Back Biomass letter in The Times23/11/2012
Far from being in “carbon debt”, properly managed forests are often healthier and more biodiverse
Sir, Fossil fuel combustion releases carbon removed from the atmosphere millions of years ago that would otherwise remain trapped; biomass releases carbon absorbed during its growth (Opinion, Nov 17, and letters, Nov 20, 21 and 22). Far from being in “carbon debt”, properly managed forests are often healthier and more biodiverse, quickly reaching “carbon credit” — absorbing carbon faster than it is released. Comparing lifecycle emissions of biomass (including harvesting, processing and transport) and those of fossil fuels, biomass can still produce significantly lower emissions. This has led the IEA, the IPCC and the UK Forestry Commission to agree that properly managed biomass resources are “low carbon”.
New government sustainability criteria require generators to demonstrate independently verified lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions savings of 60 per cent (minimum), and to protect ecologically important areas such as primary forests. The incoming criteria are already driving sustainable forestry practices around the world. In terms of carbon saving and energy security, a strong role for a flexible, controllable, affordable renewable technology such as biomass in our energy mix is a no-brainer.
Chief Executive Renewable Energy Association (On behalf of Back Biomass)