The contradictory Green policies to limit CO2 emissions

reposted from edmdotme


Currently the burning of Biomass is designated as “CO2 neutral” by Western Nations to give the appearance of reducing CO2 emissions and thus controlling Climate Change.  The designation of Biomass burning as being Carbon neutral is essentially self-defeating as:

  • burning Biomass massively increases the instantaneous output of CO2 emissions.
  • those instantaneous CO2 emissions from burning Biomass effectively cancels out  any and all potential CO2 emissions savings from the deployment of Weather Dependent Renewable generation technologies.
  • is hugely destructive of natural environments and habitats wherever harvested at the necessary industrial scale.

Germany and the UK are leaders in the development of Renewable Energy in Europe. This post uses 2019 hourly generation datasets showing the scale of various generation technologies over the year.  It combines that power output data with data on the CO2 emissions of different fossil fuels to show the extent of CO2 emissions in 2019.

It questions the efficacy of using Biomass to reduce CO2 emissions at all, as:

In both contexts, the scale of CO2 emissions from Biomass cancels out any potential CO2 emissions savings made from using Weather Dependent Renewables.  

The use of Biomass for generation the UK and Germany, has in fact increased CO2 emissions output and worsened the putative adverse warming effect on Climate. 

So all the Green policies, the excess expenditures and the government subsidies for Biomass burning and Weather Dependent Renewables in both the UK and Germany have done nothing but increase Global CO2 emissions overall.

Comparison of CO2 emissions from Fossil fuels used in power generation

The characteristics of Fossil Fuels and Biomass resulting from their molecular structure, their production processes and their flammability determine their CO2 emissions characteristics as shown below:

Screenshot 2020-11-01 at 14.11.23.png
  • the least CO2 emissions for the power produced results from burning Natural Gas, which can be usefully derived from Fracking:  this has been the origin of the massive CO2 emission reductions achieved in the USA.
  • all forms of Coal produce roughly twice as much CO2 for the power they produce when compared to Natural Gas.
  • however, the clear-felling forest lands, then using some of the timber itself or Fossil fuels for drying, processing and transporting the wood to burn in remote power stations results in roughly 3.6 times the CO2 emissions of Natural Gas for the same power output.

Realistic mechanisms for CO2 emissions reduction

The progress of decarbonisation since 1990 that has been made worldwide can be seen,  expressed as CO2 emissions per head of population below.

Screenshot 2020-11-04 at 14.46.13.png

It is clear from the chart above that there are only limited ways that effectively reduce CO2 emissions from power generation:

  1. the massive use of Nuclear energy, as in France where CO2 emissions / head have now diminished to a level below the Global average, following the French 50+ year commitment to Nuclear power.  The French now have the lowest CO2 emissions value per head of any developed Nation.  The French thus prove the point of the efficacy of using Nuclear power to limit CO2 emissions.  Nuclear power has contributed to a CO2 reduction of ~200million tonnes per year since 1990, (~-28%).  France now produces less than 1% of Global CO2 emissions, down from ~1.5% in 1990:  this represents a reduction of 2019 Global CO2 emissions of ~0.6%.
  2. the transition from Coal to Gas-firing for power generation and a Fracking revolution, as in the USA, where annual emissions have reduced by ~1,600 million tonnes per year, (~-20%), since 2005.  The USA now produces less than 15% of Global CO2 emissions, down from ~22% in the year 2000:  this represents a reduction of 2019 Global CO2 emissions of ~4.7%.
  3. in the UK, the earlier 1990’s policy, “Dash for Gas”, substantially has replaced Coal for power generation by Natural Gas.  This has contributed to a CO2 reduction of ~160 million tonnes per year since 1995, (~-30%).  The UK is responsible for ~1.1% of Global CO2 emissions:  this represents a reduction of 2019 Global CO2 emissions of ~0.47%.

Illogically these effective mechanisms for CO2 emissions reduction, were that a worthwhile objective, are rejected by “Green Thinking”.  The use of Weather Dependent Renewables, (Wind and Solar), may not have any direct fuel costs but they do heavily rely on the use of Fossil fuels for their manufacture, installation and maintenance.  Even though their “fuel” is nominally free, Weather Dependent Renewables are not capable of achieving true CO2 neutrality.

