Wood Burning Unsustainable, Huge Footprint; Would Accelerate Warming For Decades

Wood Burning Unsustainable, Huge Footprint; Would Accelerate Warming For Decades

From the NoTricksZone

Governments and activists like claiming that burning wood and wood pellets from trees in power plants is an effective way to reduce global CO2 emissions. Yet researchers now say it is in fact having the opposite effect.


Hat-tip: Klimaschau 115

A team led by Laura Bloomer concluded here in a report that “burning trees and other forest biomass for energy is contrary to climate mitigation, biodiversity protection, and environmental justice goals” and that “governments must stop promoting climate-damaging forest bioenergy.”

The researchers are calling for a stop to the folly of burning trees.

Takes decades to offset

According to the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development (IGSD) press r..., such bioenergy indeed “has a substantial greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint and will accelerate warming for decades” and “in fact, burning woody biomass releases more carbon dioxide (CO2) than fossil fuels per unit of energy” and that it takes many decades for tree regrowth to offset those emissions.

False bioenergy accounting

The researchers say governments have been using “false accounting” when calculating forest bioenergy’s emissions and that it “must end”.

“Countries must move away from forest bioenergy which not only damages the forest sinks but also worsens the air pollution, biodiversity loss and environmental injustice,” said Durwood Zaelke, President of the IGSD.

“Will accelerate warming”

Because of bioenergy’s emissions footprint and the associated forest destruction, it will accelerate warming in the coming decades. The authors argue that countries should end subsidies for and move away from forest bioenergy.





East Europe and the US Southeast still have significant areas with forests. Starting about 2005, major parts of these forests have been harvested by means of clear-cutting. In 2016, about 6.5 million metric ton of wood pellets will be shipped from the US Southeast to Europe for co-firing in coal-fired power plants.


The EU has declared these coal plants in compliance with EU CO2/kWh standards, because biomass is renewable and the CO2 of wood burning is not to be counted., and “Burning wood is CO2-neutral”.





Manufacturing pellets requires input energy of about 115 units, and shipping pellets to European coal plants requires about 10 units, for a total of 125 units to have 100 units of pellet energy fed to a coal plant; the CO2 emissions of pellet burning is declared CO2-neutral, and the other 25% of CO2 emissions is not mentioned.


Most US states have significant areas covered with forests. As part of renewable energy programs, these forests are seen as useful for producing thermal and electrical energy. By using the mantra “Burning wood is CO2-neutral”, the CO2 from wood burning, and associated activities, is ignored, and thus not included in a state’s overall CO2 emissions.


Forests, other biomass and oceans, acting as CO2 sinks, absorb atmospheric CO2 from any source. Those sinks are working at full capacity. As a result, the CO2 they cannot deal with has been building up in the atmosphere for at least the past 100 years.


It is irrational to make the claim “burning wood is CO2-neutral, because biomass growth is absorbing the wood-burning CO2”. Such a claim ignores the sinks are working at full capacity. There is no spare forest area reserved for absorbing any increase in wood-burning CO2.







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Comment by Robert Feller on June 20, 2022 at 7:42am

There are idiots walking around this planet who actually believe that wood is better to burn than refined fossil fuels, they have kids and indoctrinate them into this fantasy world of wanting to keep fossil fuel in the ground and burn down the one thing that utilizes CO2 as a food source.  Idiots, and they walk in lockstep with the rest of the green movement after consuming vast quantities of the koolaide.  Idiots who can't figure out science and aren't interested in anything that would actually make sense.  

Comment by Dan McKay on June 20, 2022 at 5:42am

The premise that increased CO2 is debilitating to the climate is ridiculous. CO2 is a tiny fraction of the atmosphere, but, most notably a fertilizing agent for vegetation.

Maine is at a crossroads in defining an energy policy that works for Maine. Following policies derived from the fear of climate change is a guarantee to alter all human achievements that has led to comfortable shelters and the ability to move around effortlessly.

Maine has a resource that has properties to bridge us into a renaissance nuclear revival.

Wood is good, for warm homes and ample electricity.

Comment by Lynn Oleum on June 19, 2022 at 9:53pm

The RE push isn't about CO2. Russia and China are not hell-bent on being green. China builds one GWe of coal-fired capacity every week, and is building 17 nuclear reactors. They are the ones who want the civilized world to go green -- and be destroyed by it.

Comment by Penny Gray on June 19, 2022 at 6:41pm

Nuclear power is the answer, but the fact that it's being totally blocked makes me wonder what the real question is.  Is this RE push really about CO2?

Comment by Lynn Oleum on June 19, 2022 at 6:36pm

The only way to eliminate CO2 emissions from energy production is nuclear power. It's the safest thing humanity has ever done. In the entire civilized world, more people have been killed by Teddy Kennedy's car. Spent fuel wouldn't be a problem if we'd reprocess it and utilize the 95% that that is unused fuel. http://vandyke.mynetgear.com/Nuclear.html.

We know how to make synthetic fuels from atmospheric or oceanic CO2 + hydrogen, which we can extract using nuclear power.No electric vehicles required. A 1000 lb electric vehicle battery requires digging up and refining 500,000 lb of rocks and dirt. 

Comment by Penny Gray on June 19, 2022 at 5:38pm

Right now I'm hovering beside my wood stove, it's 40 degrees and expected to dip into the 30's tonight with cold rain.  I heat with wood but support practicing sustainable forestry, which isn't happening up here in the north woods now, nor will it be as long as we're clear cutting forests and grinding every bit into pellets.  I do think we're moving (slowly) toward a future where forests are recognized for what they contribute to the health of our environment as living trees as opposed to biomass, and carbon credits are issued to landowners who protect this precious resource.  

Comment by Dan McKay on June 19, 2022 at 4:44pm

Wood is Good. Burning is Good. If man hadn't discovered fire, we all would still be in caves.


Maine as Third World Country:

CMP Transmission Rate Skyrockets 19.6% Due to Wind Power


Click here to read how the Maine ratepayer has been sold down the river by the Angus King cabal.

Maine Center For Public Interest Reporting – Three Part Series: A CRITICAL LOOK AT MAINE’S WIND ACT


(excerpts) From Part 1 – On Maine’s Wind Law “Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine if the law’s goals were met." . – Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, August 2010 https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-power-bandwagon-hits-bumps-in-the-road-3/From Part 2 – On Wind and Oil Yet using wind energy doesn’t lower dependence on imported foreign oil. That’s because the majority of imported oil in Maine is used for heating and transportation. And switching our dependence from foreign oil to Maine-produced electricity isn’t likely to happen very soon, says Bartlett. “Right now, people can’t switch to electric cars and heating – if they did, we’d be in trouble.” So was one of the fundamental premises of the task force false, or at least misleading?" https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-swept-task-force-set-the-rules/From Part 3 – On Wind-Required New Transmission Lines Finally, the building of enormous, high-voltage transmission lines that the regional electricity system operator says are required to move substantial amounts of wind power to markets south of Maine was never even discussed by the task force – an omission that Mills said will come to haunt the state.“If you try to put 2,500 or 3,000 megawatts in northern or eastern Maine – oh, my god, try to build the transmission!” said Mills. “It’s not just the towers, it’s the lines – that’s when I begin to think that the goal is a little farfetched.” https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/flaws-in-bill-like-skating-with-dull-skates/

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Hannah Pingree on the Maine expedited wind law

Hannah Pingree - Director of Maine's Office of Innovation and the Future

"Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine."


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