By: Rubina Obaid
The entire scenario of burning biomass is responsible for carbon emission that is thrown into the atmosphere but cannot be sequestered by the new trees for decades. This gives a clear picture of the apprehension which is caused when the forests are harvested and used for bioenergy.
Scientists have started raising concerns about the emission produced by burning biomass. Numerous environmental activists have exerted that declaring wood burning a carbon-neutral source will not help in achieving climate neutrality goals. Rather it will drag back the potential step for global climate change mitigation efforts. Even forest ecologists and climatologists have also declared that the industry is putting the planet’s temperature at risk. The environmental director of the Science Advisory Council of the European Academies said that “We have repeatedly pointed out that the large scale substitution of coal by forest biomass for the production of renewable electricity, is going to accelerate climate warming and will eventually aggravate the risk of overshooting climate neutrality targets.
The entire scenario of burning biomass is responsible for carbon emission that is thrown into the atmosphere but cannot be sequestered by the new trees for decades. This gives a clear picture of the apprehension which is caused when the forests are harvested and used for bioenergy. A plethora of power plants in the UK, obtain woods from the most ecologically sensitive forests in the Southeast U.S. Those forests are great contributors to maintain biodiversity and work as a powerful carbon capture system and support the unique wildlife which is found nowhere else in the world. However, they would no longer be able to serve the purpose of the trees are cut and turned into wood pellets, and they do not grow back for decades.
However, the decision of declaring biomass as green energy is still under consideration in the Netherlands. Thus, the wood pellet burning is still under consideration as a policy and official permission is not granted yet. On the contrary, the forest biomass industry is being evasive from all the claims and consistently growing by leaps and bounds. Largely because of the United Nations policies and the existing loopholes in carbon emission accounting that designates the burning of biomass for generating electricity as carbon neutral. Whereas, environmental experts claim that the biomass industry itself is mainly involved in this flawed system and classifies the forest biomass burning as a climate-friendly source. Despite the claim that has been raised by the forest and environmental experts, that it takes around fifty to a hundred years for the new trees to grow and be capable of absorbing carbon emission.
The accelerating climate crisis require greater strides to substantially mitigate catastrophic global warming impacts. While, due to the extensive support reflected by the UN towards woody biomass, countries continued their dependence on forest biomass without carefully accounting the actual carbon emission. The biomass industry argues that the critics have portrayed it all wrong and stressed that the biomass is a green climate-friendly alternative of coal. In the meantime when the conflict is aggravating, environmental advocates have gained some victories in the UK to limit subsidies and expansion of the Drax pellet-burning plant on hold. Ultimately, biomass critics acknowledge that real change depends on the EU revising its renewable energy directives and addressing carbon neutrality loopholes, which require the strong support of EU member states.