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UK cannot prove sustainability of biomass power plants, warns watchdog

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By illuminem briefings 🌎

· 2 min read


illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on Financial Times or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: The UK's National Audit Office (NAO) criticizes the government's inadequate monitoring of biomass power plants' carbon footprint. Current measures rely on self-reported sustainability data from power plants, which are not thoroughly evaluated by the government

🔭 The context: Biomass power, a significant contributor to the UK's electricity supply, has received substantial government subsidies
Concerns arise over the actual sustainability of biomass energy, as it could potentially have a higher carbon footprint than fossil fuels if not sourced sustainably

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: Biomass is considered low carbon, as plants used for biomass sequester carbon. However, if not managed correctly, the biomass industry could inadvertently contribute to higher carbon emissions, impacting global climate goals

⏭️ What's next: The UK government faces calls for a rigorous review of its assurance mechanisms to ensure that public funds effectively contribute to the nation's climate targets. This could lead to stricter regulations and oversight of the biomass energy sector

💬 One quote: Dame Meg Hillier, chair of the Commons Public Accounts Committee, stated, "Biomass could have a key role in achieving net zero, but only if it is genuinely sustainable."

📈 One stat: Biomass power plants provided approximately 11% of the UK's electricity in 2022.


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