Study: Bioenergy (burning wood) is not clean energy

This study, “Not Carbon Neutral: Assessing the net emissions impact of residues burned for bioenergy,” by Mary S. Booth, Ph.D. proves that burning wood in power plants will significantly undermine efforts to reduce greenhouse emissions over the next 10 – 50 years even under industry best-case scenarios where only forestry wastes are burned as fuel, according to a study published in Environmental Research Letters.

The study assesses net CO2 emissions from burning tree tops and branches left over from forestry operations. Such materials are often considered to have zero net greenhouse gas emissions since they are assumed to emit CO2 from decomposition or incineration even if they are not burned for energy. The paper explodes this fallacy by demonstrating that even when power plants burn true wood residues and exclude whole trees specifically cut for fuel, net emissions are still significant.

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