See the previous blog in this series here.
So, is biomass (or any bioenergy for that matter) carbon neutral?
No, of course not.
This article from The Guardian actually provides a good summary of some of the issues. Enagri has never claimed that bioenergy is ‘carbon neutral’, but, when managed properly, it does have a much lower GHG emission profile (both direct and indirect) than many other fossil fuels, such as many tpes of coal, oil from ‘unconventional’ sourcves and many others.
It follows on from a situation which has been bubbling in Europe for the last couple of months.
The Guardian piece highlights, not opnly the fact that European legislators are dragging their feet in this area, but just how complex the issues are:
Claude Turmes, the vice-chair of the Green Party in the European Parliament: “If you don’t take trees out of a forest at a certain moment, the carbon balance will stabilise and even become negative so removing some trees does not damage the overall capacity of the forest to capture CO2. Of course we are also promoting cascade-using, so we should use stems for furniture and paper and pulp and use the byproducts of tehse for production and energy.”
Bas Eickhout, Green MEP: “There are good scientific reasons to distinguish between infinite renewable sources – like wind and solar and hydro on the one hand – and biomass, which is like fossil fuels but on a shorter rotation time.”
Ariel Brunner, the head of EU policy for Birdlife: “If you’re moving carbon into the atmosphere faster than you take it out, you’re causing more climate change. Young forests capture carbon at a faster rate than older ones, but older forests have more carbon locked into them.”
A recent blog post by the Claverton Energy Research Group claims ‘Burning wood has worse carbon emissions than burning coal‘. However, as we previously reported, other studies such as this one by FutureMetrics, like many of these things it’s not simple, partly because it depends on both the type of biomass and the type of coal you are comparing.
The Enagri Knowledge Base contains hundreds of reports and resources to help you make up your own mind about the real comparitive emissions between biomass and fossil fuels.