Burning forests for electricity

carbon emmissions by fuel typeIt’s crazy!  When the RET is supposed to be bringing emissions down, the Abbott government is prepared to increase them by burning the land’s greatest carbon stores – our forests – in electricity furnaces. This would have higher emissions than coal (per unit of energy produced – see illustration). It would take 200 years to recapture from the atmosphere the carbon released by burning. We don’t have that long. This is not ‘renewable’

Forests store millions of  tonnes of carbon. It’s insanity to burn them and worse still, actually pay  the logging industry to do this under the name of renewable energy and the financial incentives this offers.

It’s in the balance RIGHT NOW. The cross-benchers/independents could hold the key. They are being lobbied heavily by the industry.

YOU CAN HELP  ->  ->  ->  contact these senators (below) and politely ask they consider what the Abbott government really is advocating. There is no ‘waste’ from a forest until it is cut down.  RETs are meant to reduce pollution, not increase it. If the logging industry is looking for a new market it should move into the plantation sector and burn that waste – not the lungs of the planet.

Call (most effective) or email and politely point out these facts.

Zhenya Wang (02) 6277 3843,  senator.wang@nullaph.gov.au

Ricky Muir (03) 5144 3639    senator.muir@nullaph.gov.au

Glenn Lazarus (07) 3001 8940  senator.lazarus@nullaph.gov.au

Nick Xenophon 08 8232 1144  senator.xenophon@nullaph.gov.au

John Madigan   (03) 5331 2321  senator.madigan@nullaph.gov.au

Also – if you’re on a roll:

Mark Butler’s office  (02) 6277 4089 (Fed shadow env minister – ALP)

http://twitter.com/Mark_Butler_MP   http://www.aph.gov.au/Senators_and_Members/Contact_Senator_or_Member?MPID=HWK

and  Bill Shorten’s  – (02) 6277 4022   (03) 9326 1300  – Leader of opposition – ALP

http://twitter.com/billshortenmp   http://www.facebook.com/BillShorten

More info and media:

Biomass plants are dirty because they are markedly inefficient.  Per megawatt-hour, a biomass power plant employing “best available control technology” (BACT) emits more nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, particulate matter, and carbon monoxide than a modern coal plant of the same size.1  The American Lung Association has strongly opposed the use of wood ‘waste’ in the US renewable energy scheme. 2  The available data now established and documented regarding the hazards of using biomass power to nearby communities will leave the federal and state governments open to legal challenges by individuals affected by these toxins.

For every megawatt-hour of electricity produced, even the “cleanest” of the American biomass plants pump out nearly 50% more carbon dioxide than coal-burning plants, PFPI staff researcher Mary Booth, a former Environmental Working Group scientist, concluded after poring over data associated with 88 air emissions permits. The biomass plants also produce more than twice as much nitrogen oxide, soot, carbon monoxide, and volatile organic matter as coal plants…

“Why we are using taxpayer dollars to subsidize power plants that are more polluting than coal?”     http://grist.org/news/whats-worse-than-burning-coal-burning-wood/

The air permit for the 70 MW Burgess BioPower plant in Berlin, New Hampshire states it will burn close to a million tons of trees a year, consuming “whole logs” at a rate of 113 tons per hour, the equivalent of clear-cutting more than one acre of New Hampshire’s forests every hour.


1 http://www.pfpi.net/trees-trash-and-toxics-how-biomass-energy-has-become-the-new-coal

2 Charles D. Connor. President & CEO. American Lung Association. Letter to United States House of Representatives. June 24, 2009., Massachusetts Medical Society Adopts Policy Opposing Biomass Power Plants” December 9, 2009. http://www.massmed.org/AM/Template.cfm?


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