Campaign News


Biomass deemed ‘carbon neutral’ in US spending bill - 8 May 2017

The US government has deemed the burning of wood pellets ‘carbon neutral’ in its latest spending bill in a move heavily criticised by environmental groups and us here at Use Wood Wisely.

The bill passed by lawmakers at the House of Representatives directs the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy and the Department of Agriculture to “establish clear policies that reflect the carbon neutrality of biomass”, Reuters reported.

If approved, it means these government agencies could promote the burning of wood pellets to fuel power plants.

Biomass, we and many other groups believe, is wrongly classified as a renewable energy source because it actually produces more harmful emissions than the burning of coal or gas does.

This is a view shared by many in the US. Reuters reported a group of 60 American scientists telling the UK's secretary of state for energy and climate change in 2014: "Recent advances in science and accounting for pollution from different types of woody biomass have clarified that burning trees to produce electricity actually increases carbon emissions compared with fossil fuels for many decades and contributes to other air pollution problems.”

Environmental groups criticised the House of Representatives’ decision. Danna Smith, executive director of the Dogwood Alliance, an environmental group focused on forests and logging in the southern United States, said the provision "will add to a significant climate problem we already have in the US”.

The bill is expected to be passed by the Senate later this week.



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