The context for Western CO2 reduction policies

Electric power generation is responsible for roughly 1/4 of a developed Nation’s CO2 emissions the remaining 3/4  being emitted from space heating, transport and industry.  So tackling the fossil fuels used for electricity generation only affects a part of the CO2 putative emissions problem.  Coping with these other sources of CO2 emissions will prove to be much more problematic and much more costly to achieve.

It should be noted that in 2019 the EU(28) as a whole emitted less than 10% of the Global CO2 burden:  Off that CO2 burden UK emissions were ~1.1% Global CO2 and Germany’s CO2 emissions amounted to about 2%.  Whatever actions are taken by Western nations can only ever affect a marginal amount of the Global “CO2 emissions burden”, which is considered to be so damaging by Climate activist thinking.

Screenshot 2020-10-29 at 11.20.50.png

So, any action in the Western world, where there is an aggressive movement to reduce CO2 emissions, can only be self-harming in the face of the inevitable growth in demand from the developing Nations requiring enhanced access to reliable electric power as they develop the well-being of their populations.

The primary Western government actions to try to limit CO2 emissions have been to mandate a change in the fuels used to generate electrical power.  The Green thinking requires the substitution of fossils fuels, fully replacing them with nominally “CO2 emissions free” fuels such as Wind and Solar power as well as Biomass.

These power source substitution policies have already done proven damage to the reliability of Power grids in Germany, the UK, South Australia, Texas and California and they are making power supplies increasingly vulnerable wherever those policies are instituted.  A low wind period in the UK and Europe in November 2020 came very close to causing the failure of the UK Grid, a calm, cold period this February in Texas rendered the Texas grid inoperable for more than a week with several million households without power and likely costs and damage exceeding that of a major hurricane.  That damage was self-inflicted by policy not by climate.

The policy of promoting Biomass

Biomass power sources are designated to be sustainable and CO2 free by policy but not by rational thinking.  Their rational being that burnt plant material may well regrow eventually reabsorbing the CO2 produced when they burn.

  • is essentially self-defeating in the objective to limit CO2 emissions to “save the Climate”:
    • in spite of being declared “Carbon neutral”, by EU and UK policy it is far from Carbon neutral in its effect:  for the same power produced, burning Biomass releases much more CO2 than other fossil fuels, (Coal, Lignite and most particularly Natural Gas).
    • is massively destructive of forest environments, wherever the wood is harvested.  In Europe there is insufficient timber feedstock even to maintain partial power production.
  • will require up to 100 years to fully restore the destroyed native forest wild-life habitat and virgin environments and to thus reabsorb the total CO2 that is released instantaneously by the burning of the Biomass in power plants.
  • requires significant heat energy to dry and process the harvested wood material converting it into the pelletised, transportable product.
  • requires significant fossil fuel use for long distance transport.
  • has already required substantial, subsidised and costly refit of the generation and local fuel supply technologies at Drax where the UK Biomass is burnt.
  • these factors in combination result in an additional, instantaneous CO2 release into the atmosphere of about 3.6 times that produced by burning Natural Gas for the same power output.

Review of Biomass Calculations in Achieving Net Zero Emissions Scenario.

These comparative values are used to establish the CO2 emission consequences of trying to avoid Fossil fuel usage as opposed to harvested Biomass.   The progress of decarbonisation since 1990 that has been made worldwide can be seen,  expressed as CO2 emissions per head of population below.

Assessing the effectiveness of CO2 reduction policies

The transition from Coal / Lignite / Biomass to Natural gas would give significant CO2 emissions savings for both the UK and Germany. The USA has already made very substantial reduction in its CO2 emissions, ~-20% since the year 2000 by transitioning under market forces from Coal to Fracked Natural Gas for power generation .  

However, in the UK Government Policy the transition to imported Biomass, rather than Coal, generating ~7% of its power output mainly at the Drax site adds the major part of excess CO2 emissions, ~29million tonnes per year for only ~7% of UK power output.  On the other hand, the absolute maximum potential CO2 reduction achieved by the use of Weather Dependent Renewables, (Wind and Solar) is about 20 million tonnes per year, (ignoring the CO2 output essential for their manufacture installation and maintenance).

