Trees are not the solution to high CO2 despite what “scientists” say.
I’m not worried about CO2, but I am worried about the governments and people who lie and say burning trees is low-CO2. Some people get it.
KATOWICE, Poland – Today, it’s being called the bomb that could explode the United Nations carbon climate emissions accounting system – and possibly destabilize the global climate.
When first conceived, this bomb was thought to be a boon: turn trees and woody biomass into wood pellets. Burn that woody biomass at power plants instead of coal to generate electricity. Plant more trees where the wood was harvested to offset the emissions produced by burning pellets. Then call it green and celebrate a sustainable way to reduce coal emissions.
Some 20 years ago, bioenergy produced from biomass was seen as the next new thing, and a valuable sustainable resource. And because it was deemed renewable, countries that burned biomass – wood pellets instead of coal – would not be required to count those carbon emissions. All that carbon dioxide was believed to be absorbed by the new tree seedlings.
For the purpose of United Nations carbon accounting policy, established under the Kyoto Protocol, the burning of biomass was established as, and is still considered, carbon neutral.
But in recent years, the supposed benign process has been revealed through a series of scientific studies and reports to be a dangerous fraud. It is the ticking bomb underlying the UN accounting system; a potentially large-scale hidden, unreported source of carbon emissions that helps developed countries to meet their Paris pledges.
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Beware of environmentalists coming up with brilliant plans to save the world. And fuels with “bio” in front of the name.
… in the mid-2000s, Western nations, led by the United States, began drafting environmental laws that encouraged the use of vegetable oil in fuels — an ambitious move to reduce carbon dioxide and curb global warming. But these laws were drawn up based on an incomplete accounting of the true environmental costs. Despite warnings that the policies could have the opposite of their intended effect, they were implemented anyway, producing what now appears to be a calamity with global consequences.
The tropical rain forests of Indonesia, and in particular the peatland regions of Borneo, have large amounts of carbon trapped within their trees and soil. Slashing and burning the existing forests to make way for oil-palm cultivation had a perverse effect: It released more carbon. A lot more carbon. NASA researchers say the accelerated destruction of Borneo’s forests contributed to the largest single-year global increase in carbon emissions in two millenniums, an explosion that transformed Indonesia into the world’s fourth-largest source of such emissions.
The big fraud:
It takes more than 30 tractor-trailer loads of wood a day to feed Nova Scotia Power’s Port Hawkesbury biomass plant when it’s running.
But according to the province’s new cap-and-trade carbon-pricing plan, nothing comes out of the facility’s stacks.
The plan classifies biomass as a carbon-neutral way to create electricity or heat.
The province is taking its cue from federal government policy, along with that of the United States and European Union.
All are attempting to meet promises they made at a much-touted 2015 summit in Paris to reduce carbon emissions to a level that would ideally slow global warming.
The problem is that a tremendous amount of greenhouse gases come out of a biomass plant – often more per unit of electricity than if you’d burned coal.
“It’s an accounting fiction,” John Sterman, director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s System Dynamics Group, said of the carbon neutrality of biomass.
“I’d go so far as to call it an accounting fraud.”
Last January, Sterman released a model for analyzing the life-cycle carbon emission of biomass.
He joined a chorus of scientists warning that in the rush to be seen to be doing something to reduce carbon emissions by subsidizing biomass, the western world will actually make them worse.
Read the rest …
The CO2 Forest Accounting Loophole
- Emissions accounting helps determine whether or not nations are on target to achieve their voluntary Paris Agreement reduction goals. Ideally, the global community’s CO2 pledges, adjusted downward over time, would, taken together, help keep the world from heating up by 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100 from a 1900 baseline.
- But scientists are raising the alarm that this goal may already be beyond reach. One reason: a carbon accounting loophole within UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) guidelines accepting the burning of wood pellets (biomass) as a carbon neutral replacement for coal — with wood now used in many European Union and United Kingdom power plants.
