New studies raise doubts about greenness of biomass

Another article finally addressing the criticism of biomass:

Kyung M. Song, “New studies raise doubts about greenness of biomass,” March 22, 2011, in the Seattle Times.

[Mark] Harmon [a climate researcher at OSU] said he believes biomass has the potential to worsen climate change for years before it helps. While some debris from logging is burned deliberately, much of it is left to decompose slowly.

“If your investment doesn’t pay off in your lifetime,” Harmon said, “that really isn’t helping very much. We need to solve this in the next 20 years. Fifty years will be too late.”

Wood-based bioenergy, aka biomass, is the leading force driving development of plantations of genetically engineered trees in the United States, and is becoming a threat in countries like Brazil and various countries in Europe.

As the article points out, this is merely one of many problems with wood-based electricity production.

here is no good, sustainable way to produce the amount of electricity consumed in the US.  The first step in our transition to a society that lives within the boundaries of the Earth’s life support systems is to dramatically reduce the amount of energy we collectively consume.  Once that is done we can look at truly sustainable ways to meet the remaining energy needs.  But turning our forests into bioenergy plantations to burn is in no way a sustainable solution.

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