Thus the policy to use of imported Biomass in the UK more than cancels out any potential CO2 emissions savings made by the use of Weather Dependent Renewables, (Wind and Solar) and in addition directly increases nominally harmful CO2 emissions.

The table below summarises rough estimates the effectiveness of actions to reduce CO2 emissions by the two main protagonists in Europe, the UK and Germany.  It assesses the UK power industry as only producing 20% of CO2 emissions because of the large input from low CO2 emitting Natural Gas-firing as opposed to other fossil fuels, whereas Germany is assessed at an estimated normal level 25% of CO2 emissions for its power industry.

It estimates firstly that the total transition to Natural Gas from other Fossil fuels could avert CO2 emissions:

  • United Kingdom -23.2 million tonnes per year.
  • Germany -72.9 million tonnes per year.

Thus, the policy of using Biomass with its excessive CO2 burden, effectively negates and cancels out any CO2 reductions that might be achieved by the use of Solar and Wind power in both the UK and Germany.

Parallel calculations are shown above for the German situation where there is still a heavy dependence on Coal and Lignite and to a lesser proportional extent Biomass used for power generation.  Nonetheless German Biomass usage is slightly greater than the UK CO2 emissions level.  German Biomass is both imported and also sourced from Germany’s indigenous forests, already causing significant habitat damage.

These simple calculations come close to proving that all investments in “low Carbon technologies” so far have achieved nothing towards CO2 reduction but have only increased CO2 emissions and power costs both in the UK and Germany.

United Kingdom CO2 emissions output 2019

The graphics below shows hourly mix of UK power Generation by technology during 2019.  The average output is equivalent to ~28Gigawatts.

Screenshot 2020-11-02 at 14.57.49.png

Since the “Dash for Gas Policy” in the 1990s, the predominant UK fuels for power generation have been Natural Gas and Nuclear.  Using Coal for generation in the UK is now largely curtailed.  It is in use only on occasions and provides ~2% of power output.  Nonetheless the emergency reopening of Coal plants has saved the the UK Grid from failure on occasions in 2019 and 2020.  This transition has reduced CO2 emissions as a result.  UK CO2 emissions / head  are now only 23% above the Global average. 

Although the UK still has significant Nuclear generation, still providing ~22% of power output, most of those Nuclear plants will come to the end of their service lives before 2030.  UK policies have been slow to replace that base load capacity with alternative base load power.  But the UK on the other hand has significantly increased the installations of intermittent and unreliable Weather Dependent Renewables.

In 2019 the UK is also continuously dependent on ~7% of imported power, primarily  importing Nuclear generated power from France.  The UK dependence on power imports should be regarded as an existential risk to UK power supplies in the immediate future particularly since Brexit.

Coal-firing has been significantly substituted by the policy of using Biomass mainly imported from the East coast of the USA, where clear-felling of virgin forest fulfils the requirement.  There is insufficient indigenous timber supply available from the UK itself.

The Drax Yorkshire power complex has been largely converted to burn wood pellets mostly imported from the USA, replacing its Coal generating plant.  This provides about 7% of UK power.  The substitution has been imposed by Government climate policies, which assert that imported Biomass is “Carbon neutral” as it will eventually reabsorb all the CO2 emitted. However that re-establishment process will take about 100 years, if ever, to restore the forest and natural habitats destroyed in the process. 

Originally, the Drax power complex was intentionally sited on a still productive Coal seam.  So, continuing to burn that Coal rather than imported Biomass would result in about half of the CO2 emissions for the same power output as burning imported Biomass.  Recently in November 2020 ageing Coal-fired plants saved the UK Grid from failure.  Those plants are all scheduled for closure within a few years in the name of saving the World from man-made Climate Change.

Weather Dependent Renewables, (Wind Power Onshore and Offshore and Solar), already make up more than 55% of the installed UK generation fleet but they unreliably contribute only ~23% of the UK power produced.  They achieve a combined productivity of ~21% overall.  Wind and Solar are not dispatchable and provide power only when the sun shines and the wind blows at a suitable speed:  that alone causes real problem for maintaining the consistent power supply essential to support a developed economy.

Screenshot 2020-11-05 at 07.33.44.png

Note:  these estimates of the scale of dispatchable generation installed assume that those Generation sources operate at their full productivity of 90% and may thus underestimate the size of their actual installations.  The imposition and preferential use, by policy, of intermittent “Weather Dependent Renewable” generation technologies decreases the effectiveness, productivity and profitability of Dispatchable Gas or Coal plants and increases their maintenance costs.

