition reads in part:
- New Federal Policies Needed to Jump-Start Clean Advanced Biofuels Industry, 14 June 2010 by The Union of Concerned Scientists: "The federal government needs to adopt a suite of new policies to spur production in the stalled advanced biofuels industry, according to a report, The Billion Gallon Challenge, released today by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).
- "Advanced cellulosic biofuels – made from grasses, woodchips, wastes and other non-food sources – release dramatically less pollution than gasoline or corn ethanol. Reforming production tax credits for biofuels and providing new loan guarantees, investment tax credits and other financial incentives would spark investment in cellulosic biofuels, cut oil consumption, reduce global warming pollution, and ultimately save taxpayers money, the report found."
- "Currently, cellulosic biofuels are falling far short of the mandated levels. In 2010, the standard requires fuel suppliers, largely oil companies, to purchase 100 million gallons of cellulosic biofuel, but the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had to lower this target to just 6.5 million gallons due to a lack of supply."
- METI Releases Report on Sustainability Standards for Biofuels, 14 June 2010 by Japan for Sustainability: "Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, and the Ministry of the Environment jointly organized the 'Study Group on Sustainability Standards for the Introduction of Biofuels,' and released the report on March 5, 2010."
- One of the key findings of the report concerned results of life-cycle analyses of carbon dioxide emissions associated with biofuels. It was found that, in comparison "with CO2 emissions from gasoline, only sugar cane produced at existing sites in Brazil and domestic produce such as sugar beet, as well as construction waste, meet reduction standards on an LCA basis of more than 50 percent. A future direction for Japan is to set reduction standards on an LCA basis of 50 percent."
- See the METI press release, Report of the Study Group on Sustainability Standards for the Introduction of Biofuel
- Cyanobacteria generate electricity under sunlight by John Pisciota, Youngjin Zou and Ilia Baskakov, University of Maryland, Baltimore.
- For the first time, researchers at the University of Maryland showed that cyanobacteria have a natural ability to convert sunlight directly into electricity, as reported this week in the journal PLoS One: Light-Dependent Electrogenic Activity of Cyanobacteria.
- "Cyanobacteria account for ~30% of Earth’s photosynthetic productivity. The amount of energy that passes through cyanobacteria exceeds more than 25 times the energy consumed by humans."
- "This previously unappreciated process could be responsible for a considerable influx of energy into the Earth’s biosphere".
- Cyanobacteria utilize the energy of sun light to drive photosynthesis, a process where the energy of light is used to split water molecules into oxygen, protons and electrons. While most of the high-energy electrons derived from water are utilized by the cyanobacterial cells for their own needs, scientists at the University of Maryland BioMET laboratories found that a fraction of these electrons are donated to the external environment, generating electricity.”
- "The newly discovered physiological activity of cyanobacteria can be utilized for generating green electricity in completely self-sustainable, CO2-free manner."
- A new, improved outlook for biofuels: UBS sees opportunity in advanced technology, switch to nonfood feedstock, 10 June 2010 by Martin Mittelstaedt of The Globe and Mail: "The mania over ethanol as fuel didn’t play out so well for investors last time, but there might be a new way to profit from the renewable energy industry as companies rush to commercialize what is being dubbed second-generation biofuel production. The big winners are expected to be enzyme makers, forest companies, and the agricultural sector. "
- "The call by UBS for investors to take a plunge back into biofuels is one of the first by a major investment firm since a disastrous crash in the sector two years ago. The shares of many companies that were trying to make ethanol from corn, for blending into gasoline, have plunged, and scientific critics have assailed the idea of using food as fuel, saying it had few environmental benefits."
- Mass. study: Wood power worse polluter than coal, 10 June 2010 by Associated Press: "A new study has found that wood-burning power plants using trees and other 'biomass' from New England forests releases more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than coal over time."
- "The report, conducted by the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences, concludes that the net cumulative emissions of greenhouse gases from replacing coal-fired plants with biomass would be 3 percent greater by 2050 than from using coal to generate electricity."
- "Researchers arrived at the figure by comparing how much carbon is emitted into the atmosphere through the burning of wood — what they termed 'carbon debt' — with the amount of carbon removed from the atmosphere from the regrowth of forests, or 'carbon dividends.'"
- "The report found that harvesting trees for biomass facilities could have 'significant localized impacts on the landscape, including aesthetic impacts of locally heavy harvesting as well as potential impacts on recreation and tourism.'"
- "The study has broad policy implications for states like Massachusetts. And environmental groups called the study 'a wake up call.'"
- Surging costs hit food security in poorer nations, 6 June 2010 by Associated Press: "With food costing up to 70 percent of family income in the poorest countries, rising prices are squeezing household budgets and threatening to worsen malnutrition....Compounding the problem in many countries: prices hardly fell from their peaks in 2008, when global food prices jumped in part due to a smaller U.S. wheat harvest and demand for crops to use in biofuels."
