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Biomass is Not Carbon Neutral

BY HAROLD SAIVE / JUNE 5, 2019

Obama White House Opposed Legislation That Claims Biomass is Carbon Neutral

In 2015 the Obama administration disagreed that biomass generation was categorically carbon neutral, however the left-leaning Gainesville City Commission ignored the best scientific advice backed by their own political party leader.

“The Administration objects to the bill’s representation of forest biomass as categorically ‘carbon-neutral.’ This language conflicts with existing EPA policies on biogenic CO2 and interferes with the position of States that do not apply the same policies to forest biomass as other renewable fuels like solar or wind. This language stands in contradiction to a wide-ranging consensus on policies and best available science from EPA’s own independent Science Advisory Board, numerous technical studies, many States, and various other stakeholders.”

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In 2018 the EPA decided to ignore their own science to declare Biomass as carbon neutral.

As a conservative and climate denier, Scott Pruitt, then EPA head, became compromised due to scandal.  It could also be that Pruitt felt the issue of carbon neutrality was less important than the potential for job creation in the forest industry under the Trump mandate of MAGA.

The viewpoint from non-corrupted sources maintains that Biomass Power Generation Can No Longer Be Justified in the Face of Accelerating Global Deforestation

Between 1990 and 2016, the world lost 502,000 square miles of forest – an area larger than South Africa.

Wood is being harvested for biomass generation at a rate faster than replacement trees can grow

This means the biomass industry is contributing to global deforestation and climate chaos when the CO2 emissions of biomass generation exceed coal. Therefore, the promise of carbon neutrality in future decades cannot be achieved.

Deforestation and Its Extreme Effect on Global Warming

Deforestation from logging, agricultural production, and other economic activities adds more atmospheric CO2 than the sum total of cars and trucks on the world’s roads.

Deforestation is accelerating, despite mounting efforts to protect tropical forests. What are we doing wrong? 

Forests Are Collateral Damage in Major Economic and Political Events

Frances Seymour writes that forests are collateral damage in major economic and political events, and “vast areas continue to be cleared for soy, beef, palm oil and other commodities. In the cases of soy and palm oil, global demand is artificially inflated by policies that incentivize using food as a feedstock for biofuels.” Seymour argues that “No amount of international concern about tropical forests will make a difference unless it meaningfully connects to domestic constituencies in forested countries, and changes the incentives that drive deforestation.”

Biomass Subsidies Could Intensify Deforestation

The Epoch Times reports, “Every 1 percent increase in biomass electricity production requires an 18 percent increase in U.S. forest harvest, according to the U.S. Energy Information Agency” and  “Emissions from a biomass plant exceed those from a natural gas plant by more than 800 percent for every major pollutant.” The article warns that changing the status of biomass to “carbon neutral” could introduce subsidies that increase its use to a scale that damages the environment. 

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