BlackRock is a major shareholder in the world's largest biomass power station -- a heavy emitter of carbon dioxide that activists want BlackRock to defund.
As well as being the world’s largest investor in fossil fuels and forest destruction, BlackRock is also a major shareholder in Drax Plc in the UK. Drax operates the world’s largest biomass power station, which burns more imported wood every year than the UK can produce. This emits 13 million tonnes of CO2 every year, as well as contributing to forest destruction and environmental injustice. Much of the wood burnt at Drax is sourced from biodiverse forests in the southern USA, Canada and the Baltic states, where these ecosystems are being destroyed and in some cases replaced by monoculture tree plantations.
Despite the vast quantities of CO2 it emits, biomass electricity is classified as “renewable” by many governments. As investors are under more pressure to move away from fossil fuels, it’s important that they don’t switch to funding equally destructive form of energy. In March this year, 32 organisations worldwide wrote to BlackRock calling on it to defund Drax and biomass.
A webinar earlier this year brought together biomass campaigners from the UK, US and Estonia with divestment campaigners and members of the BlackRock’s Big Problem coalition. We heard from Rita Frost from the Dogwood Alliance, which works with communities affected by the wood pellet industry that fuels Drax; Siim Kureso from Estonian Fund for Nature, campaigning to protect Estonia’s forests from the wood pellet industry; Almuth Ernsting from Biofuelwatch, which has a long-term campaign against Drax and biomass in the UK; and Jeff Conant from FoE US, who co-authored the “BlackRock’s Big Deforestation Problem” report. Watch this space for more info on calls for BlackRock to divest from biomass, and contact Biofuelwatch here.