News Article | February 22, 2017
ARLINGTON, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--CACI International Inc (NYSE: CACI) announced today the release of Combating Asymmetric Threats: Offset Strategies to Prevail Against Asymmetric Threats, a report from the ninth symposium in the Asymmetric Threat symposia series co-sponsored by the Association of Old Crows (AOC), CACI, and the Center for Security Policy (CSP). Summarizing discussions and comments from the symposium, the report considers how offset strategies attempt to position the U.S. to prevail against resurging global power competition, multiregional conflicts, and cross-domain challenges. Copies of the report may be downloaded from the dedicated Asymmetric Threat website at asymmetricthreat.net, or from AOC, CACI, or CSP websites at www.crows.org, www.caci.com, or www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org. Held September 22, 2016 at the Gannett Conference Center in McLean, Va., the symposium featured keynote speakers Lieutenant General Jack Weinstein, Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration, Headquarters, USAF; and Lieutenant General Michael T. Flynn, USA (Ret), Chairman and Chief Executive, Flynn Intel Group and former Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. Panelists included leaders and experts from government, industry, and academia examining the technologies and operational concepts needed to support offset strategies and how these strategies may be applied across federal agencies to gain the advantage against asymmetric threats. The report content reflects the invocation of the Chatham House rule for the symposium and report as non-attributable forums. The report also presents the symposium’s discussions on additional national security challenges, many of the hybrid kind, stemming from the erosion of the U.S.’s technology advantages, constrained budgets, and convoluted acquisitions processes. Opportunities that may be found in offset strategies involving technologies such as human-machine teaming may need to be applied across federal agencies and the private sector, and may further involve pursuing agile acquisition processes and legal tools. Comments by the symposium leadership emphasized several aspects of the event’s proceedings. CACI Executive Chairman and Chairman of the Board Dr. J.P. (Jack) London, who gave the welcoming remarks at the symposium, said, “The Combating Asymmetric Threats: Offset Strategies to Prevail Against Asymmetric Threats report articulates the opportunities and pitfalls of countervailing strategies to give the U.S. an edge on today’s complex battlefields. We need innovative, multi-dimensional, and nuanced approaches that incorporate new technologies and coordinate resources across government and industry to defeat adversaries who challenge us in every domain. CACI and its partners also look forward to hosting the 10th symposium in the Asymmetric Threat series next fall to continue this critical national dialogue promoting our nation’s security and its position as a global leader.” According to AOC President Lisa Frugé-Cirilli, “Electromagnetic spectrum (EMS) operations have become a decisive and discriminating enabler of hybrid warfare and offset strategies. The Association of Old Crows continues to advocate harvesting the constructive synergies between cyber and electronic warfare to ensure technological superiority and multi-domain dominance. We recognize that we must be able to manage the EMS much better than we do today, respond more quickly to adaptive threats, and seek a better balance between defensive and offensive EMS operations. Participating in the Asymmetric Threat IX symposium allowed the AOC to underscore its focus on finding, forging, and fielding offset technologies, capabilities, and operational concepts. The EMS technological opportunities we have yet to master are no greater than those we have already overcome.” CSP President and Chief Executive Officer Frank Gaffney stated, “The Ninth Asymmetric Threat Symposium presented an array of timely treatments of critical national security topics. Especially valuable was an insightful discussion of how we can win against the global jihad movement and its allies.” Since its founding in 2008 by CACI Executive Chairman and Chairman of the Board Dr. J.P. (Jack) London and Lead Director on CACI’s Board of Directors Dr. Warren Phillips, the Asymmetric Threat symposium series has provided a forum for thought leadership on national security. Symposium One, co-sponsored by CACI and the National Defense University and held May 8, 2008 at the National Defense University in Washington, DC, defined the asymmetric threat problem. Symposium Two, co-sponsored by CACI and the U.S. Naval Institute (USNI) and held October 21, 2008 at Ft. Myer, Virginia, addressed the efficacy of soft power. Symposium Three, co-sponsored by CACI and USNI and held March 24, 2009 at Ft. Myer, concluded the series by addressing the role of smart power in defeating asymmetric threats. Symposium Four, co-sponsored by CACI and USNI and held March 2, 2010 at Ft. Myer, centered on countering challenges to the global supply chain. Symposium Five, co-sponsored by CACI, USNI, and CSP and held March 1, 2011 at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, DC, focused on cyber challenges to the U.S.’s economy and industrial base. Symposium Six, co-sponsored by CACI, USNI, and CSP and held May 8, 2012 at the U.S. Navy Memorial in Washington, DC, addressed decision superiority. Symposium Seven, co-sponsored by AOC, CACI, and CSP and held April 2, 2013 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, DC, addressed the interplay of offensive and defensive measures in shaping the outcomes of asymmetric conflicts. Symposium Eight, co-sponsored by AOC, CACI, and CSP and held October 1, 2014 at the Gannett Conference Center in McLean, Virginia addressed role of cyber, electromagnetic spectrum dominance, and electronic warfare in defending the U.S. and assuring military