CHARLOTTE, NC -- Forest2Market has sent a letter to the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) outlining the inaccurate and misleading ways Forest2Market's data were used in "Assessing the Greenhouse Gas Impacts and Energy Input Requirements of Using North American Woody Biomass for Electricity Generation in the UK," a report dated July 2014.
These inaccuracies can be found in the way Forest2Market's data are used to quantify the increase in pine pulpwood price and demand. Because accurate data about price and demand are essential to the construction of the scenarios and counterfactuals used by DECC to determine which sources of biomass are most beneficial for decarbonizing UK electricity supplies, the inaccuracies seriously undermine the report's conclusions.
The report fabricates a connection between the acknowledgement of an increase in demand from pellet and OSB manufacturers from 2012 to 2013 in one source and a 22% increase in pine pulpwood prices reported in another. The combination is misleading, as each source covers a different timeframe. The actual reported increase in the first source was 10%, not 22%. This selective use of data gives the appearance of bias on the part of DECC.
The report overlooks data in one Forest2Market source when quantifying the increase in demand for pine pulpwood from pellet and OSB mills. Instead, the report juxtaposes an indefinite increase in demand with a 22% increase in price, implying the increase in demand is roughly equivalent to 22%. Accurate data quantifying this demand are available in another Forest2Market source cited in the report. The actual increase was 6%, with 92% of this total coming from OSB and 8% from pellets. DECC selected the larger number instead of accurately reporting the precise amount of demand from OSB and pellets, again giving the appearance of bias.
By focusing just on demand increases from OSB and pellets, the report fails to provide a more accurate view of demand increases in the South USA market. One of the Forest2Market sources cited in the report quantifies total demand from all pine pulpwood consumers. This source shows a 1.4% or 1.73 million wet ton increase from 2012 to 2013—55% of this increase for OSB, 40% for pulp and paper and 5% for pellets. Of course, this 1.4% increase is significantly less than the 22% number that the report would like its audience to focus on. Again, DECC's selective use of data gives the appearance of bias.
The report misrepresents the data when it states that pine pulpwood demand is forecast by Forest2Market to increase by 17% from 2014-2018. The figure itself shows an 11% increase during that period. The original source confirms this 11% increase.
Because these data are critical for understanding the relative value of biomass sources for reducing GHG emissions, Forest2Market suggest those making policy based on this report proceed with caution.
Forest2Market provide market pricing data, performance benchmarks and analytics, and supply chain expertise to customers in the forest, wood products, pulp and paper, lumber and bioenergy industries in North America, Europe and Brazil. For more information, visit http://www.forest2market.com.
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