Finland: Less Coal , More Trees

Burning whole forests for energy is Europe’s future.

Finland faces having to import biomass because, despite being Europe’s most densely forested country, it will be unable to meet an expected 70% rise in demand for the fuel after it phases out coal.

Finland approved in February banning the use of coal in energy production by May 2029, which means utilities will have to find alternatives to keep Finns warm as coal currently accounts for around 20% of the energy used for household heating.

As there are limited plans to use more gas to produce heat in Finland, and other sources such as solar and geothermal energy are not yet commercially viable, using more biomass is seen as the most economical way of meeting the country’s future energy needs.

Biomass includes forest wood, timber logging residues, and industry by-products such as wood chips, black liquor, and other bio-waste.

Estimates shown to Reuters by Poyry consultancy – which advises the government on energy, industry and infrastructure needs – calculate that Finland will need 64 terawatt hours (TWh) worth of biomass in 2030 just for energy production, up from 38 TWh currently.

Domestic supply of biomass, on the other hand, is forecast to grow by only 8 TWh between now and 2030, according to Poyry.

As a result, Poyry says the country will have to import biomass as well as improve forest management and ensure greater utilization of harvest residues.

Finland’s largest energy lobby group Energia also projects large increases in the use of biomass in the coming years.

“It’s slightly awkward that Finland would run an energy policy that we will make us a net importer of biomass. We are a forest country,” said its head Jukka Leskela.

CHEAPER TO IMPORT

Forests cover three-quarters of Finland’s land, but the country’s limited tree harvest quota is mostly reserved for the pulp industry and the government would be unable to add much more supply for energy use.

“The pressure is to limit the use of (domestic) wood… Ιt is normally used in the regions where there is a lot of wood and fewer people but now we are talking about towns with very little forest and many people. It is evident that we need imports,” said Riku Huttunen, head of Finland’s energy department, which is part of the ministry of economic affairs and employment.

The logistics of moving biomass from northern Finland was also a limitation, he said, as shipping from neighboring countries was cheaper for utilities.

Such imports could come from other countries around the Baltic coast, including Russia, from where Finland is already sourcing some of its biomass, said Leskela of Energia.

That is despite pressure from the European Union on its member states to reduce their energy reliance on Russia.

Energia’s estimates show biomass will account for nearly 60 percent of the fuel mix in Finland’s combined heat and power (CHP) plants in 2030, up from less than 30 percent currently.

Bioenergy Climate Bomb

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.

Read the rest

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.

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.” “

Europeans Are Stupid

Europe’s energy policies are worse than stupid.

“At the end of last year, Sir John Beddington, a former chief scientific adviser to the British government, lifted the lid on the scandal at the heart of the EU’s renewable policies. According to Sir John, since the EU’s first renewables directive in 2008, the growth of bioenergy — much of it sourced from North American woods and forests — has provided around half the expansion of renewable energy. To supply even one third of the additional renewable energy needed to meet Europe’s new 2030 target will require an amount of wood roughly equivalent to the combined harvest in the U.S. and Canada. The fiction currently being peddled is that Europe is only burning wood residues — the bits of trees left over from other uses — but new EU rules agreed to last week by the European Parliament will expand the definition of bioenergy to include trees specifically harvested to be burnt in power stations.”

They love CO2 in Europe.

So Much For Tree Rings As A Temperature Proxy

So much for tree rings as a temperature proxy.

Huge Canadian Tree Growth Study.

Our analyses of a new methodologically standardized tree-ring dataset covering Canada’s boreal forest provide insights into the growth responses of this ecosystem to climate change. Although revealing no overarching “growth enhancement” or “growth decline” in recent years, results do point to significant regional- and species-related trends in growth. The observed link between climate variation and growth variability revealed unique evidence of an intensification of the impacts of hydroclimatic variability on growth late in the 20th century, in parallel with the rapid rise of summer temperature.

Such response can be attributed to annual growth variability in these forests being mainly driven by negative sensitivity to summer temperature (warmer summers leading to less growth) and positive sensitivity to summer soil moisture (more moisture leading to more growth)