operational superiority. AOC is a not-for-profit international professional association with over 13,000 members and 200+ organizations engaged in the science and practice of Electronic Warfare, Information Operations, and related disciplines. AOC promotes the exchange of new ideas and information and the dissemination of new research and knowledge in these fields and publishes a monthly professional magazine, the Journal of Electronic Defense. Learn more at www.crows.org. CSP is a non-profit, non-partisan national security organization that specializes in identifying policies, actions, and resource needs that are critical to American security. The group ensures these issues are the subject of focused, principled examination and effective action by recognized policy experts, appropriate officials, opinion leaders, and the general public. Learn more at www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org. CACI provides information solutions and services in support of national security missions and government transformation for Intelligence, Defense, and Federal Civilian customers. CACI is a member of the Fortune 1000 Largest Companies, the Russell 2000 Index, and the S&P SmallCap600 Index. CACI’s sustained commitment to ethics and integrity defines its corporate culture and drives its success. With approximately 20,000 employees worldwide, CACI provides dynamic career opportunities for military veterans and industry professionals to support the nation’s most critical missions. Join us! www.caci.com. There are statements made herein which do not address historical facts, and therefore could be interpreted to be forward-looking statements as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements are subject to factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from anticipated results. The factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated include, but are not limited to, the risk factors set forth in CACI’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2016, and other such filings that CACI makes with the Securities and Exchange Commission from time to time. Any forward-looking statements should not be unduly relied upon and only speak as of the date hereof.
Agency: GTR | Branch: AHRC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 410.94K | Year: 2012
This proposal seeks to build on the achievements of the Centre for East European Language-Based Area Studies (CEELBAS) in building UK capacity to understand and respond to developments in the strategically-important region of Central and Eastern Europe and Russia. The three development pathways outlined here are designed to enhance impact, particularly through interaction and engagement with non-academic communities, with a specific focus on the Humanities and Language elements of CEELBAS research and training (although the Centre will promote interdisciplinarity and will explore other funding sources to continue specifically social science-based activities). Phase 2 of CEELBAS offers a significant opportunity to underline and showcase the vital contributions made by Humanities and Language expertise in addressing major research and policy challenges in areas such as the changing global order, migration and mobility, security and stability, health and wellbeing, and inter-cultural relations. A major goal in the new phase of the project will be to clarify and promote the conceptual and practical (economic, political, social) impacts beyond academe that have been and will be generated by research in the fields of History and Culture. Drawing on networks and partnerships established since 2006, and developing new ones, the first pathway aims to create sustainable knowledge exchange relationships with public, private and third-sector organisations through both collaborative events and, where feasible, internships and placements. Efforts will be made to demonstrate the mutual benefits of interaction and exchange between researchers and external partners. In order to achieve enhanced impacts, the project will disseminate the knowledge produced by leading edge research beyond academic institutions and environments, whilst giving researchers increased access to the knowledge, perspectives and feedback of user organisations. The second pathway centres on international research networks and exchanges, through which the numerous international contacts and partnerships at CEELBAS universities will be developed to enable UK and international researchers to collaborate and share expertise, including in areas of knowledge exchange and user engagement. This aims to raise the international profile and connectedness of UK research, helping to create a vibrant research environment in which different insights and approaches are shared and applied across borders. The third pathway aims to build capacity in research and language skills training networks for postgraduates. This includes training for knowledge exchange, public and media engagement, and interaction with non-academic audiences. Building on successful CEELBAS training initiatives developed since 2006, this pathway seeks to put in place the resources and infrastructure to deliver sustainable, cost-effective and innovative provision in advanced language and research skills. The pathway activities aim to develop a template for best practice that will be applicable beyond the East European area studies research community (and its users), particularly, for example, in supporting future LBAS development for other regions, such as South Asia and Latin America. More broadly, CEELBAS aims to show innovation and leadership in promoting research excellence and knowledge exchange, and in providing training and career opportunities for postgraduate and early-career researchers. This will help to ensure that Humanities and language-based expertise at UK universities continues to play a central role in addressing issues of strategic national importance and in advancing international cooperation and intercultural communication and exchange.
