Drax is the UK’s single largest emitter of carbon dioxide. Its power station causes serious harm to the climate and the environment by burning more coal than any other UK plant and more wood than any other plant in the world. Much of the wood comes from the clearcutting of carbon rich forests in the southern US which lie at the heart of a global biodiversity hotspot.

In order to meet the goal of the Paris Climate Agreement, it is vital for the UK to phase out carbon emissions from fossil fuels and high-carbon biomass, not increase them. Permitting power stations such as Drax to burn large quantities of natural gas will push us beyond the 1.5 degree limit and prevent the UK from meeting its international climate change commitments. 

Climate change is bringing drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty to hundreds of millions of people, and air pollution in the UK is causing tens of thousands of premature deaths each year. The UK government should be reducing energy demand and shifting to clean energy, but instead it’s considering allowing the UK’s biggest coal plant to turn into the country’s biggest gas plant - and to pump our atmosphere full of dirty emissions for decades to come.

Please sign to stop Drax building the UK’s biggest gas plant here.

Karin Edstedt, member of Afrikagrupperna (African Groups of Sweden), has studied the consequences of the Norwegian company Green Resources plantation activities in Uganda. She wrote two blog posts about this on Afrikagrupperna's website in April 2018 (only in Swedish). Green Resources reacted on the blog posts and wrote a letter to Afrikagrupperna. 

Karin Edstedt has written a reply to Green Resources which can be read here.

"Forest Like It Was" is a trailer to the future movie about the shrinking forest of Scandinavia, the last Taiga. The plot is the invitation
"Will we ever return to Taiga forest? Will we be able to see it through the eyes of the ancestors?" We will see and understand it in our future film.

Please sign this action alert demanding justice for villagers in Kachung and Bukaleba in Uganda.

The operations of the Norwegian industrial forestry plantation and carbon offset company Green Resources have resulted in loss of lands, livelihoods and increased hunger for the local communities at Kachung and Bukaleba in Uganda.

The Swedish Energy Agency purchases carbon credits from a large Green Resources alien tree plantation (over 2,000 hectares) in Kachung in Uganda. The Agency has signed a 20 year contract agreement (year 2012-2032) with Green Resources and is currently reassessing whether to resume payments to Green Resources or not. Demand that the Swedish Energy Agency suspends its future payments to Green Resources and cancels the deal for purchase of carbon credits.

Here is an excerpt from Swedish TV4 Kalla Fakta 'The Forbidden Forest' regarding the Swedish Energy Agency's purchase of carbon credits from Kachung, Uganda (2015).

On the 16th of March, 12 NGOs such as Oakland Institute, Protect the Forest, Afrikagrupperna, Climate Action Sweden and Friends of the Earth Sweden, sent an open letter to Green Resources. In the letter, the Norwegian company is urged to allow the villagers to continue to cultivate the land using low impact small-scale subsistence farming methods, and be permitted to graze their animals. The vegetation in the Kachung also needs to be restored to a more natural state using locally indigenous trees instead of monocultural plantations. Norway also needs to cut its national greenhouse gas emissions by finding ways both to reduce energy consumption and improve energy efficiency, as well as increasing carbon storage protecting old natural forests and bringing degraded forests a more natural state, instead of transferring its environmental burden to poor communities that neither contribute to, or benefit from, the corresponding carbon generating activities.

The image of Sweden as a global sustainable forestry leader got shattered when scientists, forest experts and representatives from environmental NGOs from Russia, Finland and the UK visited threatened natural forests in Vildmarksriket (the Wilderness Empire) and Ore Skogsrike (Ore Forest Empire) in Dalarna in Sweden last week. The Swedish forests turned out to be overexploited from an ecological point of view. The pressure on the Swedish forests grows due to an increasing demand for bioenergy and so called sustainable forest products in consumer countries like the U.K. and Germany.

Some of Europe's largest forest companies and exporters of forest products come from Sweden, such as SCA, Stora Enso, Sveaskog and Holmen Skog. More than half of the Swedish forest land is FSC-certified, which intends to guarantee that old-growth forests and environments for endangered species are protected and that the forestry is sustainable and shows consideration for e.g. water, biodiversity, climate and social values.

Experts and representatives from Russia, Finland and the UK were traveling by car through heavily exploited Swedish forest landscapes where plantations and young production forests had replaced the natural forest. The purpose was to travel to two areas where a larger proportion of the landscape consists of high conservation value forests. The natural forest at Brännvinsberget, which is included in the Ore Skogsrike, is planned to be felled by the state-owned and FSC-certified forest company Sveaskog, although the area is a habitat for a wide range of red-listed species. Local conservationists have found over 40 different so-called indicator species in the area, that is, species that indicate that the forest has high conservation values.

Olli Turunen, forest expert from the nature conservation organization FANC in Finland:
"In Sweden, forests are being logged that already 20 years ago would have been protected as reserves on the same latitude in Finland. The Swedish FSC-certified forest companies seem to be unable to recognize and protect high conservation value forests. In Finland, we have the expression "jopa sokea kana näkee sen perssilmällään," which in this context means that even a blind man can see that these are areas with high conservation values and they must be protected.”

The nature conservation expert Olga IIjina from the organization SPOK in Russian Karelia:
"The Swedish law and the protection of species and their habitats appear very dim in the light of that it is allowed to destroy such valuable forests as we have seen examples of here in Dalarna. The Swedish forestry model is promoted as the best and the most sustainable in the world, but not even red-listed species linked to this type of habitat has a strict legal protection in Sweden."

Vildmarksriket and Ore Skogsrike are two forest landscapes below the montane region which have unusually high concentrations of high conservation value forests in Sweden. This is why experts suggest that these forest areas are especially important to protect as reference areas and functional nature. The experts are upset that Sweden is not even capable of protecting the most high conservation value landscapes, habitats and species.

Anastasiya Philippova, nature conservation expert from NeoEcoProject in the Russian Leningrad region said:
"The visited forest areas Ore Skogsrike and Vildmarksriket, whose conservation values have already been identified by Swedish nature conservation experts and scientists, must definitely be excluded from forestry and appropriate measures must be taken in order to ensure long-term protection. There is still a threat to unprotected high conservation value forests in Sweden, but strangely enough also to certain voluntary set aside areas that are exempt from forestry today. It is shocking that even voluntary set aside areas, within the framework of the FSC, can be replaced and logged at any time. This must be investigated and adjusted."

The use and demand of so called biofuels from the forest is increasing. Swedish forest companies guarantee that these products come from sustainable forestry. This claim is questioned by the participants on the excursion in the Swedish forest.

Mark Olden from the UK environmental organization Fern said:
"Dalarna's remaining patches of old growth forest are under intense threat, with precious habitats and rare species being destroyed. The reality on the ground is far from the model of sustainable forestry that industry promotes. Forests which are already overburdened by the demands of the pulp and paper market will be threatened further if they are cleared to meet the EU's growing demand for bioenergy."

Contact:

  • Olli Turunen (Finland): This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Olga IIjina (Russia): This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • AnastasiyaPhilippova (Russia):This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Viktor Säfve (Sweden): This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Mark Olden (UK): This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Download this press-release including background information on the forests in Dalarna, Sweden here.