[NEWS] Is Burning Wood for Electricity a Good Idea?
– by Robert McClure, May 3, 2017, Undark
The idea that to generate electricity should be considered climate-friendly has been debated by scientists and politicians for years. Advocates, including many scientists, ask what could be more sustainable than burning trees? They drink in planet-warming gasses while growing, and give it back up when they are burned — a perfect closed loop with no net emissions. Critics, on the other hand — including other researchers — say the science is much more complicated than all that, and that when managed poorly, woody biomass power could be worse for the climate than coal.
Industry watchers are now wondering whether the election of President Donald J. Trump, who considers climate change to be unsettled science, will set the whole biomass debate aside, dooming the industry to irrelevance. There would be little reason to bother with wood, after all, if finding climate-friendly alternatives is no longer an imperative and coal and gas remain cheap and plentiful.