News Article | February 24, 2017
Mobile and fixed telecom infrastructure leaders, investors and advisers are meeting with other Telecom, Media and Tech leaders to assess global growth, merger and acquisition strategies at TMT M&A Forum 2017 in London on March 28-29. Key speakers from TDF, Cellnex, Eurofiber, Digital Bridge, Arcus Infrastructure Group, euNetworks, Axion, CityFibre and Wireless Infrastructure Group, are among those featured on infrastructure panels at the event which gathers CEOs, CFOs, CSOs and Heads of M&A from telecom, media and technology leaders, investment bankers, investors and advisers. “The mobile and fixed communications infrastructure sector is changing rapidly across Europe and globally and mergers and acquisitions will play a major role in growth and development of the leading operators, “ said Dominic Lowndes, Managing Director, TMT Finance. “The TMT M&A Forum provides a great opportunity for mobile infrastructure operators to meet with a range of other telecom, media and tech leaders as well as investment bankers and advisers to establish the deals and partnerships for the next phase of growth” The event, which is now in its fifth year, has been expanded to two days this year to meet demand as convergence drives more deals across the telecom, media and tech sectors. Several sessions tackle infrastructure investment in mobile, fixed and satellite. A maximum of 350 senior executives can attend the event which is Chatham House Rules with no media permitted. TMT M&A Forum 2017 takes place in London on March 28-29, gathering key industry, finance and advisory executives to discuss global opportunities for partnership and investment across telecoms, media and tech. For more information, go to http://www.tmtfinance.com/merger/programme
News Article | February 23, 2017
Russia's military has admitted for the first time the scale of its information warfare effort, saying it was significantly expanded post-Cold War. Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said that Russian "information troops" were involved in "intelligent, effective propaganda", but he did not reveal details about the team or its targets. The admission follows repeated allegations of cyberattacks against Western nations by the Russian state. Nato is reported to be a top target. During the Cold War both the USSR and the West poured resources into propaganda, to influence public opinion globally and sell their competing ideologies. Speaking to Russian MPs, Mr Shoigu said "we have information troops who are much more effective and stronger than the former 'counter-propaganda' section". Keir Giles, an expert on the Russian military at the Chatham House think-tank, has warned that Russian "information warfare" occupies a wider sphere than the current Western focus on "cyber warriors" and hackers. "The aim is to control information in whatever form it takes," he wrote in a Nato report called "The Next Phase of Russian Information Warfare". "Unlike in Soviet times, disinformation from Moscow is primarily not selling Russia as an idea, or the Russian model as one to emulate. "In addition, it is often not even seeking to be believed. Instead, it has as one aim undermining the notion of objective truth and reporting being possible at all," he wrote. Russia has been testing Nato in various ways, including targeting individual soldiers via their social media profiles, Mr Giles told the BBC. "They have been reaching out to individuals and targeting them as if it comes from a trusted source," he said. There have been reports of Russian information attacks targeting Nato troops in the Baltic states, the Polish military, and Ukrainian troops fighting pro-Russian rebels. Russia rejects Western narratives about its "disinformation", instead accusing Nato of aggressive expansion and support for anti-Russian nationalists in Ukraine. Russia's effort in cyberspace is under intense Western scrutiny following high-level US accusations that Russian hackers helped to swing the presidential election in favour of Donald Trump. According to Mr Giles, the Russian military decided to prioritise information warfare after the 2008 Russia-Georgia conflict. The country's security apparatus drew lessons from its "inability to dominate public opinion about the rights and wrongs of the war", he said. Commenting on Mr Shoigu's remarks, former Russian commander-in-chief Gen Yuri Baluyevsky said a victory in information warfare "can be much more important than victory in a classical military conflict, because it is bloodless, yet the impact is overwhelming and can paralyse all of the enemy state's power structures". The EU has a special team to combat Russian "myths" spread on social media, called the East StratCom Task Force.
