Climate Change Denier Scott Pruitt Endorses Burning Trees for Electricity
By Danna Smith
Over the last several years, study after study has documented why burning trees to produce electricity, known as "biomass," will accelerate climate change. More than 800 scientists from around the world recently signed a letter to the EU government warning that burning trees for electricity releases more carbon into the atmosphere than coal per unit of electricity generated, increasing the amount of carbon in the atmosphere at a critical time when we must be doing everything we can to reduce it.
As some of the world's top climate scientists, like Dr. Michael Mann and Dr. Bill Moomaw, wave a big warning flag, the biomass industry charges ahead, still insisting that burning trees for electricity is helping to solve the climate crisis. "Don't worry" they say. It's "carbon neutral" and "trees grow back."
If the mounting, independent scientific evidence hasn't been enough proof yet that burning trees to generate electricity is a climate disaster, the endorsement of biomass last month by Scott Pruitt, the notorious climate denying administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), should be.
Pruitt doesn't believe that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is causing climate change, even though 99 percent of scientists agree that it is. Upon assuming his position as EPA administrator he declared "The war on coal is over" and vowed to dismantle the Clean Power Plan put into place by President Obama to reduce carbon emissions from coal burning power plants. He recently asked whether global warming is such a bad thing even if the climate is changing.
So when Scott Pruitt, a man who doesn't even believe in climate change and is intent on rolling back environmental regulation at every level, publicly sides with the biomass industry in declaring that burning trees should be considered "carbon neutral" and seen as something that "benefits our forests," we should be extremely skeptical. Essentially, he is attempting to group dirty biomass energy with true renewables like wind and solar power.
For an industry that claims it is helping to solve the climate crisis, an endorsement by Scott Pruitt should be the final proof that underneath all the green smoke is an industry that cares more about corporate profits than the climate.
Danna Smith is the executive director of Dogwood Alliance.