Large-scale biomass burning is not carbon neutral and will worsen climate change

The Leeds City Region Green Economy Panel is promoting large-scale biomass electricity generation at the Drax power station near Leeds.

Like many members of the public, the Green Economy Panel members probably assume that burning wood and other biomass is carbon neutral. In other words – that burning wood and other biomass doesn’t add to carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, because new forest growth will absorb and store the carbon emissions released when the wood is burned. This isn’t the case – the European Environment Agency calls the assumption “ a serious accounting error”.
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EU Parliament reconsiders biomass as a renewable energy

Euractiv reports that on 29 March the European Parliament in Brussels was asked to reconsider whether biomass fuels should continue to be included in the European Union target for using at least 20% renewable energy by 2020. This is because, in the rush to meet the target, large amounts of forest are being cut down. It will take between 30-70 years for the trees to grow to maturity and absorb the carbon emissions from the burnt timber. So in the meantime, carbon emissions will increase by large amounts, and make climate change worse.
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