News Article | February 21, 2017
Strategy and M&A leaders from leading global telecom, media and technology companies including Amazon, Altice Group, BT, Endemol Shine, Etisalat, Google, Vivendi, Millicom and Scripps will discuss the impact of mergers and acquisitions at TMT M&A Forum 2017 in London on March 28-29. Over 100 key speakers including CEOs, CSOs, CFOs, Heads of M&A, Investment Bankers, Private Equity investors, legal and professional advisers have been announced for the event which has been expanded to two days this year to meet demand as convergence drives more deals across the sector. “We are delighted to have such an outstanding line up of new speakers representing Telecoms, Media and Tech as well as the leading Investment Banks, Law Firms, Private Equity investors and advisers active in TMT M&A,” said TMT Finance Managing Director, Dominic Lowndes. “The event provides an exciting opportunity to discuss the best strategies for growth and investment and the likely impact of the next wave of merger and acquisitions with the people leading, advising and financing those deals.” A maximum of 350 senior executives can attend the event which is Chatham House Rules with no media permitted. Key sessions at the event include: Telecom and Media M&A Strategies; TMT M&A; Enterprise Cloud Consolidation; Digital Transformation through M&A; Datacentres and Hosting; TMT Infrastructure M&A; Health; Mobile Towers; TV, Video, Broadcast and Satellite; Digital Leaders; Financing TMT LBOs; Regulation and Risk in TMT M&A; Digital Disruption; Fintech; Mobile Money and Banking; M2M and the Internet of Things; Artificial Intelligence; Virtual Reality; Investor Strategies and IT Services and Software. TMT M&A Forum 2017 takes place in London on March 28-29, gathering key industry, finance and advisory executives to discuss global opportunities for partnership and investment across telecoms, media and tech. For more information, go to http://www.tmtfinance.com/merger/programme
News Article | February 23, 2017
Countries in the EU, including the UK, are throwing away money by subsidising the burning of wood for energy, according to an independent report. While burning some forms of wood waste can indeed reduce greenhouse gas emissions, in practice the growing use of wood energy in the EU is increasing rather than reducing emissions, the new report concludes. Overall, burning wood for energy is much worse in climate terms than burning gas or even coal, but loopholes in the way emissions are counted are concealing the damage being done. “It is not a great use of public money,” says Duncan Brack of the policy research institute Chatham House in London, who drew up the report. “It is providing unjustifiable incentives that have a negative impact on the climate.” The money would be better spent on wind and solar power instead, he says. It is widely assumed that burning wood does not cause global warming, that it is “carbon neutral”. But the report, which is freely available, details why this is not true. Firstly, burning wood produces more carbon dioxide, methane and nitrogen dioxide per unit of energy produced than coal. When forests are logged, their soils also release carbon over the next decade or two. There are also emissions from the transport and processing of wood, which can be considerable. By contrast, forests that are left to grow continue soak up carbon. This is true even for mature forests, the report says. Older trees absorb much more carbon than younger trees, so despite the death of some trees, mature forests are still a carbon sink overall. As for the idea that all the CO2 emitted when wood is burned is eventually soaked up when trees regrow, this can take up to 450 years if forests do indeed regrow, the report says. To avoid dangerous climate change, however, emissions need to be reduced right away. Supporters of bioenergy claim the industry is only using waste from sawmills and such, rather than whole trees. Producing energy from genuine wood waste that would otherwise be left to rot can indeed be better than burning fossil fuels. But in reality, there simply is not enough waste wood to meet demand. What waste there is often contains too much dirt, bark and ash to burn in power plants, or is already used for other purposes. Instead, there is substantial felling of whole trees for energy, the report says. “I think the evidence is pretty strong,” says Brack. Official definitions are so poor that companies can cut down whole trees and count them as waste, he says. There is also no evidence that new forests are being planted to meet demand for bioenergy, as some bioenergy enthusiasts claim. For instance, forest area in the southern US, which provides much of the wood pellets burned in the EU, is not increasing. Substantial changes in policies are needed to ensure biomass burning reduces rather than increases emissions. In particular, the report recommends the introduction of much stricter criteria to ensure only genuine waste wood is used. It also recommends a number of changes to close the various carbon accounting loopholes that allow the EU to claim its bioenergy policy is reducing its greenhouse gas emissions, when it is fact it is having the opposite effect. “Many countries are increasing use of biomass as renewable energy,” Mary Booth of the US-based Partnership for Policy Integrity and a reviewer on the report, said in a statement. “Alarmingly, the Chatham House report concludes that uncounted emissions from the ‘biomass loophole’ are likely large, and likely to significantly undermine efforts to address climate change.”
