Does replacing coal with wood lower CO2 emissions? Nope.

Burning wood makes more CO2 than coal.

The conclusions high points:

  • biomass used to displace fossil fuels injects CO2 into the atmosphere at the point of combustion and during harvest, processing and transport.
  • the first impact of displacing coal with wood is an increase in atmospheric CO2relative to continued coal use
  •  before breakeven, atmospheric CO2 is higher than it would have been without the use of bioenergy, increasing radiative forcing and global average temperatures, worsening climate change, including potentially irreversible impacts that may arise before the long-run benefits are realized.
  • biofuels are only beneficial in the long run if the harvested land is allowed to regrow to its pre-harvest biomass and maintained there.
  • The carbon debt incurred when wood displaces coal may never be repaid if development, unplanned logging, erosion or increases in extreme temperatures, fire, and disease (all worsened by global warming) limit regrowth or accelerate the flux of carbon from soils to the atmosphere.
  • harvesting existing forests and replanting with fast-growing species in managed plantations can worsen the climate impact of wood biofuel.
  • growth in wood harvest for bioenergy causes a steady increase in atmospheric CO2 because the initial carbon debt incurred each year exceeds what is repaid.
  • using wood in electricity generation worsens climate change for decades or more even though many of our assumptions favor wood

Image result for wood pellets

 

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I’m Pretty Sure Wood Has Carbon In It

From a DRAX news release

The findings were revealed in analysis from Oxford Economics looking at the economic impact of Drax’s UK operations, which includes Selby-based Drax Power Station.

The power station, which employs around 900 people, has converted four of its six generating units to use compressed wood pellets and generated 15% of the country’s renewable electricity in 2017 – enough for four million households. Since transforming the power station to use biomass instead of coal it has become the largest decarbonisation project in Europe.

If you are burning wood instead of coal, you aren’t decarbonising.

UN forest accounting loophole allows CO2 underreporting

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.

https://news.mongabay.com/2018/05/un-forest-accounting-loophole-allows-co2-underreporting-by-eu-uk-us/

Where I live they are generating 800MW of power using biomass.

BC and Carbon Taxes and Wood Pellets And Green Ain’t Necessarily Renewable

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:

800MW!!!!

Huge amounts of CO2 and particulate matter.

If BC shut those down, we could skip the carbon tax!

 

Canadians Are Killing Forests – Biofuels, and especially wood pellets, actually worsen climate change

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.” “

We can’t burn our way out of the climate crisis

I don’t believe we are in a climate crisis. I think more CO2 is good for greening the planet.

I think 1C or 2C of warming over the next century would be great (even though I probably won’t be around to enjoy the warmth).

But I hate the hypocrisy of replacing coal with wood in power plants and then claiming it is renewable and green.

It ain’t green.

Burning wood produces more CO2 than coal and more particulate matter than coal.

Now … even Leonardo di Caprio (his foundation anyway) agrees with me (sort of).

“Burning trees in power plants is a vision from Mordor, not one of clean energy, but electricity generation from wood and other biomass is growing around the world, spurred on by billions in renewable energy subsidies.

Policymakers subsidize bioenergy based in part on the myth that biomass energy has low or zero carbon emissions – even though in reality, wood-burning power plants emit more CO2 than coal plants per unit energy. The treatment of bioenergy as “carbon neutral” extends to carbon trading schemes, providing an incentive for coal plants to convert to burning wood. “

“Bioenergy advocates often claim that CO2 pollution from wood-burning power plants doesn’t harm the climate, because biomass is sourced from “forestry residues” (tree tops and branches left over after the tree trunk is taken away for sawtimber or pulp). Since these residues would decompose and emit CO2 anyway, they argue, burning them for energy does not increase CO2 in the atmosphere.

There are two big problems with this argument. First, new wood-burning power plants being built in the EU, UK, and even Asia burn wood pellets that are largely made from whole trees, not residues. Tens of thousands of acres of forest in the U.S. and Canada, including bottomland hardwood forests that represent some of the most carbon-rich ecosystems in North America, are being cut for pellet manufacture, replacing the forest’s natural climate and carbon control infrastructure with mud flats.

Second, even when biomass is derived from forestry residues, it still has a carbon impact, because burning wood emits CO2 quickly, and letting it decompose emits CO2 slowly.  “

Read the rest.

 

DRAX – 729 million pound Subsidy to Burn Forests

Drax is a coal power plant in the UK that has converted 3 out its 6 boilers to burn wood pellets.

Why is DRAX switching to wood pellets?

The EU has declared wood pellets to be green despite the fact wood pellets produce more CO2 than coal.

This is a bigger scam than diesel.

 

 Drax received subsidies worth £729m last year, all to be paid for by electricity users.

https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2018/02/27/drax-biomass-subsidies-rise-to-729m-in-2017/#more-32520