Wood Instead of Coal – Political Greenwashing

I know I post a lot of these stories about burning wood instead of coal. I do it because it is one of the greatest hypocrisies in the fight against global warming climate change catastrophe.

It’s the rave in Europe: Instead of burning coal and fossil fuels to generate heat and electricity, wood chips and pellets are being fed into Europe’s boilers. In what critics consider a dangerous sleight-of-hand and act of political greenwashing, an updated set of European Union rules encourage the burning of wood in power plants and claim it’s “carbon neutral” — meaning it won’t add to the planet’s warming — under the assumption that trees grow back.

This strategy plays a big part in the EU’s plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The rules allow European governments to subsidize power plants to convert from burning coal and fossil fuels to burning wood. Across Europe, governments are under pressure to close coal-fired plants.

So-called “biomass energy” is also becoming more popular in Japan and Korea, and some in the United States are pushing for greater reliance on wood-burning.

But many scientists and environmentalists say this is backward thinking that will accelerate the disastrous felling of forests and loss of biodiversity.

Power plants in Europe are increasing the burning of wood pellets from the United States, Canada and Eastern Europe. Environmentalists warn that old forests in those places are being chopped up and left to regrow, or in some cases replaced by forest plantations.

But it’s not only the loss of old forests that worries scientists. Studies have shown that wood-burning power plants emit more carbon dioxide per megawatt hour of electricity produced than plants burning fossil fuels.

Even taking forest regrowth into account, scientists warn that over decades and centuries burning wood adds more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere than producing energy the old-fashioned way by burning coal and fossil fuels does.

Full story here

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