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Carbon Loophole: Why Is Wood Burning Counted as Green Energy?

December 20, 2017

By Paul Homewood


h/t oldbrew


Fred Pearce has now also picked up on the biomass scam.



From Yale 360:


It was once one of Europe’s largest coal-burning power stations. Now, after replacing coal in its boilers with wood pellets shipped from the U.S. South, the Drax Power Station in Britain claims to be the largest carbon-saving project in Europe. About 23 million tons of carbon dioxide goes up its stacks each year. But because new trees will be planted in the cut forests, the company says the Drax plant is carbon-neutral.

There is one problem. Ecologists say that the claims of carbon neutrality, which are accepted by the European Union and the British government, do not stand up to scrutiny. The forests of North Carolina, Louisiana, and Mississippi — as well as those in Europe — are being destroyed to sustain a European fantasy about renewable energy. And with many power plants in Europe and elsewhere starting to replace coal with wood, the question of who is right is becoming ever more important.


Since 2009, the 28 nations of the European Union have embarked on a dramatic switch to generating power from renewable energy. While most of the good-news headlines have been about the rise of wind and solar, most of the new “green” power has actually come from burning wood in converted coal power stations.

Wood burning is booming from Britain to Romania. Much of the timber is sourced locally, which is raising serious concerns among European environmentalists about whether every tree cut down for burning is truly replaced by a new one. But Drax’s giant wood-burning boilers are fueled almost entirely by 6.5 million tons of wood pellets shipped annually across the Atlantic.  


Some 200 scientists wrote to the EU insisting that “bioenergy is not carbon-neutral” and calling for tighter rules to protect forests and their carbon.


In September, some 200 scientists wrote to the EU insisting that “bioenergy [from forest biomass] is not carbon-neutral” and calling for tighter rules to protect forests and their carbon. Yet just a month later, EU ministers rubber-stamped the existing carbon accounting rules, reaffirming that the burning of wood pellets is renewable energy.

Under the terms of both the UN Paris climate agreement and Europe’s internal rules, carbon losses from forests supplying power stations should be declared as changes to the carbon storage capacity of forest landscapes. But such changes are seldom reported in national inventories. And there is no system either within the EU or at the UN for reporting actual changes in carbon stocks on land, so the carbon is not accounted for at either end — when trees are cut, or when the wood is burned.

Wood burning is turning into a major loophole in controlling carbon emissions. The U.S. could be the next country to take advantage. A federal spending bill that passed the House of Representatives earlier this year directed the Environmental Protection Agency to establish policies “that reflect the carbon neutrality of biomass” and to “encourage private investment throughout the forest biomass supply chain,” paving the way for a boom in American pellet burning. 


Logs await processing at a wood pellet plant in Bardejov, Slovakia. An estimated 10 million cubic meters of wood is logged each year from the country's forests.

Logs await processing at a wood pellet plant in Bardejov, Slovakia. An estimated 10 million cubic meters of wood is logged each year from the country’s forests. Fred Pearce/Yale e360


I have tracked these developments for the past two years; first traveling with Drax to see its U.S. pellet operation, and then investigating the criticisms leveled by European and U.S. forest campaigners. The debate is not clear-cut. Burning wood may be close to carbon neutral in some situations, such as where it is clear that cut trees are replaced with the same trees, one for one; but in others it can emit even more carbon than coal. The trouble is that regulators are ill-placed to tell the difference, which will only be clear decades after the presumed emissions have been tallied — or not — in national carbon inventories.

The one certainty is that if things do not go according to plan, Europe’s promises for meeting its Paris climate commitments will go up in smoke. And the U.S.’s own CO2 emissions could resume their upward path even quicker than President Donald Trump intends.

Europe’s forests have for centuries been cut for household fuel and, in the past century, for local heating plants. But what is happening now is on a very different scale. The change has been fueled by new technology that converts timber into wood pellets that have been heated to remove moisture and compressed, which makes long-distance transportation practical and economic.

Roughly half the cut wood in the EU is now being burned to generate electricity or for heating. And there is growing evidence that the logging is damaging forests and reducing their ability to store carbon.

One region at risk is the Carpathian Mountains, stretching from Austria to Romania. It contains the continent’s largest surviving old-growth forests outside Russia, which are home to up to half the continent’s brown bears, wolves, and lynx.


Widespread illegal logging has been reported in Romania, with the timber exported for burning in power stations in Austria and Germany.


