Standing trees better than burning ones for carbon neutrality

The search for alternatives to fossil fuels has prompted growing interest in the use of wood, harvested directly from forests, as a carbon-neutral energy source.

But a new study by researchers at Duke and Oregon State universities finds that leaving forests intact so they can continue to store carbon dioxide and keep it from re-entering the atmosphere will do more to curb climate change over the next century than cutting and burning their wood as fuel.

“Substituting woody bioenergy for fossil fuels isn’t an effective method for climate change mitigation,” said Stephen R. Mitchell, a research scientist at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment. Wood stores only about half the amount of carbon-created energy as an equivalent amount of fossil fuels, he explained, so you have to burn more of it to produce as much energy.

“In most cases, it would take more than 100 years for the amount of energy substituted to equal the amount of carbon storage achieved if we just let the forests grow and not harvest them at all,” he said.

EurekAlert

About these ads

4 responses to “Standing trees better than burning ones for carbon neutrality

  1. Westchester Bill

    But our forests desperately need thinning. A raging forest fire store no CO2.

  2. …and if you leave them to live out their natural lives, they eventually die. When they decompose, methane and carcon dioxide is released. Either way, carbon out = carbon in.

  3. Methinks this study was funded by Tree Huggers R Us.

  4. I am also suspect. One must dig a little deeper into this to find the real agenda they are promoting.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s