Watchdogging Industry Claims
Since 2013, PFPI has been watchdogging “green” and “carbon neutral” claims by the biomass and wood pellet industries, and pursuing those that seem to constitute fraud. We engage on a variety of fronts. We monitor banks and other financial entities, including socially responsible investment groups, highlighting financial, reputational, and regulatory risks of bioenergy projects. We authored and promoted shareholder resolutions on evaluating bioenergy impacts at Dominion Energy, which has several wood-burning power plants, in 2014, 2015, and 201674. We submitted one report on bioenergy greenwashing to the Federal Trade Commission, and three reports to the US Securities and Exchange Commission, including a formal petition for an SEC rulemaking on what companies can claim about climate “benefits” of bioenergy and other bio-based products. We also engage with corporate sustainability rating schemes, alerting them to the realities of bioenergy impacts and encouraging them to move beyond the default treatment of bioenergy as “carbon neutral.” We are also working with international allies, including Biofuelwatch and the Environmental Paper Network, to engage with EU-based and other international financiers to reinforce how, as pointed out by the CEO of Blackrock, “Climate risk is investment risk,”—particularly given that the bioenergy sector’s viability relies on repeating the Big Lie of biomass carbon neutrality.
Helping to prevent misuse of funding by Green Climate Fund (GCF)
In 2018 PFPI was asked to weigh in on a technical analysis for a bioenergy project proposed to be funded by the GCF in Fiji and Papua New Guinea. The Green Climate Fund was created to help developing countries with adaptation and mitigation practices to counter climate change, and projects only secure support if they can demonstrate a climate benefit. While the project had already been approved by the GCF’s technical team, we collaborated with our colleagues at Pivot Point to re-analyze the numbers and showed that far from bringing low-carbon energy, the project would have substantial net emissions. The GCF ultimately abandoned the project.