Burning Trees for Clean Energy

Welcome back to my blog!

It’s pretty ridiculous when you think about it; chopping down forests and burning them to make clean energy. I remember the first time I read this article, it was all about how America was chopping down its trees to send to the UK as “renewable energy.” I couldn’t believe it; the more I read, the more I was furious. What’s worse, is our governments we’re all in on it; one big happy “carbon neutral” family. I realized I was witnessing biomass energy turn into the un-scientific “poster child” of Obama’s All-of-the-Above Energy policy, which was focused on “developing every source of American-made energy.”

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Picture from original article. Photo: DailyMail.com

America was chopping down its trees to send to the UK as “renewable energy.” I couldn’t believe it; the more I read, the more I was furious. What’s worse, is our governments we’re all in on it; one big happy “carbon neutral” family.

I don’t know how they did it, but the UK Government and Drax Biomass got a sweet deal on this green scam. Drax takes money (green subsidies) from the UK Government to burn wood pellets felled from American forests, as clean renewable energy; all at the expense of hard-working UK taxpayers. The UK Government (Dept. of Energy & Climate Change), Drax Biomass and the EU Energy Commission, all do their part to spin the truth about deforestation and CO2 emissions.

The frenzied demand for wood pellets to replace coal was fueling a biomass bonanza that would take a toll on North American forests, especially from Southeastern U.S. To meet this demand, in 2014, the U.S. became the largest wood pellet exporter in the world. In the same year, America exclusively exported 3.6 million metric tons of wood pellets to the UK. Just to give you an idea of how fast the American wood pellet industry grew; they doubled their exports from 2012 to 2014.


Our Forests Aren’t Fuel Campaign. Video by: Dogwood Alliance


Trading Coal for Wood Pellets

Let’s talk about the “wood pellet” industry. Enviva, based in Chesapeake Virginia, is now the largest producer of wood pellets in the world. Enviva is one the largest suppliers of wood pellets to Drax Biomass in the UK. Enviva also sells more than 420,000 metric tons per year of wood pellets to Dong Energy. Enviva has a track record of using whole trees, while it claims to use only low-value tree trimmings. We know this is not true because the video by Dogwood Alliance shows whole trees being processed by Enviva. Partnership for Policy Integrity (PFPI) made a report that led to an SEC investigation where Enviva was caught lying about its carbon emissions and illegal wood harvesting practices. To further support the evidence of Enviva’s destruction of native Southern forests, the Southern Environmental Law Center published this scathing report.


Video of Enviva Wood Pellets Controversy. Video by: CCTV


If you look at this CCTV video, there are two blatantly false claims made by Seth Ginther, the executive director of the U.S. Industrial Wood Pellet Association, of which, Enviva is a founding member. First, the UK Dept. of Environment’s quote Ginther asserted, “Using wood pellets actually decreases greenhouse gases footprint of energy between 74% to 90%, as opposed to the use of coal.” This claim is completely untrue, in fact, wood pellets emit more CO2 than coal. The 74% to 90% reduction of GHG claim is scientifically false because the burn rate is exponentially faster than the growth rate, which leads to decades of ongoing carbon debt.

Essentially, they’re using flawed carbon accounting and taking up-front credit for emissions that have barely begun to sequester.

Essentially, they’re using flawed carbon accounting and taking up-front credit for emissions that have barely begun to sequester. Secondly, “biogenic carbon” is not magically carbon neutral because it’s part of the “natural life cycle.” Carbon is carbon, and CO2 is CO2; our atmosphere makes no distinction between the harmful greenhouse gas affects from woody biomass or fossil fuels. This video is another example of an industry-wide campaign to distort the scientific truth about biomass energy.

Ok, I got a little bit off of my subject this week. Next week I’ll write more about forests and how they’re affected by the timber and biomass industries.

Thanks for reading. Cheers.

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