Burning Trees for Energy Is Catastrophic for Biodiversity, Scientists Say

By Lloyd Alter
Tree Hugger
December 8, 2022
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada East

The UK imports over five million metric tons of wood pellets from the U.S., Canada, and Estonia only to burn them in the giant Drax power plant. It is considered carbon neutral because the trees soaked up carbon when they grew, and the trees that replace them will soak it all up again. This has always been controversial. Now, in the runup to the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP 15) in Montreal, over 650 scientists wrote an open letter urging the end to burning forest biomass for energy “for the sake of nature and biodiversity. …We have been arguing about whether burning wood is carbon neutral for years, but I have a simplistic view of the subject: A tree might have taken 40 years to store its carbon, but burning it in a power plant releases it all in a giant burp in seconds. …Planting a tree to suck it back up over the next 40 years won’t change that.

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