NRDC has a new campaign called, Our Forests Aren't Fuel, which targets U.S. government policies that could unwisely incentivize diminishment of our nations forests for the sake of producing energy, instead of investing in truly renewable energy solutions. Here's some reason why from NRDC and a one minute video:
There are three main reasons we should be very concerned about how biomass for electricity is produced, and whether it comes from forests or other sources.
- Forest Destruction
You can plant new trees, but forests aren't 'renewable'. Natural forests, with their complex ecosystems, cannot be regrown like a crop of beans or lettuce. And tree plantations will never provide the clean water, storm buffers, wildlife habitat, and other ecosystem services that natural forests do.
- Climate Change
Tree loss is responsible for twenty percent of the carbon pollution produced globally. When biomass is harvested from forests, carbon stored in the soil is released into the atmosphere. This is in addition to the carbon that is emitted when the wood is burned for energy. And there's no guarantee the lost trees will ever be replaced. In the meantime, all that carbon pollution directly contributes to climate change. The entire lifecycle of biomass energy -- harvesting, transporting, processing, and regrowing -- factors into its total carbon emissions. Only biomass that is carefully chosen, grown responsibly, and efficiently converted into energy can reduce carbon and other emissions compared to fossil fuels.
- Air Pollution
Like burning coal or anything else, burning biomass produces harmful air pollution. Burning biomass produces sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, and a variety of toxic substances. These pollutants increase the incidence of asthma, heart disease, lung cancer and other respiratory ailments, and premature death. And whether they come from burning coal or burning forests, these substances pollute the air and harm people's health.
For more information and to take action visit: http://www.nrdc.org/energy/forestsnotfuel/