Thursday, April 16, 2015

Saving the Environment by Burning Trees


I suppose this would fall under the law of unintended consequences. 

American Companies Are Shipping Millions Of Trees To Europe, And It’s A Renewable Energy Nightmare

 The expansive forests of the Carolinas, Georgia, and other nearby states have survived many human threats over the last few centuries, but the latest is one of the most unexpected. The rapid growth of Europe’s biomass industry, driven by the region’s renewable energy targets, is chipping away at southeastern forests.
Not only is there local and regional concern regarding the longevity of valuable forests, there is also evidence showing that woody biomass is actually an overall contributor to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, at least when viewed on a 20 or 30 year timescale. According to many scientists, that is all the time we have to start dramatically reducing emissions in order to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

For thousands of years man moved from low density power sources to high density power sources. It's why we abandoned wood for coal during the industrial revolution. But now with policies like Renewable Energy Standards policy makers suggest we go back to the middle ages and burn wood.

Here's my favorite part of the story:
 burning wood pellets releases as much or more carbon dioxide per unit of energy than coal. 
 If environmentalists really wanted to reduce carbon emissions they would stop advocating self-defeating polices like RES and let the market work which will result in the substitution of natural gas for coal. That more than anything else will lower carbon and particulate matter.


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