In Romania, Greenpeace and the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) have reported widespread illegal logging, with much of the timber exported for burning in power stations in Austria and Germany. The EIA has accused Schweighofer, a company owned by one of Austria’s richest families, of processing illegally-harvested wood from Romania. Its investigator Susanne Breitkopf told me there is “a clear link between illegal logging in Romania and the EU wood pellet market.” The company says it “makes all possible efforts” to keep illegal timber out of its supply chain.

On a visit to the region, I saw strong evidence of a threat to forests in eastern Slovakia, where there was widespread felling of beech forests inside the Poloniny National Park. The roads to the park were all being widened, using EU infrastructure funds, to improve access for heavy vehicles that bring out the timber.

My guide was Peter Sabo of Wolf, an NGO campaigning to protect the country’s forests. He estimates from Slovakian government data that 10 million cubic meters of wood is logged in the country each year, against a sustainable yield of 6 million cubic meters. The difference is almost entirely accounted for by the 3.5 million cubic metres burned for Slovakia’s energy and heating. Yet nowhere do the carbon emissions from this burning turn up in the carbon accounts of Slovakia or the EU. 


A Slovakian conservationist examines felled beech trees in Poloniny National Park.

A Slovakian conservationist examines felled beech trees in Poloniny National Park. Fred Pearce/Yale e360


Sabo and I tracked logs from Poloniny to a power station in the medieval town of Bardejov. The station’s owners insist that, like Drax, the plant only burns low-grade timber that would otherwise go to waste. But on the day I visited, the yard adjacent to the power plant was full of logs a meter or more in diameter being chipped and placed on a large pile within meters of the station’s boilers. Later, in an email, the company’s manager, Stanislav Legat, insisted that “we only use chips. Logs whom you see on the courtyard is not ours [sic].”

Forest cover in Europe is increasing, and the forests are acting as a growing carbon “sink.” But an EU report last year forecast that the growth of Europe’s forest sink will be reduced by more than 30 percent between 2005 and 2030 because of cutting for pellet burning and other changes in land use. It said that “biomass and land use change can be identified as key drivers” in the predicted decline, with pellet-burning plants clearly playing a large part. Yet so far, the resulting releases of carbon to the atmosphere are not included in EU carbon accounting.

Foreign forests have also been targeted to fuel European power stations. For several years, the Swedish state power company Vattenfall imported wood chips from old rubber trees on the giant Firestone rubber plantation in Liberia. The project, part-funded by the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, a U.S. federal agency, had originally promised to light homes in the West African nation. But that never happened, and after the project collapsed in 2012, the wood chips began being shipped to Sweden.

Drax buys on a small scale from Canada and has plans to buy Brazilian wood. But the U.S. has become Europe’s biggest foreign supplier, and Drax has become the test case for whether wood pellets can be a genuine low-carbon energy source. So how does the case stack up?

The Drax power station, which converted from coal to wood fuel, has become a test case for whether pellets can be a low-carbon energy source.


Following conversion of its boilers, two-thirds of the power from the 4,000-megawatt power giant on the east coast of England now comes from burning pellets. The pellets mostly come from three American mills run by the Drax Group — at Amite in Mississippi, and Morehouse and LaSalle in Louisiana — and purchases from other U.S. suppliers, notably Enviva, which has in the process become the world’s largest producer of wood pellets.

Drax says the only carbon footprint from burning those pellets is from the harvesting, processing, and transporting of the wood. It reckons that, overall, converting its power plant from coal to wood saves 12 million tons of CO2 emissions a year, making Drax “the largest carbon-saving project in Europe,” according to its CEO Andy Koss. 

The EU and the U.K. both accept that analysis. The British government last year gave the company the equivalent of about $720 million in subsidies to make further conversions to burning wood so as to reduce the country’s carbon emissions in line with the 2015 Paris climate agreement.


A U.S. timber processing plant that ships wood pellets to the Drax power station in Britain.

A U.S. timber processing plant that ships wood pellets to the Drax power station in Britain. Fred Pearce/Yale e360


But critics say there are a series of problems with the claim. The first is that nobody can be certain the new trees necessary to absorb power-station emissions will ever be planted, especially since Drax does not own the forests harvested for its timber. A British government study in 2014 concluded that a worst-case scenario, in which the logged forest land is turned over to agriculture, could result in total CO2 emissions twice as great as from burning coal.