News Article | February 26, 2017
European nations, including the UK, are making a grave accounting error that will result in the emissions of more planet-warming greenhouse gases, according to a new report from an independent London think tank. By counting the burning of wood pellets from felled forests in the U.S., Canada and Russia as a "renewable" or "sustainable" form of energy, nations in the European Union are masking their full impact on the environment, the report warns. The study, from Chatham House, comes as European officials debate policies that favor particular energy sources, including biomass energy such as wood pellets, as a way to cut planet-warming carbon dioxide. SEE ALSO: Something is very, very wrong with the Arctic climate The report warns that contrary to what many policy makers have been saying, bioenergy involves about as much carbon emissions as coal. In fact, if wood is burned to make steam for electricity, this practice may be 50 percent more carbon intensive than coal per unit of electricity produced. Bioenergy policy may seem like an issue buried in the weeds (so to speak) of climate policy, but scientists say the future severity of global warming is at stake in determining the European Union's (EU) policies toward biomass burning. If the wrong policies remain in place, the EU may inadvertently torpedo the globe's chances to live up to the commitments made under the Paris Climate Agreement. “The Paris temperature goal is in peril because of the way we’re dealing with bioenergy,” William Moomaw, a professor at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, said in an interview. The EU is the world’s biggest user of biomass for electricity generation, with its use growing quickly. With the Trump administration wavering on its support for the climate pact, the policies adopted by other nations and groups of countries have taken on an increased importance. According to the report, emissions from the burning of wood pellets are never truly accounted for, either at the point of combustion or when trees are cut down to make the pellets. To put that another way, European nations are currently allowed to burn wood pellets from trees that have been chopped down in the Southeast U.S., and no one — neither the U.S. nor the European countries — ever marks down the emissions on their carbon checking account. The study found that despite being responsible for several million tons of carbon emissions in 2016, the UK did not log any emissions from burning wood pellets because of accounting loopholes. The report recommends that emissions be tallied from the point when forests are cut all the way through combustion. This is critical, since trees are a huge absorber of atmospheric carbon, known to climate policy specialists and scientists as a carbon "sink." European governments are working to eliminate subsidies for fossil fuels, but they have been maintaining financial support for bioenergy, encouraging the clear cutting of swaths of forests in the southeastern U.S. to produce wood pellets that are shipped to power plants across the Atlantic Ocean. In other words, loggers are chopping down huge swaths of forests in the Southeast to produce wood pellets that are shipped to Europe, where they’re burned in power plants. The Chatham House report found that burning wood for energy is far less efficient compared to using solar panels to do the same thing. "Burning wood converts solar energy into electricity with an efficiency of only one-quarter of one percent compared to 20 percent for solar panels that release no emissions during operations," Moomaw said. The bioenergy issue is causing us to skirt along a “knife’s edge” when it comes to our future, Moomaw said. “If we do it the other way and actually protect and restore degraded forests and other degraded terrestrial lands we actually can pull far more out of the atmosphere than people realize,” he added, noting that’s “a system of negative emissions that’s been working for 300 million years. We know it works.” Regarding the accounting rules that are incentivizing bioenergy without fully accounting for the carbon emissions, Moomaw said: “Somebody has to stand up and tell the kids there is no Santa Claus.” BONUS: These bladeless wind generators are economic and bird friendly
News Article | January 27, 2017