The three CO2 emitting technologies in the UK are a large proportion of Natural Gas, very limited and occasional Coal generation and ~7% of continuous dispatchable power production from Biomass.  That 7% Biomass generation output is responsible ~37% of the whole CO2 emissions from UK power generation.  The policy that asserts that Biomass is CO2 neutral means that CO2 emissions are increased over the use of Natural Gas for power generation by an estimated 23 million tonnes per year.

The distribution and scale of the UK CO2 emissions over the year are shown below.

Screenshot 2020-11-02 at 15.14.20.png

Germany CO2 emissions output 2019

The graphics below shows hourly values of German power Generation by technology in 2019.  The average output is equivalent to ~65Gigawatts.

Screenshot 2020-11-02 at 14.57.21.png

Germany has been pursuing its “die Energiewende policy” since 2011, as a result it has installed ~102GW of Weather Dependent Renewables, (Wind and Solar), ~65% of the generation fleet.  Those Renewables yield ~30% of German power but intermittently with an overall combined productivity of only ~19%.   Germany has even opened a new Coal-fired power stations to help compensate its power deficit from its Nuclear closure policy.

In spite of its longstanding “die Energiewende” policy, Germany is still massively dependent on Fossil and CO2 emitting Fuels for its electricity generation:

  • Natural Gas 16%
  • Biomass 5%
  • Coal 9%
  • Lignite 19%
  • CO2 emitting generation  48.8% of power output

This totals to some 49% of power generation.  Coal and Lignite generation is increasing in Germany to compensate for its self-inflicted policy of closing Nuclear generators, still ~13% of the total productive fleet.  The policy of Nuclear closures, prompted by the Fukushima disaster of 2011 will be completed early in this decade.  

The “die Energiewende” may have reduced CO2 emissions somewhat.  But German CO2 emissions at 8.4 tonnes per head per year are still 87% above the Global average and the highest of the EU(28), ~30% above the EU(28) average. 

Germany still depends on significant Nuclear generation, providing ~12% of power output.  But, since the Fukushima disaster, German policy has been phase out its Nuclear plants before the end of their useful service life, leaving a significant power generation deficit.  German policy expects the power deficit to be compensated for by their fleet of intermittent Weather Dependent Renewables.

Germany has a significant power contribution from Biomass, ~4.6%.  However, whether imported or from indigenous forest or not, it does already makes contribution to German CO2 emissions of ~20%.

Weather Dependent Renewables, (Wind Power Onshore and Offshore and Solar) now make up more than 64% of the installed German generation fleet but they only unreliably contribute ~28% of the power produced.

Over production of power from excessive Wind power production in winter months means that Germany is forced to export that excess power to neighbouring countries, often at negative prices .  This imposes a further cost burden on German power customers.  Germany is also dependent on some imported power mainly Nuclear power from France in the summer when Wind power is production can be low.

Screenshot 2020-11-05 at 11.07.47.png

The distribution and scale of the German CO2 emissions over the year are shown below.

Screenshot 2020-11-03 at 07.22.31.png


  • If CO2 emissions reduction were a rational aim to control “Climate Change”, transitioning to the use of Natural Gas for power generation is an effective means of CO2 emissions reduction, not elimination.  Using Natural Gas does not meet the “Net Zero” ambitions of Climate activists.
  • The use of imported Biomass in the UK and Germany is essentially self-defeating as a means to reduce CO2 emissions that might affect the Climate.  The estimates above show that in the UK the Green policies for Renewables and Biomass actually result in additional CO2 emissions.
  • In the UK the policy to use Biomass at Drax completely negates all CO2 emissions reduction efforts that might have been achieved using Weather Dependent Renewables, (Wind Power, Onshore and Offshore and Solar).
  • As Germany is much more committed to Coal and Lignite use as well as its Biomass this negates the Wind and Solar investments with excess CO2 emissions of ~ 20million tonnes per year.
  • Wherever the Biomass is sourced, remotely for example from Africa, North America, Indonesia, etc. the environmental damage that the industry causes is virtually irreparable even in the medium term.

