Japan’s thirst for biomass is having a harmful impact on Canada’s forests

By Annelise Giseburt
The Japan Times
January 14, 2024
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, International

When you walk through a fresh clearcut in British Columbia, you are surrounded by a “one-dimensional, dead landscape,” says Michelle Connolly of Conservation North. …Last month, Connolly visited Japan to share how such scenes are linked to the nation’s “green” energy: A portion of BC’s razed forests are being used to make wood pellets, a type of biofuel that Japan is importing and burning in increasing quantities as an alternative to fossil fuels. …The Japanese government plans to have biomass contribute 5% of Japan’s power needs by 2030, putting it on par with wind. …However, Connolly and other experts warn that BC’s overstretched and declining forestry sector may not be able to provide Japan with a steady supply of wood pellets for long — and, for the present, it is leaving a trail of environmental destruction in its wake. …“Burning wood is literally what Neanderthals did many hundred thousands of years ago,” Andrew Weaver says.

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