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Wood-based biomass used for heat is not ‘slowing down’ climate warning, researcher says

Using biomass to generate low-carbon  electricity is a flawed policy that is speeding up and not slowing down climate warming, according to a new study from Chatham House.

The report is entitled ‘Woody biomass for power and heat impacts on the global climate’.

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

Subsidies for biomass should be immediately reviewed, the author, Duncan Brack, stated.

Energy from trees has become a critical part of the renewable supply in many countries including the UK.

While much of the discussion has focussed on wind and solar power, across Europe the biggest source of green energy is biomass.

It supplies around 65% of renewable power - usually electricity generated from burning wood pellets.

EU Governments, under pressure to meet tough carbon cutting targets, have been encouraging electricity producers to use more of this form of energy by providing substantial subsidies for biomass burning.

However, this new assessment from Chatham House suggests that this policy is deeply flawed when it comes to cutting CO2.

According to the author, current regulations do not count the emissions from the burning of wood at all, assuming that they are balanced by the planting of new trees.