Drax and its allies say this is most unlikely. Dale Greene, dean of forestry at the University of Georgia, contends that far from reducing forests, pellet purchases in the American South are encouraging landowners to maintain forests and plant more trees. “The effect of Drax’s arrival has been to help keep the South forested,” he told me during my visit in 2015.

A second concern is the time lag. Even if new trees are planted promptly to replace old ones, they will take between 20 and 100 years to grow sufficiently to take up all the CO2 emitted by burning the old trees. Throughout that time, there will be more CO2 in the air. This is a clear threat to the world keeping warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius in the next few decades, argued Duncan Brack, of the London-based think tank Chatham House, in a report earlier this year.

Again, Drax contests this. It maintains that in the real “working” forests where it gets its timber, there is a constant cycle of cutting and planting trees. So, the company says, the forests contain a stable amount of carbon at all times.

The argument is hard to resolve. But Brack insists that, even accepting Drax’s premise, wood cut for construction or making furniture will keep its carbon out of the atmosphere for much longer than wood cut to burn in a power station. 


A 2015 analysis by an industry group found that most wood pellets produced in the U.S. were prepared from whole trees, not wood waste.


A third concern is exactly which bits of the trees are burned at the power station. Do their boilers run on specially cut timber or waste wood? Most operators of wood-burning power plants publicly insist that their main fuel is forest “thinnings,” such as twigs and branches. But in practice, the definition of “thinnings” often includes whole trees. In fact, it is often mostly whole trees.

Drax, for instance, describes its fuel as “low-grade wood such as forest thinnings, tree tops and branches.” But when the company took me around its U.S. mills, the wood I saw piled in timber yards ready for turning into pellets was mostly tree trunks six meters or more long.

Drax is not unusual. A 2015 analysis prepared for the American Forest and Paper Association, a trade association, concluded that most wood pellets produced in the U.S., both for domestic burning and for export to the U.K., were prepared from whole trees.

The issue is critical because leftovers from harvested trees, such as twigs and branches, would typically be burned in wood mills as waste, or left to rot on the forest floor. They would quickly release their carbon. All agree that burning them for electricity generation would not add to atmospheric CO2, whereas whole trees left standing would continue to grow and absorb CO2 from the air.

Forests are not just carbon stores, of course. They are also functioning ecosystems that could be wrecked by logging to supply pellets. Here concern has centred less on the yellow pine forests that supply Drax’s own pellet mill, and more on the forests of North Carolina and Virginia that supply its biggest outside supplier, Enviva. These often contain hardwoods such as oak and sweetgum. 


Most of the wood pellets used by the Drax Power Station come from trees in U.S. forests, such as this one in Sampson County, North Carolina, which was logged in 2015. 

Most of the wood pellets used by the Drax Power Station come from trees in U.S. forests, such as this one in Sampson County, North Carolina, which was logged in 2015. Dogwood Alliance


The Dogwood Alliance, a North Carolina-based conservation group, has tracked Enviva trucks to logging operations clear-felling swamplands across the state. In November, as the U.S. government geared up to expand wood pellet burning, two ecologists from Duke University, Norman Christensen and William Schlesinger, wrote a letter, also signed by 100 other scientists, urging North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper to address the threats posed to the state’s trees by the growing pellet industry.

Enviva’s operation in the state, which also supplies plants in the Netherlands and Denmark, already “requires logging, conservatively, nearly 50,000 acres of forest per year — often in ecologically important, native hardwood forest,” the two ecologists wrote in an accompanying op-ed for The Charlotte Observer. Enviva responds that its operations are in reality protecting swamp forests, because if they weren’t harvested, the land would be cleared and drained for agriculture. 

Worldwide, pellet burning has risen strongly. According to UN data, pellet production reached 28 million tons in 2015, a rise of more than 40 percent in three years, with the U.S. the biggest source. Markets for pellets outside Europe and North America for the moment remain small. But industry analysts predict growth in Japan and South Korea, as those nations try to manage lower carbon emissions with reduced dependence on nuclear power, and in China. Each is likely to depend on imports,” says William Strauss of independent analysts FutureMetrics.

With wood pellets, we may be seeing the birth of a new global business exploiting loopholes in current climate rules that could cause an unseen surge in carbon emissions and fatally undermine the Paris Climate Agreement.


Fred Pearce

Fred Pearce is a freelance author and journalist based in the U.K. He is a contributing writer for Yale Environment 360 and is the author of numerous books, including "The Land Grabbers, Earth Then and Now: Potent Visual Evidence of Our Changing World," and "The Climate Files: The Battle for the Truth About Global Warming.



