Some of the most distinguished scientists in the US have written to UK energy secretary Ed Davey, urging him to abandon the government's "misguided" subsidies for companies burning wood pellets to generate electricity.
One of the key ways of mitigating climate change is to keep carbon away from the atmosphere where it is found as carbon dioxide, a key greenhouse gas. Carbon that is stored in trees and other woody plants, in soils, and in the oceans is said to be sequestered.
Many people have adopted a philosophy of buying local food because they are concerned about the carbon footprint of transporting food long distances. People are rebelling against tomatoes from South America and garlic from China, because they can reduce greenhouse emissions by buying locally. Some people even start their own gardens for this reason.
In an attempt to wean the nation from coal—an unhealthy source of energy that drives global warming, several policy groups have suggested switching to wood. Existing coal-fired power plants could be converted to burn wood with relatively little cost and expense. And trees have the benefit of being a renewable resource.
In our quest for renewable energy, attention has shifted to our nation’s forests. Forest-based energy has the potential to be “carbon-neutral.” The carbon released into the atmosphere when trees are burned is taken back out of the atmosphere when new trees grow.