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Money to burn
Net zero carbon , Issue 1559
drax.jpg OLD Sparky writes: Among the many vested interests poring over the government's new "Net Zero Strategy" document are the tree-burning electricity generators, with the world's largest – Drax in Yorkshire, subsidised at £2m a day – to the fore.

We first highlighted the shocking carbon-accounting fallacy involved in classifying Drax as "green" in 2012, before it started (Eyes 1325 and passim ad nauseam), thus far to no avail. However, clamour is growing ever louder from scientists worldwide to stop classifying the burning of mature trees as anything other than the massive source of avoidable CO2 emissions that it is. Ministers have it under review for a new "biomass strategy" coming next year, which is the fig leaf behind which every mention of biomass-burning in the main document hides.

Shameless sleight of hand
Good news? We are indeed promised a more rigorous approach to the definition of "sustainability" for sources of biomass. By any genuine reckoning, the game should be up for the tree-burning racket. On the other hand, the Net Zero Strategy continues to dangle the spurious prospect of "negative emissions" via burying the substantial CO2 output from biomass-burning under the ground and carefully counting that as a gain, but not counting the emissions in the first place – by which shameless sleight of hand, "negative emissions" are conjured up.

Pending the new 2022 strategy, both Drax and, lamentably, the government simply parrot the fact that the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change declares that "sustainable biomass is crucial to achieving global climate targets".

That may be true of a limited category of low-grade biomass fuels, but categorically not the high-grade biomass that Drax et al use as their main source of fuel: their sophisticated boilers can't use anything less (Eye 1379). A great deal hangs on the government turning away from a decade of false carbon accounting in its 2022 strategy.

More top stories in the latest issue:

BP'S PURE CHEEK
Oil and gas giant BP's share price soars thanks to rising prices – but it still pulls the plug on struggling green supplier Pure Planet in which it has a 24% stake.

TREASURY TROVE
As the head of the Treasury's financial services directorate heads to a new job at Barclays bank, Whitehall jobs watchdog Acoba has yet to find its bark.

LESS IS… LESS
Rishi Sunak's ditching of the 2% digital services tax for a global deal agreed by the OECD means the UK will receive even less tax from big tech in future.

LABOUR OF GLOVE
Supermax products may have been banned in the US, but the link between forced labour in Malaysia and gloves used on NHS wards in the UK remains.

LATE RESPONDERS
MPs criticising the UK's too little, too late approach to the pandemic question the quality of the behavioural "insights" offered to the government.

FAILING THE TEST
Liverpool university takes part in another study that endorses lateral flow tests supplied by Innova Medical Group – a donor to Liverpool's Pandemic Institute.

BLEAK ASSESSMENT
As government tries to remove the rights of patients to be properly assessed before leaving hospital, the replacement scheme's funding raises big questions.

NAVAL GRAZING
Admiral Sir Philip Jones, head of the Royal Navy until June 2019, sails into a new job advising… the Ministry of Defence's top supplier, BAE Systems!

CHURCH NEWS
As a conservative evangelical, Anglican Bishop of Rochester Dr Michael Nazir-Ali's move to Rome is a bit like quitting Ukip to join the Green party.

COURT CIRCULAR
Prince Andrew can believe six impossible things before breakfast because he still retains his mother's love and her belief he could return to royal duty.

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Next issue on sale: 8th December 2021
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Private Eye Issue 1559
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Virulent new Delta variant backs government’s ‘wait and see’ strategy… ‘Santa allowed to make unlimited deliveries in December’ to save Christmas… Freed from the EU yoke, we can now pour British turds into our rivers – Daily Brexpress exclusive… Putin and Xi agree to save energy by not going to COP26…US in shock over fatal shooting not involving a cop or a black man… Critics praise David Hare’s row with BBC as his ‘first decent drama in years’… Supporters of Assisted Dying Bill fight to keep it alive… Shock scenes in New York as UN unites to say ‘We don’t want Matt Hancock’… ‘We need kinder, gentler politics’ agree all the worst people online… Dame Joan Collins’ Diary, as told to Craig Brown

Mindful madness
Now Defra goes happy cr-appy

Centre parting
Starmer and his party’s uncontrollable purges

Forced labour
From Malaysia to an NHS ward near you

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Private Eye Issue 1558
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