Burning forests to make energy: EU and world wrestle with biomass science

Thousands of whole trees form a ring at Enviva’s Sampson county, North Carolina, forest biomass facility. Most U.S.-made wood pellets are shipped to Europe where they’re burned to make energy. Image courtesy of the Dogwood Alliance.

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A major political and environmental dispute is coming to a boil in the run-up to COP26 in Scotland this November, as the EU and the forestry industry push forest biomass (turning trees into wood pellets and burning them to make electricity), claiming the science shows biomass is sustainable and produces zero emissions.

Forest advocates and many scientists sit squarely on the other side of the argument, providing evidence that biomass burning is destructive to forests and biodiversity, is dirtier than coal, and destabilizing for the climate. Moreover, they say, the carbon neutrality claim is an accounting error that will greatly increase carbon emissions.

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Source: Mongabay

 

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