Biomass CO2 Emissions More Than Burning Coal

Posted: August 28, 2014 by oldbrew in Energy, Politics

Bubble bursts for Britain’s biomass burning boom

Is there any good news? Yes – biomass subsidies are due to end in 2027.


By Paul Homewood


Back in May, I reported on a letter sent to Ed Davey by a group of American scientists, attacking UK subsidies for biomass plants. They pointed out that burning biomass could actually increase CO2 emissions, as well as causing other environmental problems.

DECC were so alarmed that they had to commission a report.

It seems that even the BBC, belatedly, have picked up on this problem. In July they reported:

Burning wood to fuel power stations can create as many harmful carbon emissions as burning coal, according to a government report.

UK taxpayers subsidise energy firms to burn wood to meet EU renewables targets.

But the report from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) shows sometimes much bigger carbon savings would be achieved by leaving the wood in the forests.

This suggests power firms may be winning subsidies for inadvertently making climate change even…

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  1. oldbrew says:

    ‘This suggests power firms may be winning subsidies for inadvertently making climate change even worse.’
    – BBC report

    ‘Even worse’ than what, BBC? Computer models that can’t replicate the present or the past probably.

  2. Andrew says:

    The UK is cutting down 4x the number of trees being planted. Also the trees planted are not softwood replacing softwood, but hardwood. So only a matter of time till nearly all biomass is imported. Not to mention construction grade timber.

  3. PeterMG says:

    Is there a single credible person on this planet that did not know that wood and other “biomass” would produce more CO2? That we have got this far beggars belief and confirms the contempt that most thinking people hold our political classes in is well founded.

  4. oldbrew says:

    ‘The wood products industry is concerned that if large-scale use of wood energy is instituted, the supply of raw materials for construction and manufacturing will be significantly curtailed.’

    Consider also the energy used in conversion to wood pellets prior to (sometimes) long distance transportation e.g. USA to England.

    From The Hockeyshtick:
    Half of Germany’s timber harvest is now burned for fuel, and 17 percent of its arable land is used to grow energy crops for biodiesel, ethanol, and biogas production, a proportion that may rise to one third by 2020. The rest of Europe is also turning to biomass heating and electricity generated in refitted coal plants as an easy way to meet renewable energy mandates, using millions of tons of domestic and imported wood. Energy derived from ethanol in the United States far outstrips the power generated by the wind and solar sectors.’

    Unless they find a way to make trees grow a lot faster there could be trouble ahead.

  5. Richard111 says:

    Once again I read this statement: “CO2 is a greenhouse gas; it causes a warming of about 1.1 degrees Celsius per doubling of its concentration.” This time from a German site:
    scroll down for English translation.

    Is there a tutorial anywhere on the web that explains the science of this effect?

    All my reading on the subject of blackbody radiation, the Stephan-Boltzmann equations and Wien’s Law, tells me that it is impossible for CO2 in the atmosphere, at any altitude, to absorb radiation from the hotter surface, BECAUSE those 3,800 IR bands centred on 15 microns, at which CO2 is very active, are already fully occupied in emitting radiation. I am fully aware of the fact that CO2 gas IS NOT A BLACKBODY though I sometimes wonder if the warmists are aware of this.
    Anyway, at night time, no sunshine, CO2 cannot absorb radiation from the surface in the 15 micron band unless CO2 has been excused from following the science of radiation as currently understood.

  6. oldbrew says:

    @ Richard111

    Off the top of my head I think the idea is that CO2 somehow causes more water vapour – the ‘climate sensitivity’ question i.e. how much more water vapour?

    But for this thread we don’t want to start another interminable ‘greenhouse gas theory’ debate 😉

  7. Richard111 says:

    Quite right oldbrew. You’d think by now there would be tutorials all over the web explaining these details instead of interminable discussions of bodged temperature readings that they try to match to the increasing level of CO2 in the atmosphere. This is a sad time for science.

  8. oldbrew says:

    Professor Judith Curry says:

    ‘The key challenge is this: convincing attribution of ‘more than half’ of the recent warming to humans requires understanding natural variability and rejecting natural variability as a predominant explanation for the overall century scale warming and also the warming in the latter half of the 20th century. Global climate models and tree ring based proxy reconstructions are not fit for this purpose.’ [bold added]

    Translation: ‘more than half’ is an assertion based on dodgy data.