- Scientists warn, however, that their research shows that replacing coal with wood pellets in power plants is not carbon neutral. That’s partly because burning wood, which is celebrated by governments as a renewable and sustainable energy resource, is less efficient than coal burning, so it actually produces more CO2 emissions than coal.
- Also, while wood burning and tree replanting over hundreds of years will end up carbon neutral, that doesn’t help right now. Over a short timeframe, at a historical moment when we require aggressive greenhouse gas reductions, wood burning is adding to global emissions. Analysts say that this loophole needs to be closed, and soon, to avoid further climate chaos.
Where I live they are generating 800MW of power using biomass.
The EPA in the USA has followed the EU in declaring wood pellets burning to be carbon neutral.
Even DesmogBlog is throwing a hissy fit.
Me … I’m sad and I’m also laughing. For years the greens have deliberately confused people and tried to make it seem like green = renewable.
They used terms like biomass and biofuel etc etc. And made it seem like it was green and way better than coal.
Burning wood for electric power may be renewable but it isn’t green. It produces 2x the CO2 as natural gas and more than coal in many cirumstances.
I live in British Columbia … a place with lots of trees and a carbon tax. But guess what, our public power utility subsidizes the burning of trees for power.
A couple of miles from me is a pulp mill. They built a 55MW power plant burning wood waste and BC Hydro buys power from them at subsidized rates.
Here’s an article on one of the small projects replacing diesel with wood waste gasification. This is the sad sad paragraph:
That adds up to greenhouse gas reductions of about 400 tonnes a year, and is in-line with BC Hydro’s ongoing efforts to help remote B.C. communities – too far away from the electricity system to be serviced by the 98% clean energy generated by BC Hydro – reduce their fossil fuel emissions.
Its sad because they can only claim GHG reductions if they lie and claim wood is “carbon neutral” and produces no net CO2.
800MW of power from burning wood etc (Ignore the waste heat stations) Here is a list.
Here is a sample:
Huge amounts of CO2 and particulate matter.
If BC shut those down, we could skip the carbon tax!
Canada is ramping up turning forests into wood pellets for Europe and Asia.
And generating a lot more CO2.
“Wood pellets are considered carbon neutral because as forests grow they can retrap carbon, but the designation has drawn criticism from environmentalist and academics who have questioned the equation.
John Sterman, a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, published a paper earlier this year that argued burning pellets would release more carbon dioxide than coal in the short term because it was a less efficient source of energy.
The lag for when the carbon would potentially be reabsorbed to eventually make it carbon neutral is too long when emissions reduction is needed now, said Sterman in an interview.
“The next few decades, the rest of this century, this is the critical period,” said Sterman. “Biofuels, and especially wood pellets, actually worsen climate change over this period.”
There are also significant concerns about the reliability of the forest retrapping the carbon, since climate change is expected to increase the risks of forest fires and insect infestations, said Sterman.
“The EU has made this error, and accounting error. It’s just a false statement to say that biofuels are carbon neutral. They’re not neutral in the short run, and whether they’re neutral in the long run depends on the fate of the land.” “
The EU will be razing whole forests and burning them to produce lots of CO2 … all in the name of saving the planet from global warming.
“Today’s European Parliament vote, like yesterday’s marine vote, delivers yet another dramatic death blow to our living planet. Razing whole forests to the ground to feed our energy use releases vastly increased carbon into our atmosphere; carbon which would otherwise be naturally stored in the forest. Converting land into biofuel plantations means wiping out nature and evicting local communities. This is a crime when well-located wind and solar power offer viable alternatives. Energy from biomass should be limited to waste and residues, not whole trees, forests and food. Such perverted outcomes do not help in the fight against climate change.”
I don’t believe the part about solar and wind offering viable alternatives.
And I don’t necessarily believe more CO2 is a bad thing.
But I do belive that burning whole forests is stupid and amazingly hypocitical when the AGW cult keeps telling us CO2 is bad and fossil fuels are evil.
Coal is cheap. Natural gas is cheap and cleaner than coal. And produces less CO2 than coal and forests.