According to BP, biomass accounted for nearly a third of the EU’s renewable electricity (excl hydro) last year, about 6% of total electricity generation.




Biomass generation has tripled in the last ten years:



  1. December 20, 2017 3:06 pm

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

  2. quaesoveritas permalink
    December 20, 2017 3:11 pm

    Wood burning should only be considered sustainable , if the trees burned are grown specifically for burning, and every one burned is replaced by a new tree immediately.
    Even then, I am not sure if it is “green” or not.
    Possibly some other plant, with a faster growth rate, would be more sustainable/green.

    • December 20, 2017 3:20 pm

      Well, coal was once “trees.” Actually not really trees as they had no secondary i.e. wood growth. However, the ancient relatives of ground pine and horsetails/scouring rush, were the size of trees.

  3. December 20, 2017 3:18 pm

    “Why Is Wood Burning Counted as Green Energy?” Because trees have green leaves? Makes as much sense as anything else they propose.

  4. December 20, 2017 3:23 pm

    • JerryC permalink
      December 20, 2017 3:44 pm

      Even accepting this rather dubious assertion at face value, and discounting the environmental damage of clear cutting forests because saving the planet from CO2 is that important, power plants burning wood pellets is simply not scalable in any meaningful way. It’s nothing more that green window-dressing.

  5. Tom O permalink
    December 20, 2017 3:35 pm

    Interestingly, the paper industry was much the same in many places. I lived in Maine and the paper industries logged wood by the ton. Hardwood, which is what is being used for pellets, I would guess, were slashed and left to rot. Softwood trees took over the forests since they grow far faster. Same thing will happen where hardwood is harvested for pellets. The softwood trees will take over the forests since they grow faster, but are far less dense, thus not as good for burning. If you are “clear cutting” 50,000 acres a year of hardwood, you won’t get nearly the wood content in 20 years, assuming that you have a million acres of land to rotate through, when you come back. There is no way burning wood is “carbon neutral,” and that burning wood pellets is any more of a renewable source than is burning coal. After all, coal is “renewable” to, it just takes a little longer.

    • quaesoveritas permalink
      December 20, 2017 3:53 pm

      Millions of times longer!

      • Sheri permalink
        December 20, 2017 5:32 pm

        For all anyone knows, the process that produced coal is going and producing coal on a regular timescale. Is there evidence that all coal creation stopped at some point and if so, why?

      • John F. Hultquist permalink
        December 21, 2017 4:22 am

        You will find the following in the link below. This will answer your question.

        But when those trees died, the bacteria, fungi, and other microbes that today would have chewed the dead wood into smaller and smaller bits were missing, or as Ward and Kirschvink put it, they “were not yet present.”
        Where Are They?
        Bacteria existed, of course, but microbes that could ingest lignin and cellulose—the key wood-eaters—had yet to evolve.

        Strange origin – NatGeo

      • December 21, 2017 5:54 am

        More likely catastrophic events precluded normal microbial degradation. The hypothesis that coal seams form slowly is unproven and certainly more of an assumption than a proven fact.

        Ancient Microbial evolution is a field of speculation not a field of science

      • John F. Hultquist permalink
        December 21, 2017 4:43 am

        Oh dear. Read the next article at the bottom-left: Getting to the Root …

      • Tom O permalink
        December 21, 2017 1:52 pm

        Agreed, and known when I made the statement. It was an attempt at the ridiculous as is calling burning wood carbon free and renewable.

        The true point I made was that in the time you have rotated back to an area to “cut the renewed resource,” it has not had time to recover the carbon that was sequestered earlier and released into the atmosphere. The carbon released from a 100 year old tree is not going to be re-sequestered by a 20 year old tree. This whole process is a bad joke, and can only be believed by people with their eyes wide shut, and their brain on “stunned.”

        In “theory,” it wasn’t trees that formed coal in the first place, it was vegetation of a different variety. But that doesn’t matter. We guess at the past beyond about 4000 years ago to start with, we don’t know it. Science is not set in stone, even on the simplest level, much less anything with real complexity. A lot of the derived formulae appear to be correct and can be used for planning, if you will, but that doesn’t mean that there might not be a hidden factor that at this time is too trivial to notice but will heavily impact future planning.