The recent Michael Moore film made a telling point, that there is only enough forest timber in the whole USA to power its supply grid for a single year:  and after that the forests are gone.  Whereas Gas and other Fossil fuel reserves will still be available for the longer-term.

  • All investments in Weather Dependent Renewables are obliterated by the contradictory CO2 reduction policies of burning Biomass, which serve to increase CO2 emissions both in the UK and Germany and everywhere else that they are used.  An estimate of the additional costs imposed by the use of Weather Dependent Renewables throughout Europe can be seen:
  • If governments institute policies and mandate their financial support, then businesses are bound to take advantage of the artificially created business opportunities even though they may be counterproductive.
  • The continuing dependence on significant amounts of Fossil Fuels, Coal and Lignite, in Germany, make the Climate Change goals of “die Energiewende” very challenging, especially with their added policy of phasing out their CO2 emissions free Nuclear power generation over the coming few years.
  • Importing Biomass, as in the UK, is imposing cost burdens on both the balance of payments and thus the clients of the power generation industry.
  • All the expenditures on Weather Dependent Renewables combined with burning Biomass have actually increased CO2 emissions in the UK and Europe.
  • The scale of the economic and incidentally “Climate” damage that has been achieved by Climate activists in the sentimental but effective termination of Fracking for Natural Gas in the UK and throughout Europe is massive.

An excellent way to undermine Western economies is to render their power generation unreliable and expensive.  That objective of Green thinking is progressively being achieved by Government policy throughout the Western world but without any popular voter mandate.

Data sources

This post gratefully uses the following data sources:

  • Germany Renewables provided at hourly intervals

  • United Kingdom Renewables output at 5 minute intervals, condensed to hourly intervals

  • France Renewables output at 15 minute intervals, condensed to hourly intervals

  • For the scale of EU(28) installations by the end of 2019, EurObserver’ER publish their Renewable Energy “Barometers” for each type of Renewable generation annually, for an example, see:


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March 20, 2021 6:29 am

Green Energy never made sense and probably never will. It’s a marvelous way to change a thriving first world economy into a third world hell-hole, but it only makes sense if you’re selling the crap.

Reply to  Spetzer86
March 20, 2021 6:41 am

Meanwhile, snow melt in Iceland has accelerated. /s

Reply to  Scissor
March 20, 2021 7:27 am

I guess the climate alarmists got alarmed. But you can still see the video here …

Reply to  John Shewchuk
March 20, 2021 1:12 pm

Oh, weren’t we told by someone that the magma sac under Iceland and Greenland was inert and didn’t cause any ice melting 😉

Abolition Man
Reply to  Scissor
March 20, 2021 10:29 am

Maybe St. Greta got alarmed watching all the evil CO2 spewing out with the lava! She should call for volunteers to sail or swim to Iceland post haste and stop this horrible leak of the deadly gas before the world turns any greener and more fertile! Virgins be wary!

Should be reply to John, oops!

Bill Everett
Reply to  Spetzer86
March 20, 2021 4:49 pm

Why is there a need to reduce the contribution of atmospheric CO2 from human activity when the average per year human contribution from 1980 through 2019 was only one tenth of one ppm of CO2?

March 20, 2021 6:55 am

Wood pellet numbers dont bear up to scrutiny. Sounds good to start with, just regrow the new forest you have used. Seems 100% sustainable… But on a practical basis….cut down 10 square miles of forest for your power station….replant the following year….repeat every year to keep your power station fuelled…..takes 80 years to grow the forest back…..40 years after starting you have cut down 400 square miles and have only regrown 1/4 of the original biomass….at 80 years you will have cut down 800 square miles and have only regrown 1/2 the original biomass, when you can start cutting the first 10 square miles again, and start being somewhat honest that you are carbon neutral from that point on, ignoring the missing 50% biomass. The results are somewhat better with fast growing species. But if you really were concerned about CO2 emissions, you would bury the wood instead of burn it. Just sayin’….

