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Biomess

Biomess

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Published by Greenpeace Canada
Fuelling a BioMess
www.greenpeace.ca

Why Burning Trees for Energy Will Harm People, the Climate and Forests

Table of Contents
03 04 05 06 07 12 16 23 26 28 30 33 34 36 39 Key Findings Executive Summary Key Recommendations Introduction Canada’s Descent into the Biomess Draining Life: Extracting Biomass Damages our Forests Biomass Climate Footprint: the Fallacy of Carbon-neutrality Forest Biomass Energy: Back to the Stone Age From Forest to Biofuel: Driving to Destruction Burning Biomass: an Ai
Fuelling a BioMess
www.greenpeace.ca

Why Burning Trees for Energy Will Harm People, the Climate and Forests

Table of Contents
03 04 05 06 07 12 16 23 26 28 30 33 34 36 39 Key Findings Executive Summary Key Recommendations Introduction Canada’s Descent into the Biomess Draining Life: Extracting Biomass Damages our Forests Biomass Climate Footprint: the Fallacy of Carbon-neutrality Forest Biomass Energy: Back to the Stone Age From Forest to Biofuel: Driving to Destruction Burning Biomass: an Ai

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Published by: Greenpeace Canada on Nov 01, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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07/10/2013

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Fuellinga BioMess
  w  w  w .  g  r  e  e  n  p  e  a  c  e .  c  a
Why Burning Treesfor Energy Will Harm People,the Climate and Forests
 
Tableof Contents
03
Key Findings
04
Executive Summary
05
Key Recommendations
06
Introduction
07
Canada’s Descent into the Biomess
12
Draining Life: Extracting Biomass Damages our Forests
16
Biomass Climate Footprint: the Fallacy of Carbon-neutrality
23
Forest Biomass Energy: Back to the Stone Age
26
From Forest to Biofuel: Driving to Destruction
28
Burning Biomass: an Air Quality Hazard
30
Forest Bioenergy: Risky Business for Fragile Communities
33
Roadmap to Escape the Biomess
34
Conclusion
36
References
39
Glossary
PHOTO
The new WilliamsLake biomass power plant inBritish Columbia is the largestof its kind in North America.With a 65MW capacity, theCapital Power facility burnsmore than 770 000 tons ofbiomass every year.
 A n y  c o m p a r i s o n  b e t w e e n  e m i s s i o n s f r o m  f o r e s t  b i o m a s s  a n d  f o s s i l  f u e l s  d o e s  n o t  i m p l y t h a t  G r e e n p e a c e  e n c o u r a g e s  t h e  u s e  o f  f o s s i l  f u e l s.
E n e r g y [R ] e v o l u t i o n
 s c e n a r i o s  o u t l i n e  h o w  w e  c a n  p h a s e o u t  f o s s i l  f u e l s  w i t h o u t  r e l y i n g  o n  u n s u s t a i n a b l e  f o r m s  o f  b i o e n e r g y.
 W A  R  N I N G :
 
FUELING A BIOMESS
GREENPEACE
3
KeyFindings
ProviNcial Bioass Policies LeadCaNada iNto a Bioess
Provinces have recently
opened public forests to large scale extractionof forest biomass for energy production, with neither public consultations noradequate environmental guidelines.
Biomass extraction policies
include logging intact areas of forest, cutting wholetrees, removing woody debris, and cutting trees in recently burned and diseased areas.
The amount of wood
and other tree parts cut from Canadian public forests couldmore than double under new provincial policies.
The destructive practices
that are encouraged by the forest bioenergy boomthreaten the health of forest ecosystems across the country.
False Clais of CarboN NeutralityCoNceal Cliate Ipacts
Burning natural forest biomass
– whether for electricity, heat or biofuels – is notcarbon-neutral as governments and companies claim. Burning trees contributes toclimate change for decades, as shown by the most up-to-date science, until replacementtrees fully grow back.
Compared to current coal-fired electricity plants
in North America, current woodybiomass power plants can emit at the smokestack up to 150% more climate disruptingCO
2
, 400%more lung irritating carbon monoxide, and 200% more asthma causingparticulate matter to produce the same amount of energy. The CO
2
emited will harmclimate for decades before being captured by regrowing trees.
The latest science
shows that burning biofuels derived from standing trees in southernOntario’s forests will emit more CO
2
emissions than using gasoline for well over a century.
Burning boreal biomass
contributes to climate change through a long carbon paybacktime due to the slow regrowth of forests and the fragility of existing carbon stocks.
Federal and provincial governments fail
to account properly the CO
2
emissionsfrom forest bioenergy production by using the simplistic assumption of carbon neutrality.In truth, CO
2
emissions from biomass burning - about 40 megatons annually in Canada are roughly the equivalent of Canada’s 2009 light-duty vehicules emissions.
SigNificaNt Forest BioeNergy ProductioNWill Lead to aN ENviroNeNtal Fiasco
In 2008, only 3.4% of Canada’s
total primary energy production came from burningwood in power plants and heating systems, but this required an amount of woody biomassequivalent to all the wood cut in Manitoba, Ontario, Québec and New Brunswick for thesame year (47 million m
3
 ).
If it ran at 100% capacity,
a small 30MW biomass power plant would burn more than470000 tonnes of wood annually, an amount equivalent to clearcutting 10 soccer fieldsof Canadian forest everyday.
Providing 15% of Canada’s
electricityproductionfrom forest biomass would requireburning more than the equivalent of all the trees that were cut nationwide in 2008(147 million m
3
 ).
More than 560,000 trees
would need to be cut every single day to provide the biofuel(E85) needed to run all of Canada’s cars. Annually, this would mean doubling the amountof wood extracted from Canadian forests.
Wood pellet exports
from Canadian forests to Europe were around 1.2 million tonnesin 2010, a 700% increase in less than 8 years. Canadian pellet production capacityis expected to increase ten-fold by 2020.
Forest bioeNergy Needs to stay sall-scale
Large forest bioenergy operations
are unprofitable without significant governmentsubsidies and provide as much as 80% fewer jobs than “traditional” forestry.
Using mill waste and residue,
such as sawdust and non-commercial wood chips,to replace fossil fuels for local, small-scale heating systems is the most efficientuse of woody biomass.

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