Regardless of whether biomass is actually “carbon neutral,” this controversy is ridiculous.
Burning wood from whole trees and residues to generate electricity in the southeastern United States may cut greenhouse gas emissions in the long run, but in the next 35 to 50 years, it will only hasten the consequences of climate change, environmental groups say.
The Southern Environmental Law Center, Forest Guild, National Wildlife Federation and Biomass Energy Resource Center released a study yesterday, composed of a literature review on the supply of biomass and an atmospheric study of greenhouse gas emissions from 22 biomass-burning facilities in seven Southeastern states — Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.
Burning biomass is not likely to be carbon-neutral before 2053, the study finds.
“The short-term implications for climate change are especially critical,” said Julie Sibbing, director of global warming, agriculture and wildlife for the National Wildlife Federation’s National Advocacy Center in Washington, D.C.
To lower the negative impacts of a booming biomass market, the study makes three recommendations for the Southeast: Favor the use of forestry and paper mill waste, increase the efficiency of biomass plants, and burn biomass for thermal power rather than electricity…