Burning trees for heating won’t help with climate change: UK think tank 

Posted: January 25, 2020 by oldbrew in climate, Critique, Energy, trees
Tags: ,

Most things the UK CCC suggests are likely to be a bad idea, but that’s another story. If this is all they can think of, they’re scraping the barrel. How long does the list of experts trashing tree burning policies have to get before the government takes any notice?

A suggestion by the UK Committee on Climate Change to burn more wood and plant replacement trees as a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels has drawn criticism from think tank Chatham House (reports OilPrice.com), which says this is hardly the best approach to reducing emissions.

“Expanding forest cover is undoubtedly a good thing, if you’re leaving them standing,” energy expert Duncan Brack told the Daily Telegraph.

However, Brack, who served as special adviser to the Department of Energy and Climate Change, suggested that burning wood for heating was not the most sustainable way forward.

Calling wood burning a carbon neutral process is “highly dubious,” Brack added.

These claims, according to the Telegraph’s environment editor, Emma Gatten, rest on the assumption that the carbon footprint of chopping down trees and burning them is offset by planting new trees to replace them.

This assumption excludes the fact that older trees absorb more carbon and that it takes time to replace a forest.

“You can leave trees standing and they will continue to absorb carbon for decades,” Brack says. “But the biomass industry implicitly assumes that forests at some point reach a saturation point for carbon intake and can be harvested and simply replaced.”

The benefit of planting trees to mitigate the effects of climate change has been put to the test on a wider scale as well.

A study released last year found that reforestation could work, but it had to be done at a massive scale.

Full report here.

  1. oldbrew says:

    Another green fiasco in the making…

    Low sulphur fuel found to have higher black carbon emissions than HSFO
    JANUARY 20TH, 2020

    Mandated into law for less than three weeks and very low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO), shipping’s new number one bunkering choice, is already facing calls to be banned, especially in Arctic waters.

    A submission made by Finland and Germany to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) suggests VLSFO has higher black carbon emissions than its forebear, high sulphur fuel oil (HSFO).

    – – –
    Cars in trouble with the ‘climate police’ too…

    JANUARY 23, 2020
    Fuel efficient tech may threaten climate, public health

    In a study published this month in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, a team of researchers at UGA predicts the increase in black carbon emissions from GDI-powered vehicles will fuel climate warming in urban areas of the U.S. that significantly exceeds the cooling associated with a reduction in CO2. In addition, they believe the shift will nearly double the premature mortality rate associated with vehicle emissions, from 855 deaths annually to 1,599. The researchers estimate the annual social cost of these premature deaths at $5.95 billion.

    – – –
    If the climate doesn’t get you, the traffic fumes probably will 🙄

  2. JB says:

    The pushme-pullme of engineering dilemmas: Reduce the CO2, reduce the forestation. Massive forestation? “Massive” CO2. So, what? Increase the atmospheric CO2 from 0.04% to 0.1%? Is that “massive” enough??

  3. Curious George says:

    Finally we have a sustainable, long term plan. Plant a billion trees to capture CO2. Then, burn them for clean energy. Repeat.

  4. tom0mason says:

    Burn the 5 to 7 tons of trees to get the same heat that 1 ton of good coal gives. Burn 5 to 7 times the trees for more pollution than 1 ton of coal. Rip out so much forest that helps moderate the weather instead of mining and burning coal that is ultimately beneficial to plant life. Rip out the trees that are the habitat of so much life.
    Do these idiots hate birds so much? Chop down vast acreages of bird friendly woods and forests, build vast acreages of bird hostile windfarms!
    Green thinking? As always it’s the inverse of sane and sensible.

  5. Dave Ward says:

    “Chop down vast acreages of bird friendly woods and forests, build vast acreages of bird hostile windfarms!”

    Yes – 17,283 acres (or 13.9 Million trees), in Scotland alone: