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

 

 

EU Will Be Razing Whole Forests to Save Them Or Something

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.

 

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.

Biofuels = Centuries Long Increase in CO2

This paper is a pdf.

Biofules, biomass , wood pellets et al are a disaster if you believe more CO2 will cause Global Warming.

Does replacing coal with wood lower CO2 emissions?
Dynamic lifecycle analysis of wood bioenergy
John D. Sterman1
Lori Siegel2
Juliette N. Rooney-Varga3

 

In sum, although bioenergy from wood can lower long-run CO2 concentrations compared to
fossil fuels, its first impact is an increase in CO2, worsening global warming over the critical
period through 2100 even if the wood offsets coal, the most carbon-intensive fossil fuel.
Declaring that biofuels are carbon neutral as the EU and others have done, erroneously
assumes forest regrowth quickly and fully offsets the emissions from biofuel production and
combustion. The neutrality assumption is not valid because it ignores the transient, but
decades to centuries long, increase in CO2 caused by biofuels.

Burning Forests (to save coal)

A broken analog clock is right twice a day. So I’m quoting from the Guardian again.

A few quotes:

“In the middle of the 19th century, wood burning rose to such levels that western Europe was almost completely deforested. Ironically, the rise of coal burning saved the situation”

” carbon emissions will rise by 6% or possibly more if wood is allowed to continue to provide more and more of Europe’s energy output”

“Europe has increased its use of renewable energy sources to provide it with power, and about half of that rise has come from burning biomass. Unfortunately, says Beddington, if that increase continues Europe will soon need to burn an amount of wood greater than its total harvest and would have to seek sources from other continents. Either land for farming would be turned to biomass growing or precious natural habitats will be exploited, most probably the latter”

“In generating exactly the same amount of electricity, wood will release four times as much carbon into the atmosphere as gas would do, and one and half times as much as coal. In addition, energy is used in harvesting and transport while vast stretches of land are needed to create the forests to supply generating stations with the wood they need.”