REA slams Chatham House’s biomass climate change report

The Renewable Energy Association (REA), the UK’s largest trade association for renewable heat, power and transport, has slammed the Chatham House report on wood-based biomass and labelled it “misleading”.

Yesterday (23 February), a report published by Chatham House, a London-based policy institute,  stated that using wood pellets to generate low-carbon electricity is a flawed policy that is speeding up not slowing down climate warming.

The study maintains that wood is not carbon neutral and emissions from pellets are higher than coal.

Nina Skorupska, CEO of the Renewable Energy Association, said: “This report hangs on the fallacy that it takes decades for a forest to recapture carbon. That isn’t true. A well-managed forest is continually growing and it locks in carbon at an optimal rate.

“Imagine you have 100 trees, all growing 3% bigger per year. You could remove two trees for timber, with offcuts going to bioenergy, and the forest would still absorb 1% more carbon than the year before. There’s no delay involved. This is true whether it’s a hundred trees or a hundred million.

“Biomass delivers a massive cut in carbon emissions compared to fossil fuels. That principle is at the heart of the industry. The whole supply chain is monitored in detail to ensure we cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 60% compared to fossil fuels, although the reality is often closer to 80%.

“On top of that, there is a significant body of peer-reviewed academic studies, ensuring that this industry is doing what it says on the tin. And it is: biomass cuts carbon, supports forests and delivers reliable renewable energy at a lower cost.”

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