Playing with Fire

Sandbag, the non-profit climate change think tank, has published a report looking at the impact of burning biomass instead of coal in power stations. Quoting EASAC (European Academies’ Science Advisory Council): “It is of considerable concern that scientific analyses indicate that, far from reducing GHG emissions, replacing coal with biomass for electricity generation is likely to initially increase emissions of CO2 per kWh.

[..] Research has shown that the time needed to reabsorb the extra carbon released can be very long, so that current policies risk achieving the reverse of that intended—initially exacerbating rather than mitigating climate change.”

The reports key findings include the estimate that 36 million tonnes of wood pellets would be needed for current coal-biomass EU projects resulting in 2,700km2 of forest to be cut down each year. This is equivalent to half of the Black Forest.

Their policy recommendations include proposing that Governments should focus policy on renewable energy sources such as wind and solar rather than biomass.

You can read the full report here.