Reply to  DMacKenzie
March 20, 2021 9:44 am

What makes biomass even less carbon neutral is that a high amount of fossil fuels are needed to fell, gather, prepare and ship the timber/pelts to market – to a ridiculous extent with Drax where the wood pellets are shipped across the Atlantic, whereas it is sitting right on top of a coal mine. It really shows the people pushing for biomass are useful idiots or scammers who don’t care at all about the environment. If I believed CO2 to be the devil I would agree with converting everything to natural gas – plentiful, easy to transport by pipeline, very clean burning and also very efficiently burned in combined cycle plants – but would never think that cutting down forests is a good idea. Look at the scandal of bio-diesel made from palm oil grown from plantations where they cut down ancient rain forests in Borneo – Climate Change Activists are turning orangutans into the first climate refugees – climate policy refuges!

Gunga Din
Reply to  DMacKenzie
March 20, 2021 10:05 am

In the US logging has been hindered in some areas to save the northern spotted owl.
(I saw a picture of a pair nesting in a broken K-Mart sign.)
Just where are all these wood pellets going to come from?
How many of them are “owl pellets”? 😎

Abolition Man
Reply to  Gunga Din
March 20, 2021 10:35 am

Those pellets won’t be very combustible, being largely composed of rodent bones.
I do, however, still have a few boxes of Spotted Owl Helper in my camping supplies if you want to try a real treat! Increase the water and butter slightly as it tends to be a little dry!

Reply to  Gunga Din
March 20, 2021 1:49 pm

And it turned out that the CA spotted owl “problem” was totally caused by competition from an invasive owl species. Destroying the lumber industry didn’t help the spotted owl at all but it has resulted in the burning to death of a huge number of all forest species from lovely forest fires.

Reply to  AndyHce
March 21, 2021 11:15 pm

Actually, the spotted owl is just a recessive pattern variant of the common barred owl — but the spotting pattern is poorer camo, hence is selected against and is relatively rare. Calling it a separate species and shooting the barred owls to prevent “hybridizing” (as has been occasionally done) is like calling black Labs and yellow Labs different breeds, and shooting the black Labs to prevent “hybrids”.

But yep, spotted owl “management” has been totally counterproductive.

Reply to  DMacKenzie
March 20, 2021 3:23 pm

”takes 80 years to grow the forest back”

In Australian temperate native forests a rotation can occur every 50 – 60 years with a thinning program occurring every 15 years in between. Fast growing Eucalypt plantations on the other hand can be rotated every 15 – 20 years with a cut of around 200 tonnes per hectare.
I agree Biomass has its limitations, but it can still have its merits in a small way to utilise the waste within the timber industry, such as the bark, limbs, sawmill waste… Which would be otherwise just burnt in the open air.

Reply to  aussiecol
March 20, 2021 4:49 pm

In Vaclav Smil’s 2017 book “Energy and Civilization” he discusses
EROI – energy returned on (energy) invested; ie how much energy do you get over the lifetime of production.of the plant. Higher is better.
Coal: 10-80x depending on quality & ease of extraction
NatGas/oil: 10-100x depending on quality & ease of extraction
Wind: <20 and usually < 10
Solar < 2
Biomass < 1.5 “but often ~ 1” (ie no net gain!)
But using waste timber for other products makes perfect sense, just not for electricity.
And here in Arizona we are having another gorgeous day that is completely consistent with climate change!

Reply to  DMacKenzie
March 21, 2021 5:15 am

If one takes water vapor into account as does the IPCC and EPA for methane then anthracite would come out best and black coal second while biomass would look much worse and come out only a little above methane (it has lots of moisture, hydrogen bonds in the structure-it is a carbohydrate, and has low energy) see

Jim Gorman
March 20, 2021 7:02 am

The greens have outsmarted themselves by claiming CO2 from fossil fuel stays in the atmosphere for centuries.

Atmospheric Lifetime of Fossil Fuel Carbon Dioxide (

Believe me, the sinks don’t know if the CO2 comes from coal or biomass. According to their studies that means the more we put in from biomass, the worse climate change will be. You would have to let forests grow for centuries also to absorb what burning them originally put in. It is a lost cause.

Reply to  Jim Gorman
March 20, 2021 7:35 am

Agree. Plus, we need more publicity on how TSI better correlates to global temperatures rather than CO2 …

Abolition Man
Reply to  Jim Gorman
March 20, 2021 10:37 am

Greens outsmarting themselves? Now there’s a low bar!

Reply to  Abolition Man
March 20, 2021 1:14 pm

A limbo winner…… low enough for only slugs and cockroaches.

