As climate obsessives in the UK demand the cancellation of plans for a coal mine in Cumbria, the spotlight falls once more on the far more relevant issue of industrial-scale biomass burning, which produces more ’emissions’ of carbon dioxide than coal but rakes in fortunes in subsidies. The world must wait decades for new trees to grow enough to fully replace the ones burnt. The illogicality of it all won’t go away.
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A former vice chairman of the United Nations’ climate advisory body has called on the British government to review its policies surrounding the burning of wood for energy, reports Sky News.
Jean Pascal van Ypersele, Professor of Environmental Sciences at Université Catholique de Louvain in Belgium, has told Sky News he believes subsidies given to the industry by the UK government are “contradictory” to the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement – signed by countries in 2015 to try to limit global warming.
The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial strategy says subsidies are only given to biomass which complies with strict sustainability criteria and biomass is a “valuable” part of the National Grid.
Trees are a natural way to tackle climate change [Talkshop comment – or so the theory goes] and soak up carbon.
But Mr van Ypersele, who was vice chairman of the IPCC – the body which assesses science on climate change – says burning wood pellets creates a ‘carbon debt’ and accounting rules don’t properly take into consideration the time it takes for replacement trees to grow back.
He said: “We release the CO2 now hoping that future woods will absorb the CO2 in the future. But that’s a very strong assumption. Burning wood doesn’t make much sense if you want to reduce CO2 emissions.”
The UK is the world’s biggest importer of wood pellets. In the move away from coal over recent years there has been a switch towards burning biomass to generate power.
via Tallbloke’s Talkshop
March 13, 2021 at 07:57AM