Quantcast

Fuelling a Biomess

Greenpeace

Greenpeace released a report that highlights the dangers of the large-scale use of wood and tree harvesting for heating, electricity generation or liquid biofuels. The report—Fuelling a Biomess—argues that burning woody biomass on an industrial scale could severely harm Canada’s public forests and further contribute to the global climate crisis.

“Forest bioenergy, as it is currently being developed in Canada, threatens the health of our forests and will harm the global climate for decades to come,” said Nicolas Mainville, Greenpeace Canada forest campaigner. “The amount of wood being burnt in power plants or turned into liquid fuels is growing exponentially without the public's knowledge and little government oversight or regulation.”

The report, based on recent peer-reviewed scientific literature, challenges the claims that simply burning forest biomass is green, clean and carbon-neutral—claims upon which the current bioenergy boom is based. The demand for biomass can no longer be met by traditional waste stream sources—the bark, sawdust and other residues from pulp and paper plants or sawmills.

In some jurisdictions, forest biomass increasingly consists of elements essential to functioning forest ecosystems, including standing trees, naturally disturbed forests and remains of traditional logging operations that were previously left in the forest. The amount of wood and other tree parts cut from Canadian public forests could more than double under new policies that support the expansion of forest bioenergy production.

Greenpeace is concerned that the growing demand for trees associated with the bioenergy boom will drastically increase pressure on forests and out-compete the traditional forest products sector, particularly with respect to available wood supply and the development of new products and jobs.

“Using woody biomass to produce energy should be restricted to local, small-scale uses of mill residues” said Mainville. “Before we continue to approve new projects, public hearings, a full accounting of the climate and biodiversity footprint and life-cycle analyses of those projects are needed. Otherwise, we risk plunging Canada’s forests and climate into an environmental biomess.”

In 2010, Canada exported 1.2 million tons of wood pellets to Europe, resulting in a 700 percent increase in less than eight years. Canada alone releases approximately 40 megatons of CO2 emissions annually from forest bioenergy production, an amount that exceeds the tailpipe emissions of all 2009 Canadian light-duty passenger vehicles. The CO2 emitted will harm the climate for decades before being captured by regrowing trees.

The release of the report was timed with the opening of the first European Biomass Exchange (APX-ENDEX) in Amsterdam.

Contact your provincial minister responsible for forestry and tell her/him to stop burning public forests for energy production until proper environmental standards are in place. Burning forest-based biomass on an industrial scale is bad for our forests, our health, the climate and job creation.

Download the report here.

Take action and email your minister now.

For more information, click here.

air

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Wesley Martinez Da Costa / EyeEm / Getty Images

By David R. Montgomery

Would it sound too good to be true if I was to say that there was a simple, profitable and underused agricultural method to help feed everybody, cool the planet, and revitalize rural America? I used to think so, until I started visiting farmers who are restoring fertility to their land, stashing a lot of carbon in their soil, and returning healthy profitability to family farms. Now I've come to see how restoring soil health would prove as good for farmers and rural economies as it would for the environment.

Read More Show Less
skaman306 / Moment / Getty Images

By Jillian Kubala, MS, RD

Radish (Raphanus sativus) is a cruciferous vegetable that originated in Asia and Europe (1Trusted Source).

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Tinnakorn Jorruang / iStock / Getty Images

By Dan Nosowitz

The budding research on cannabidiol, or CBD, attracts a great deal of interest in the agricultural field.

Read More Show Less
Oksana Khodakovskaia / iStock / Getty Images

By Jillian Kubala, MS, RD

The loquat (Eriobotrya japonica) is a tree native to China that's prized for its sweet, citrus-like fruit.

Read More Show Less

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released new numbers that show vaping-related lung illnesses are continuing to grow across the country, as the number of fatalities has climbed to 33 and hospitalizations have reached 1,479 cases, according to a CDC update.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
During the summer, the Arctic tundra is usually a thriving habitat for mammals such as the Arctic fox. Education Images / Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Reports of extreme snowfall in the Arctic might seem encouraging, given that the region is rapidly warming due to human-driven climate change. According to a new study, however, the snow could actually pose a major threat to the normal reproductive cycles of Arctic wildlife.

Read More Show Less
Vegan rice and garbanzo beans meals. Ella Olsson / Pexels

By Alina Petre, MS, RD (CA)

One common concern about vegan diets is whether they provide your body with all the vitamins and minerals it needs.

Many claim that a whole-food, plant-based diet easily meets all the daily nutrient requirements.

Read More Show Less
A fracking well looms over a residential area of Liberty, Colorado on Aug. 19. WildEarth Guardians / Flickr

A new multiyear study found that people living or working within 2,000 feet, or nearly half a mile, of a hydraulic fracturing (fracking) drill site may be at a heightened risk of exposure to benzene and other toxic chemicals, according to research released Thursday by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE)

Read More Show Less