In response to evidence that it may be worse for the climate than burning coal and gas, the EU is considering tightening rules governing the classification of wood and wood pellets as “renewable energy.”
About 20% of EU energy comes from renewable sources, and biomass, including wood pellets, accounts for nearly two-thirds of renewable energy generated in the EU under current rules.
Biomass has been considered climate neutral because trees will eventually grow back, but that accounting fails to address the complexity of the carbon cycle and reality of the timber industry. It’s a calculation Asbjørn Torvanger, a senior researcher at the Centre for International Climate Research in Oslo, Norway, described to Energy Monitor as “a simplification of greenhouse gas accounting, [based on] limited knowledge of the timing and permanency of carbon storage in forests and soil.”
Wood pellet manufacturing in the American South to satisfy UK and EU demand based on that carbon accounting loophole is primarily located in Black and poor communities. The highly-polluting industry, cultivating plantations (of trees), and harming Black bodies, primarily for European benefit, has drawn obvious parallels to the cotton trade and slavery.
Sources: Reuters, Energy Monitor, FT $
Originally published by Nexus Media (image added by editor).