Carbophobes discover biomass burning is far from ‘carbon neutral’. It’s taken some of them a long time to admit that it’s one of their clumsiest attempts to ‘tackle’ the phantom that is human-caused climate change.
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Europe’s academies of science have called on EU lawmakers to introduce a “radically new standard” in the blocs’ Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) to ensure net carbon emissions from biomass power stations are “properly accounted for and declared”, reports Euractiv.
The ETS is the EU’s flagship tool for cutting greenhouse gas emissions, and obliges power generators, industrial emitters as well as airlines to buy CO2 permits on the market to cover some of the pollution they emit.
But although the ETS currently assumes that all biomass is carbon neutral, Europe’s academies of science say this is mostly not the case.
“Much of the biomass employed in Europe is anything but carbon neutral,” writes professor Michael Norton, environment programme director at the European Academies’ Science Advisory Council (EASAC).
“Today’s carbon accounting rules under the ETS that allow biomass stack emissions to be ignored, give forest biomass a free ride – despite its massive climate effects,” he explains.
“From a scientific standpoint, not correcting this mistake is climate hypocrisy,” Norton said in a statement published on Wednesday (26 August).
EASAC represents the consensus among national science academies in the 28 EU member states, plus Norway and Switzerland, giving its opinions considerable authority among the scientific community.
The statement accompanies the scientists’ response to a public consultation by the European Commission on monitoring and reporting rules under the ETS, which are due to be updated before the next trading period starts in 2021.
Today, carbon emissions from biomass power plants are considered to be zero under the ETS, because it is assumed that emissions from burning biomass – if compliant with EU guidelines – are eventually compensated for by newly planted trees.
But EASAC believes that does not properly reflect the effect biomass plants have on climate change, saying this is true even when biomass replaces coal-fired power generation, the most polluting of all energy sources.
“EASAC’s and many other scientists’ work has shown that swapping coal with biomass in power stations often does not reduce, but increases net emissions to the atmosphere, when the whole life cycle is properly accounted for,” the group said in a statement.
“It should not be possible to just assume that millions of tons of carbon coming out of a power station stack are ‘zero’,” it adds.
Full report here.
via Tallbloke’s Talkshop
August 30, 2020 at 01:15PM