- "The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization's food price index — which includes grains, meat, dairy and other items in 90 countries — was up 22 percent in March from a year earlier though still below 2008 levels."
- "Costs also have been pushed up by a rebound in global commodity prices, especially for soy destined for Asian consumption. That has prompted a shift in Argentina and elsewhere to produce more for export, which has led to local shortages of beef and other food."
- "In Argentina, soy production has taken over more than 32 million acres (13 million hectares) of grassland once used to raise cattle and replaced less profitable wheat and corn as well, driving up prices in supermarkets."
- Big Meat: Fueling Change or Greenwashing Fuel?, 3 June 2010 by Anna Lappé in The Atlantic: "On January 13, 2009, Tyson—one of the world's largest processors of chicken, beef, and pork—and the fuel company Syntroleum broke ground in Geismar, Louisiana, on a 'renewable' diesel plant. The fuel will be produced in part with Tyson factory farm byproducts, including animal fat and poultry litter."
- "Tyson claims these facilities produce eco-friendly, cleaner-burning fuels from scraps that would otherwise be wasted. But critics beg to differ, arguing that the fuel doesn't actually burn any cleaner and, worse, that these plants incentivize intensive livestock production and processing methods that are decidedly bad for the environment and the climate. They charge that this fuel is renewable only in the narrowest sense, if you ignore the complete life cycle of its production. The fuels depend on energy-intensive, greenhouse-gas-emitting confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), which require feed raised with methods that deplete topsoil and overuse synthetic fertilizer, contributing to carbon dioxide emissions."
- Development of Methodologies for Determining Preferred Landscape Designs for Sustainable Bioenergy Feedstock Production Systems at a Watershed Scale, 2 June 2010 by grants.gov, comments by 25 x 25: "The DOE announced this week it is making $5 million in funding for research focused on sustainable production of large quantities of non-food biomass for bioenergy."
- "This is part of DOE's commitment to expanding domestic bioenergy without negatively impacting environmental quality, biodiversity, and the availability of food, feed, fiber, and water. The DOE says biomass will play a significant role in a renewable energy future, especially for the production of liquid transportation fuels, as well as biopower and bioproducts."
- "The department says that agricultural and forest lands have the potential to produce a wide variety of biomass feedstocks, all of which must be grown and harvested sustainably without adverse impacts or long-term cumulative effects"
- ZeaChem Celebrates Groundbreaking Of Biorefinery In Boardman, Oregon, 2 June 2010 by ZeaChem: "ZeaChem Inc., a developer of biorefineries for the conversion of renewable biomass into sustainable fuels and chemicals, held a groundbreaking ceremony today for its 250,000 gallon-per-year biorefinery in Boardman, Oregon."
- "The plant will initially use ZeaChem’s core technology... to produce ethyl acetate, a salable chemical intermediate and precursor to cellulosic ethanol."
- "Using an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the company will add the cellulosic ethanol production capability to come online in 2011."
- "ZeaChem has a contract with GreenWood Resources (GWR), a Portland-based timberland investment manager, to obtain sustainable hybrid poplar tree feedstock from the nearby farms held under GreenWood Tree Farm Fund, LP. Because the technology is feedstock agnostic, ZeaChem will also process trials of herbaceous crops, agricultural residuals and other renewable biomass resources."
- Forest Guild Releases Forest Biomass Retention and Harvesting Guidelines for the Northeast, 2 June 2010 by Forest Guild: "The Forest Guild’s new Forest Biomass Retention and Harvesting Guidelines for the Northeast address questions of forest sustainability in a time of increasing interest in harvesting forest biomass for energy security, climate mitigation, and economic reasons."
- The guidelines "are intended to augment and enhance existing Best Management Practices (BMPs) or new state-based biomass guidelines".
- Download the document, Forest Biomass Retention and Harvesting Guidelines for the Northeast (PDF file)
- Cars and People Compete for Grain, 1 June 2010 by Earth Policy Institute: "At a time when excessive pressures on the earth’s land and water resources are of growing concern, there is a massive new demand emerging for cropland to produce fuel for cars — one that threatens world food security."
- "Historically the food and energy economies were separate, but now with the massive U.S. capacity to convert grain into ethanol, that is changing....If the fuel value of grain exceeds its food value, the market will simply move the commodity into the energy economy."
- "The grain required to fill an SUV’s 25-gallon tank with ethanol just once will feed one person for a whole year."
- "Suddenly the world is facing an epic moral and political issue: Should grain be used to fuel cars or feed people?"
- "For every additional acre planted to corn to produce fuel, an acre of land must be cleared for cropping elsewhere. But there is little new land to be brought under the plow unless it comes from clearing tropical rainforests in the Amazon and Congo basins and in Indonesia or from clearing land in the Brazilian cerrado."
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