  6. Jack Broughton permalink
    December 20, 2017 3:43 pm

    If CO2 was really damaging then wood burning would be limited to true waste wood.
    It is not so wood burning is a scam for eco-nuts rather than a benefit.
    Drax probably represents 10% of EU biomass energy in the graph above. The tragedy is that it would be producing very cheap electricity if it were burning coal (as designed) without stupid carbon taxes, and be less damaging to our balance of payments too..

  7. December 20, 2017 3:52 pm

    It is predictable that central planning will produce the opposite effect from that intended. It has been the case wherever tried and the underlying problem of the impossibility of central planning being able to correctly predict required production of any good was analyzed in a famous article on milk supply. This why the Usa does a better job of lowering carbon emissions.

    • Rowland H permalink
      December 21, 2017 1:33 pm

      “Whenever government legislates to force an economic outcome, the long term effect will be equal and opposite to that intended.” Newton’s Law of Government Regulations.

  8. December 20, 2017 4:47 pm

    Canada has something like 310 million hectares of forest but they import wood from Norway for power generation.

  9. December 20, 2017 5:36 pm

    It’s a good job CO2 is hugely beneficial to the environment. An unusually good example of the law of unintended consequences. Pity about the intended consequence of driving up electricity costs, increasing fuel poverty and closing industry.

  10. Sheri permalink
    December 20, 2017 5:38 pm

    “Later, in an email, the company’s manager, Stanislav Legat, insisted that “we only use chips. Logs whom you see on the courtyard is not ours [sic].”” Sounds like what drug smugglers say when the police find coke in the trunk of a car “I have no idea how that got there. It’s not mine”.

    As with all “green energy” the only thing holding this together is lie after lie and government money.

    For years, enviros opposed all kinds of things that they said damaged the environment. Now, they clear cut forests, kill birds and destroy habitats with wind turbines, and aid in the extinction of gila monsters and desert tortoises with solar plants. You couldn’t ask for a better group of people to completely destroy habitat, wildlife and anything that gets in their way. Go enviros—you’ve done more damage in 20 years that was done in the past century by the “evil” fossil fuel people. Congrats.

  11. Athelstan permalink
    December 20, 2017 5:46 pm

    The great green myth is the ongoing financial and industrial tragedy of the west or maybe just some of it, as it munches its way through our industrial body – like a rapacious cancer.

    Not in ‘the Donald’s’ United States now though (God bless you DJT MAGA) ………………and um ……………………….here in dear old stupid blighty!! well it does seem to be here in the nexus of green lunacy – Britain.

    Plus, it doesn’t seem to bother the krauts as much – oh yes they pay it [green agenda] lip service do our german cousins but there it ends, energiewende has been booted into the long grass – only domestic consumers need complain. If you think about it, as Machiavelli most definitely would, purely in terms of self interest and running the EU, wouldn’t it be great (for Berlin) if they enforced it: made everybody else – go green? wowee- what a jolly wheeze that would be for Otto, Heinz, Brunhilde and Gertrude and any other Valkyrie too.

    The litany of green sorrows, its idiocy will maybe be written (a big if – as the sunset of Europe continues into a permanent ‘crescentic’ veiled darkness] and into that great list of perversions would be included, the burning of trees ala Drax, Then their woeful, and the insult invading all our sense, an abject justification – that, “burning trees is green”….. ie better than other ‘fossil fuels’…………

    What could be worse than Drax burning wood pellets………………maybe Obama’s doling out taxpayers monies to subsidize the great plain’s farmers to grow corn to distil into ethanol for vehicular transport – if that ain’t unconscionable green political virtue signalling and ocean going idiocy – then I don’t know what is.

  12. December 20, 2017 7:37 pm

    Atmospheric CO2 is truly a moving target. The ‘carbon cycle’ is just exactly that. CO2 is constantly being extracted by plants and released by combustion and biodegradation. CO2 is absorbed and emitted by the oceans, volcanoism. It’s terribly, terribly complex and the metrics are awful: Mostly its guesses.

    But it is obvious the long-sequestered hydrocarbons like oil, gas and coal add CO2 to atmosphere which have not been there recently. Plants like trees and grasses rapidly pass through the carbon cycle, relative to “fossil” fuels.

    I’m not advocating this makes any economic sense. I am not arguing we should be doing anything to influence the carbon cycle. I do think the arguments that bio-mass should be considered carbon-neutral are coherent, logical and likely true — even if burning up trees instead of coal and gas makes no sense and is a total waste of money.