Britain’s first nuclear power station in two decades will be delayed by a government decision to quit Europe’s atomic power treaty, experts have warned. Ministers revealed on Thursday that Brexit would involve the UK leaving Euratom, which promotes research into nuclear power and uniform safety standards. The news poses problems for the Hinkley Point C station in Somerset, while raising questions over safety inspection regimes and the UK’s future participation in nuclear fusion research. “Leaving Euratom is a lose-lose for everyone. For nuclear proponents, the industry becomes less competitive – and for nuclear critics, safety regulation diminishes,” said Dr Paul Dorfman of the Energy Institute at University College London. Referring to Hinkley and other nuclear projects in the pipeline, he said: “The UK nuclear industry is critically dependent on European goods and services in the nuclear supply chain and their specialist nuclear skills. Leaving Euratom will inevitably increas nuclear costs and will mean further delays. EDF, which is building the Hinkley project and hopes to construct other plants, has told MPs that “ideally” the UK would stay in the treaty, as it provided a framework for complying with international standards for handling nuclear material. Without mentioning Hinkley, the French state-owned company also warned that restrictions on the movement of people because of Brexit could delay delivery of new energy infrastructure. Antony Froggatt, a research fellow at the Chatham House thinktank, said: “Outside of Euratom and the single market, the movement of nuclear fuel, equipment and trained staff will be more complicated.” He noted that because the UK was a supporter of nuclear power, Brexit would affect the balance of nuclear policies in the EU, where Germany, Italy and even strongly pro-nuclear France had taken steps in recent years to reduce their reliance on atomic power. Vince Zabielski, a nuclear energy specialist at the law firm Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, said: “If the UK leaves Euratom before new standalone nuclear cooperation treaties are negotiated with France and the US, current new build projects will be placed on hold while those standalone treaties are negotiated.” Other lawyers questioned why the government had decided to quit Euratom and in the manner it had done so, in the explanatory notes accompany the article 50 bill. “There doesn’t seem to have been any real explanation as to why, because we are going towards the unknown at great speed. Legally we don’t have to [leave Euratom because the UK is leaving the EU],” said Jonathan Leech, a senior lawyer and nuclear expert at Prospect Law. “At the moment, the UK standing on the world nuclear stage is predicated on a series of cooperation agreements, and those we have the benefit of from being a member of Euratom, and the few bilateral agreements are based on Euratom, too. Take that away and you have no basis for international nuclear cooperation.” He said quitting Euratom would create unnecessary uncertainty for new nuclear power and research into fusion power, a cleaner alternative to nuclear fission in which the UK has been a world leader for decades. Although the short-term future of the Joint European Torus, a nuclear fusion research centre in Oxfordshire, is guaranteed until 2018, last year’s referendum result and the withdrawal from Euratom puts its longer-term future in doubt. Bernard Bigot, the director of the ITER project, a huge international undertaking to develop nuclear fusion in the south of France, said he believed the UK could still participate in ITER even when it leaves the treaty. “There are several ways for the UK to pursue its participation to ITER within the Brexit policy, if there is political will of the UK and the EU. This could occur either within or outside of the Euratom arrangement,” he said. Leaving Euratom is likely to also add to the workload of the UK’s nuclear regulator, the Office for Nuclear Regulation, which is busy assessing designs for Britain’s first Chinese-designed nuclear power plant. “The main burden of the UK leaving Euratom will be the need for it to cover its nuclear non-proliferation safeguards commitment and for this it will have to either set up a separate, independent agency or bring these treaty responsibilities into the Office for Nuclear Regulation,” said John Large, a nuclear consultant. EDF said it had made its view clear on Euratom, and rejected the suggestion that the UK’s withdrawal from the treaty would delay Hinkley Point C. A government spokeswoman said the UK wanted to see a continuity of cooperation and standards. “We remain absolutely committed to the highest standards of nuclear safety, safeguards and support for the industry. Our aim is clear – we want to maintain our mutually successful civil nuclear cooperation with the EU,” she said.