Reply to  fred250
March 21, 2021 3:52 am

“A limbo winner…… low enough for only other slugs and cockroaches.”

Fixed the autocorrect for you

You’re welcome

Reply to  Redge
March 21, 2021 1:01 pm

So you think you will fit.. OK !!

March 20, 2021 7:20 am

The article will be easier to comprehend by those few who have lived in a house heated exclusively by a wood fire and made the mistake (or tried to take the shortcut) of using unseasoned green wood as a primary fuel. To get the same amount of heat, you need to use an extraordinary amount of fuel (to vaporize the water content) to sustain the fire when the fire does eventually get going. And to get the fire going you need some other type of ancillary fuel (hence the need to mix tarred railroad ties with the biomass, for example) that will burn hot enough to combust the green wood.

And then there is the absolute mess that is created by the creosote build up, causing subsequent corrosive damage to exhaust structures. An on top of that, you have excessive smoke pollution caused by incomplete combustion and an ever present creosote fire hazard to contend with.

But all of that will go unrealized, if you just count the carbon content (or calories) of the green wood itself, as on paper it seems perfectly feasible. But fresh out of grad. school one is inclined to dismiss the collective wisdom of the “country folk” as superstition and ignorance because of their lack of formal education. (lol)

Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.

Last edited 1 year ago by Anon
Reply to  Anon
March 20, 2021 2:52 pm

Yea Yea, I have almost finished off all of my wood this year with no rounds set to drying last year because I was gone for 6 weeks this summer and working on other projects while here and am lazy. So spring, still snow an the ground here, I need to cut dry standing and split it immediately to give it a chance to finish drying before next cold season. Only 5 or 6 cords because we snow bird some.

We do have propane heat but primarily heat with wood. Furnace set at 65 for the middle of the night.

Sylvester Deal
March 20, 2021 8:03 am

Large scale CO2 removal processes are geologic time frame. Every new baby increases the CO2 creation. Beware unintended consequences of choices to lower CO2 by any means.

Reply to  Sylvester Deal
March 20, 2021 2:34 pm


I’m just glad Greenies like AOC have declared to not have children to prevent global warming. They deserve a half Darwin Award!

Reply to  RelPerm
March 20, 2021 2:53 pm

And no SS or FED pension when they get old because they didn’t add to the new generation required to fund their retirement.

Dave Andrews
March 20, 2021 8:14 am

The UK’s CO2 emissions are about 1.1% of world emissions. The late Prof David MacKay, Regius Professor of Engineering at Cambridge University and former Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Dept of Energy and Climate Change, calculated that even if all the homes in the UK were powered exclusively by unreliable renewables it would only reduce UK emissions by 4%.

Reply to  Dave Andrews
March 20, 2021 9:10 am

Well the UK has successfully reduced emissions by 51% on 1990 levels as of last year. The economy didn’t collapse as a result.

Gunga Din
Reply to  griff
March 20, 2021 10:12 am

Honest question.
How many died from cold last year compared to 1990?

Iain Reid
Reply to  griff
March 20, 2021 11:28 am

I don’t believe you wrote that.

Last year was a lock down year so flattered the figures as dispatcahble generation was much less than normal. This will revert in due course and increase as time passes with the increase in EVs and heat pumps, both of which will increase CO2 emissions.

The economy is in dire straits, massive government spending and much reduced tax income. if you don’ tthink that is a collapse I wonder what your idea of a collapse is?

Reply to  griff
March 20, 2021 1:22 pm

Not long until the UK is THIRD WORLD status, griff..

Just remember, social handouts disappear in third-world countries..

Reply to  griff
March 20, 2021 2:16 pm

GB has a well running economy, we know 😀
9,9 % down, the worst break down at least since 1948, or even, as other media told, since 1709.
comment image

You tell us stories about a horse 😀 (German gimmick)

Last edited 1 year ago by Krishna Gans
Reply to  griff
March 20, 2021 3:19 pm

Real reductions were achieved by:

  • increased energy efficiency
  • reduced usage
  • switch from coal to gas

Fake reductions were achieved by:

  • Importing more high CO2 production goods
  • not counting CO2 from biomass

Any possible gain from renewables is totally wiped out by burning wood,

Reply to  MeanOnSunday
March 20, 2021 4:56 pm

A lot of CO2 reduction came from shipping industries overseas.

