Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Hugging a Burning Tree

An article by  by Bjørn Lomborg on the Project Syndicate site
I've noted on my original content site that biomass is the 'renewable' that gets included when bragging about the share of total energy produced from renewables, but is excluded when listing renewable technologies.

Hugging a Burning Tree by Bjørn Lomborg - Project Syndicate:
...burning the willow releases 22 tons of CO2. Of course, all of that CO2 was soaked up from the atmosphere the year before; but, had we just left the barley where it was, it, too, would have soaked up quite a bit, lowering the reduction relative to coal to 20 tons. And, in a market system, almost all of the barley production simply moves to a previously unfarmed area. Clearing the existing biomass there emits an extra 16 tons of CO2 per year on average (and this is likely an underestimate).
So, instead of saving 30 tons, we save four tons at most. And this is the best-case scenario. Of the 12 production modes analyzed, two would reduce annual CO2 emissions by only two tons, while the other ten actually increase total emissions – up to 14 tons per year.
At the same time, we are paying a king’s ransom for biomass. Germany alone spends more than $3 billion annually, or $167 per ton of avoided CO2 emissions, which is more than 37 times the cost of carbon reductions in the European Union Emissions Trading System. And the estimate of avoided emissions ignores indirect land-use changes, making the likely real cost at least eight times higher.
Read Bjørn Lomborg's entire article at Project Syndicate:

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