Does Burning Biomass Lead to Deforestation?

  • By: Jane
  • Date: November 14, 2022
  • Time to read: 6 min.

can biomass lead to deforestation

The burning of biomass for energy does not necessarily cause deforestation, although some scientists do worry about the consequences of deforestation. Mark Z. Jacobson from Stanford was an associate professor who conducted a study to examine the effects biomass burning has on the environment. His results showed that while emissions of particles and gases can have a cooling effect on the environment, these effects are brief-lived.

Carbon neutrality of woody biomass

Chatham House reports have recently brought back the debate about the carbon neutrality for woody biomass and deforestation. These reports highlight the dangers involved in expanding wood burning in Europe. They also point out the flaws to assuming that forest-bioenergy is carbon neutral. For example, removing older trees and replacing them in smaller ones will reduce the carbon uptake over many more years.

The idea that woody biomass can be carbon neutral has gained some credibility since the recent global heating talks have shifted attention to limiting global warm to 1.5 degrees Celsius. While burning trees for energy does remove carbon it also adds more carbon to the atmosphere. Moreover, the wood products produced by these methods are not carbon neutral in the long run.

Obama’s administration tried to promote carbon neutrality claims but the EPA rejected them. It later went on to become the anti-biomass Natural Resources Defense Council. Mongabay asked for comment but the EPA did not respond.

Currently, most studies on woody biomass focus on US woody biomass, which is mainly exported and used in modern technology. The EU is the biggest end-use sector of woody biomass, with more than 40% of the region’s total wood energy consumption. The EU has seen an explosion in the use woody biomass as heat and power. Moreover, imports from outside the EU have risen rapidly in recent years.

Woody biomass is not a carbon neutral fuel source, but it can be used to make electricity. It reduces EU coal demand. 19 of the 27 EU member countries are on track to phase off coal by 2030. The biomass industry in Europe touts the decline of coal as a climate win. Despite the carbon neutrality argument, wood-pellets still emit more carbon pollution that coal and are not as densely populated.

According to the biomass industry’s claims, sustainable logging practices do no harm to forests’ carbon capture capacity. It also claims that burning forest biomass is a renewable source of energy and that forest growth offsets emissions. This is not true. A recent study done by the European Academies’ Science Advisory Council demonstrates how wood pellets can be used to heat and generate electricity.

The impact of biomass energy industry on the environment

The controversial and unfriendly biomass energy industry is an environmentally-unfriendly technology. It is often associated with high greenhouse gas emissions and has been a subject of controversy for years. As a fossil fuel, biomass releases a lot of carbon dioxide when burned, making it particularly inefficient. In addition, the use of biomass for power plants may result in unemployment, pollution, and poverty.

Communities with low income people are particularly vulnerable to the effects of biomass energy plants. As a result, residents often turn to environmental justice organizations for help. These groups lack the resources to combat every polluting corporation. This is a particularly problematic situation in areas with low environmental justice.

Biomass groups and activists are supportive of regulations but are concerned about a recent proposal which would weaken the rules regarding biomass energy. Burning wood to generate electricity creates large amounts of pollution that is extremely harmful to the environment. While the proposed legislation would not remove woody biomass from the renewable power program, many environmental groups insist that lawmakers adopt it.

The biomass energy industry should also consider the impacts of pollution on health. Air pollution from biomass burning is linked to asthma and heart attacks, and the smoke produced from these facilities is harmful to human health. It can also cause birth defects or even death. Recent research has shown that using biomass to power plants can have major health effects.

The renewable energy industry must address the issue of environmental justice. Pollution is an injustice which disproportionately impacts people of color. The use of renewable energy sources can reduce pollution, and the risks associated with traditional energy sources. It also ensures cleaner air for people living in developing countries. Solar power can bring electricity to remote areas of the world and help to combat deforestation.

The biomass energy industry has an important role to play in addressing climate change. However, it is crucial to protect vulnerable communities in order for the planet to remain stable. We can ensure that the biomass energy industry is a sustainable source for energy and achieves its social justice goals by incorporating these ideas.

Recycling waste is another important aspect to environmental justice. Using a circular economy means reducing the amount of energy needed to create energy. There are many benefits to recycling. For example, solar panels can be recycled and repurposed. Solar panel recycling can have some disadvantages, including increased noise pollution, truck traffic, heavy metal exposure, and workers being exposed to high levels of radiation.

The ‘affirmative principle and the prohibitive principle’ are important in the context of energy justice. The prohibitive principal emphasizes the negative externalities that are associated with the energy industry, while the affirmative principles emphasizes individuals’ positive rights in accessing basic energy services. These concepts are linked to concepts of energy poverty and distributive conceptions of justice.

Subventions by the government for the bioenergy industry

It is dangerous to use wood to generate electricity for your home and other uses. Not only does it contribute to deforestation but it also poses a threat to the lives of wildlife. Recent investigations by environmental organizations have revealed widespread, unsustainable timber logging practices. Enviva is the largest producer worldwide of wood pellets. It gets its wood from clearcuts cut in hardwood forests in the southeast U.S. It also uses whole trees that would otherwise be considered waste products.

UK companies are not eligible to receive subsidies for biomass production unless they meet strict sustainability criteria. These criteria must ensure that biomass fuels don’t reduce carbon stock or harm forests. They also require the forest owners to comply with certain legal requirements in order to preserve the forest’s integrity.

The European countries with renewable energy mandates are seeing a boom in the biomass industry. Many biomass plants claim to provide zero-emission power. The Drax facility in England is an example. It used to burn coal before it was converted to wood pellets. This plant receives over $1 billion in government subsidies every year. These plants are rapidly gaining ground across Europe, but the United States still has not adopted a similar policy.

However, sustainability of biomass energy production is a concern. In addition to deforestation, burning wood for energy is worse than burning coal. Burning wood for energy is a destructive act on biodiversity and ecosystems. Although the European Commission did not respond to the draft document, it is expected that the revised biomass directive be published by the European Commission on the 14th of July.

Although biomass energy is a more sustainable option than fossil fuels, it still needs to be widely used as an alternative energy source. Biomass is more costly than fossil fuels than solar or wind energy. Biomass plants are expensive to integrate into the grid and will not be competitive over time.

Although the biomass industry is still in its infancy, it is rapidly growing. Drax, the UK’s largest biomass power plant, has been expanding its existing plants and building new plants in the Southeast. Enviva, another company has been expanding and creating new facilities. The company is responsible for four pellet plants in North Carolina.

Biomass-fuels are not only harmful to the environment, but they also have a negative impact on marginalized communities. The biomass industry is perpetuating decades-old environmental racism in Black communities. Gene Brown, a relative of mine, started growing loblolly trees in the 1960s. He has now learned that farming trees is difficult at 85.

Wood is not the most energy-dense fuel and is not as carbon-neutral as coal. Burning wood pellets does little to offset the carbon dioxide emissions that are generated during the process of harvesting and drying wood pellets. Burning wood for electricity is worse than coal and is not carbon neutral.

Previous Post

How Efficiently Can Biomass Energy Be Stored?

Next Post

Where Did Biomass Come From?