    • December 20, 2017 7:59 pm

      There are energy-intensive drying out processes, conversion to wood pellets and long-distance transportation to consider. Also new trees obviously need some time to grow before fully taking the place of a felled tree.

      Plus wood generates more CO2 per unit of energy than hard coal, and a lot more than natural gas.

      • December 20, 2017 8:49 pm

        Yes. What you are saying is it takes more energy to harvest, process, haul and combust biomass than it does to extract sequestered hydrocarbons from the earth. Like I said it makes no economic sense.

        The young tree vs old tree washes out. The carbon uptake of young juvenile trees is greater than larger more mature trees that are at the end of their lifespan anyway and will soon be outgassing CO2 as they decompose. Biomass contributions to the carbon cycle are being calculated reasonably (based on what we know). Man trying to manipulate the carbon cycle is silliness. Burning biomass unventilated in simple dwellings is a huge human health problem in Africa & India. It contributes to premature death for untold millions. It is perhaps the single, simplest thing we might do for human health: get those people clean energy like kerosene, gas and electricity. But it doesn’t change the fact – burning cow dung and sticks is carbon neutral.

    • David Richardson permalink
      December 20, 2017 10:22 pm

      Willy – of course burning sticks and cow dung is carbon neutral, in the same as way as growing willow one year and burning the next is carbon neutral. Burning 100+ year old trees (ignoring all the use of fossil fuel and release of CO2 in the logging process) to burn in Drax power station is not carbon neutral on the time scale of the predicted cAGW disaster.

      As you say burning wood and dung is a massive health hazard but hey “we have a planet to save here” and there are too many people in the world anyway – ask David Attenborough.

      Paul’s original question – “Why Is Wood Burning Counted as Green Energy?” – because the people who made the rules have little grasp of anything to do with science and engineering. After all the Climate Change Act was drafted by a woman with a degree in English Lit.

      • December 21, 2017 6:08 am

        Yeah it’s arbitrary. And it is economic insanity. We should be focused on what can be done, the possible, so to speak. Our ignorance about AGW is overwhelming. We don’t know if men are causing warming, we don’t know the extent, and we certainly don’t know how to do anything about it. The likelihood Atmospheric CO2 is significantly causal is slim to none.

        But, I don’t think it’s illogical to determine biomass is carbon neutral. It is the logic of the thing that helps us see the silliness of the whole project.

  13. Graeme No.3 permalink
    December 20, 2017 8:25 pm

    What is to stop a coal burning power station taking over the cleared area of ex-forest and planting trees? They could then claim that their emissions were being offset by the new trees. A little judicial use of pictures of the clear felled land after the wood pellet makers had finished and their new green trees would make it difficult for the EU to refute their claim.

  14. karabar permalink
    December 20, 2017 8:31 pm

    In Australia the commitment to Kyoto made it illegal for farmers to clear land for agriculture, on the notion that wild plant growth is a ‘carbon sink’. Meanwhile, forests in the USA are being clear felled to use as fuel in England because it is considered ‘carbon neutral’. If one contemplates only the very basis of the carbon cycle, how can this be logical, to even the tiniest idiotic greenie brain?

  15. December 20, 2017 8:57 pm

    If one really wanted to get carbon out of the atmosphere he should grow the fastest growing crop possible and toss the harvested crop down into old coal mines. There the carbon would be sequestered for many many years. Burning it just makes the carbon cycle spin faster.

    Planting a new tree does NOT replace the carbon removed with the old tree. The old tree was removing carbon at a faster rate than that seedling can remove carbon, and it will take many years for the seedling to catch up to the rate of carbon removal of the old tree.

    Green energy is all BS.

  16. J Martin permalink
    December 20, 2017 10:58 pm

    If Drax goes back to burning coal anytime before 34 years are up then they will have put more co2 into the atmosphere than if they had just burnt coal. The 30 years being the growth time for a tree, and the 4 being the 13% of energy Drax claims it costs to get the tees into pellets in the furnace. Based on trees producing twice as much co2 as coal.

  17. avro607 permalink
    December 21, 2017 12:41 am

    How long does it take to burn a tree,and how long does it take for a tree to grow.Answer please on a postcard Mrs May.As the burning of wood produces more CO2 than coal,why not burn coal and plant a tree.Or is that too simple for you.

  18. Bill permalink
    December 21, 2017 11:54 am

    One word answer to Pauls question.


    To find how quickly coal appears do some digging into the Mount St Helen’s aftermath.

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