News Article | February 23, 2017
Using wood pellets to generate low-carbon electricity is a flawed policy that is speeding up not slowing down climate warming. That's according to a new study which says wood is not carbon neutral and emissions from pellets are higher than coal. Subsidies for biomass should be immediately reviewed, the author says. But the industry rejected the report saying that wood energy cuts carbon significantly compared to fossil fuels. While much of the discussion has focussed on wind and solar power, across Europe the biggest source of green energy is biomass. It supplies around 65% of renewable power - usually electricity generated from burning wood pellets. EU Governments, under pressure to meet tough carbon cutting targets, have been encouraging electricity producers to use more of this form of energy by providing substantial subsidies for biomass burning. However this new assessment from Chatham House suggests that this policy is deeply flawed when it comes to cutting CO2. According to the author, current regulations do not count the emissions from the burning of wood at all, assuming that they are balanced by the planting of new trees. Duncan Brack, the independent environmental policy analyst who wrote the report, says this idea is not credible. "It doesn't make sense," said Mr Brack, who is also a former special adviser at the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change. "The fact that forests have grown over the previous 20 or 100 years means they are storing large amounts of carbon, you can't pretend it doesn't make an impact on the atmosphere if you cut them down and burn them." "You could fix them in wood products or in furniture or you could burn them, but the impact on the climate is very different." Mr Brack says the assumption of carbon neutrality misses out on some crucial issues, including the fact that young trees planted as replacements absorb and store less carbon than the ones that have been burned. Another major problem is that under UN climate rules, emissions from trees are only counted when they are harvested. However the US, Canada and Russia do not use this method of accounting so if wood pellets are imported from these countries into the EU, which doesn't count emissions from burning, the carbon simply goes "missing". Burning wood pellets can release more carbon than fossil fuels like coal per unit of energy, over their full life cycle, the author argues. Often the products have to travel long distances increasing the emissions associated with their production and transport. Within the EU, the UK is the biggest importer of wood pellets for heat and power, with some 7.5m tonnes shipped from the US and Canada in 2015-16. Most of these imports comes from the southeast US, where there are growing concerns about the trade. "This report confirms once again that cutting down trees and burning them as wood pellets in power plants is a disaster for climate policy, not a solution," said David Carr, General Counsel of the Southern Environmental Law Centre in the US. "Forests in our region, the southeast US, are being clear cut to provide wood pellets for UK power plants. The process takes the carbon stored in the forest and puts it directly into the atmosphere via the smokestack at a time when carbon pollution reductions are sorely needed." Within Europe the push for pellets is also providing incentives for the forest industry to plant more and harvest more trees. Environmentalists are worried that the system is creating a cycle that can't keep up with itself. "If you keep increasing your harvest over a period of time you will never be able to recoup your emissions from burning that growth, you will never catch up with yourself," said Linde Zuidema from Fern. "They are shooting themselves in the foot, they are not taking into account that increased harvesting of trees will actually have an impact on the role that forests play as a carbon sink." Biomass industry sources though have been critical of the report saying that it is a fallacy that it takes decades for a forest to recapture carbon. "Biomass delivers a massive cut in carbon emissions compared to fossil fuels. That principle is at the heart of the industry," said Dr Nina Skorupska from the Renewable Energy Association. "The whole supply chain is monitored in detail to ensure we cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 60% compared to fossil fuels, although the reality is often closer to 80%. "On top of that, there is a significant body of peer-reviewed academic studies, ensuring that this industry is doing what it says on the tin. And it is: biomass cuts carbon, supports forests and delivers reliable renewable energy at a lower cost." As well as the core concern that biomass is a flawed approach to renewable energy, the new study also highlights concerns over the use of BECCS - bio-energy with carbon capture and storage. Scientists, including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), have suggested that this system could be used to suck carbon from the atmosphere to keep the world from dangerous levels of warming. "It's really worrying," said Duncan Brack. "The number of scenarios that the IPCC reviewed that rely on BECCS for ambitious climate change targets, it's crazy, I'm not the only person who's said that." Concern is growing about the continued use of wooden pellets and chips for electric power. The EU has proposed a new system for biomass under its revised Renewable Energy Directive. Duncan Brack says it's a good opportunity to review the current methods of giving subsidies for the use of wood energy across Europe. The use of saw mill waste should be encouraged - but the burning of pellets should be curtailed. "The simplest way is to limit support to those type of biomass that really represent genuine carbon savings, primarily sawmill waste and post-consumer wood waste," said Duncan Brack. "I would rather see support for forest industry, not forest energy." Follow Matt on Twitter and on Facebook.
News Article | February 23, 2017
The U.K. government’s view of biomass as a carbon-neutral energy source is a “flawed assumption,” according to report from Chatham House.