2010, Manomet, MA – There has been much press coverage of the Manomet study
about using forest biomass for energy in Massachusetts. This study was
commissioned and funded by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources.
Many of the resulting press articles have oversimplified the results. Indeed, a
key lesson of the study is that understanding the greenhouse gas (GHG) impacts
and benefits of using wood for energy is more complex than most people have assumed,
and that a lifecycle assessment is needed to assess these GHG costs and
benefits. Manomet is providing some additional clarifying comments about the
study given the substantial press coverage that followed the release of the
report on June 10, 2010. The study can be downloaded from www.manomet.org.
encourages interested parties to read the report, or at least the executive summary,
to understand first-hand what the study concludes.
commonly used press headline has been ‘wood worse than coal’ for GHG emissions
or for ‘the environment.’ This is an inaccurate interpretation of the findings,
which paint a much more complex picture. Although burning wood does emit more
GHGs initially than fossil fuels, these emissions are removed from the
atmosphere as harvested forests re-grow. The timing and magnitude of the
recovery is a function of forest productivity, land management choices, technology,
and fuel characteristics.
full statement and explanation here.