Press Release | February 23, 2017

SELC Statement on New Findings by UK Institute on Burning Wood Pellets

Charlottesville, VA— An independent analysis published today by the United Kingdom’s Chatham House confirmed that chopping down the Southeast’s forests and wetlands to burn as wood pellets in UK power plants has increased rather than decreased the nation’s heat-trapping CO2 pollution.  The following is a statement by David Carr, general counsel of the Southern Environmental Law Center which has been exposing the adverse  impacts of wood pellet plants in the Southeastern United States, regarding the new study.

“Contrary to claims by Drax and the UK government that burning wood for power reduces carbon pollution, Chatham House found that burning wood from the U.S. and Canada  in the UK emitted 7.8 million tons of CO2 in the year ended June 2016, and that the UK did not account for these emissions in claiming overall reductions. The UK claimed zero emissions from burning solid biomass due to an accounting flaw in both UK and international accounting rules. In fact, burning wood pellets for fuel emits more carbon pollution than burning coal.

“To make matters worse, UK taxpayers and ratepayers are being asked to subsidize this dirty energy play to the tune of £ 800 million per year,” said David Carr, general counsel at the Southern Environmental Law Center. “Instead, the UK should be investing in clean, renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and more efficiency.”

The new analysis is available from the UK independent policy institute Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs at

For more information:


The Southern Environmental Law Center is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. With nine offices across the region (Charlottesville, VA; Chapel Hill, NC; Atlanta, GA; Charleston, SC; Washington, DC; Birmingham, AL; Nashville, TN; Asheville, NC; and Richmond, VA), SELC is widely recognized as the Southeast’s foremost environmental organization and regional leader. SELC works on a full range of environmental issues to protect the South’s natural resources and the health and well-being of all the people in our region.

Press Contacts

Kathleen Sullivan

Senior Communications Manager (NC)

Phone: 919-945-7106
Email: [email protected]