Reply to  griff
March 20, 2021 4:56 pm

Two lies in one sentence, griff’s on a roll.

Reply to  MarkW
March 21, 2021 1:19 pm

Less than usual !

Reply to  griff
March 21, 2021 12:47 am


Reply to  griff
March 21, 2021 4:11 am

🤣🤣🤣. 51% of 1% of 4% of 0.04% is what, Griff?

Bill Toland
Reply to  griff
March 21, 2021 4:20 am

Griff, according to your favourite newspaper The Guardian, Britain’s carbon footprint has not fallen at all. We have just exported all of our heavy industry to countries which don’t care about global warming. We have replaced domestic co2 production with imported co2 production.

Reply to  Bill Toland
March 21, 2021 1:31 pm

So true.. All the UK has shipped its emissions overseas, then brought them back in again

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Much the same as in 1997.

Even that reduction has been from the same reason as the USA’s reduction…

…. substituting Coal with GAS.

Listen to your teenage school-drop-out priestess, griff.

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Bruce Cobb
March 20, 2021 8:20 am

No fool like a bio-fool.

John Bell
March 20, 2021 8:25 am

I love WUWT but the automatic ad generator is constantly putting the face of Chris or George Cuomo up in my face and damn that is hard to take.

Rainer Bensch
Reply to  John Bell
March 21, 2021 3:13 am

In Germany it’s even worse.

March 20, 2021 9:09 am

German and UK biomass are not the same: German biomass is by far anaerobic digestion and doesn’t include large scale imported wood pellet burning. The Drax wood pellet plant isn’t green or renewable and it is likely that one day that’ll be recognised in the UK.

Growing importation of power is UK policy: up to 10 GW of HVDC connectivity to mainland Europe/Norway is in existence or approved. Western Europe is intended to be connected with renewable power shunted about the grid… you can’t look at any Western European grid in isolation.

(France has many occasions when nuclear power exceeds domestic demand and it basically dumps it cheaply into Germany or UK).

another ill informed article which drew its conclusion before cherry picking ‘evidence’

Reply to  griff
March 20, 2021 9:28 am

Speaking of cherry picking, here comes the expert, griff
First off, you talk about having excess power is something that only France and nuclear power suffer from.

On the other hand, you completely ignore the problems with wind and solar, which most of the time produce power when it isn’t needed and as a result has to be sold cheaply.

If you compare the fraction of power that is not needed between, wind, solar and nuclear, you will find that wind and solar are spectacularly bad investments.

Reply to  griff
March 20, 2021 9:52 am

Reading comprehension is not one of your strengths. If you had actually bothered to read the details you would see that the German biomass burning is shown as generating more energy per % of emissions than the UK – the author has done his research well. Biomass is a net-zero wild goose chase.

Last edited 1 year ago by PCman999
Reply to  PCman999
March 20, 2021 2:53 pm

What ever griff is telling about has the same credibility as if he will tell us that he saw in a bar a horse drinking beer with a straw 😀

Reply to  PCman999
March 21, 2021 12:55 am

Griff can read ten times over, he’s too stupid to understand

Reply to  griff
March 20, 2021 11:54 am

German biomass is by far anaerobic digestion…

That is a lot of bull sh!t !!

Reply to  griff
March 20, 2021 2:34 pm

Despite the ongoing pandemic, Germany produced more than 1,5 million tons of wood pellets in the first half of 2020, representing an increase of 13%, 173.000 tons than the first half of 2019. With in order to meet the increase in domestic demand driven by new pellet boiler installations.
There are 163 wood pellet factories in Germany that do not stop increasing their production due to the growing demand for pellets in the country. 96,6% of the production is under European quality standards ENplusA1 and they mainly use sawdust and sawmill residues (85,8%) as starting material, although the use of wood damaged by fire or insects is increasing, which is particularly interesting for the sustainable forest management It is a wood that had no other commercial use

Germany’s pellet production in the first half of 2020 exceeds 1,5 million tonnes for the first time and the sale of pellet boilers grows by 150%.

Griff, what kind of biomass may I find bewtween your ears ?

Last edited 1 year ago by Krishna Gans
Reply to  Krishna Gans
March 20, 2021 4:56 pm

“Griff, what kind of biomass may I find between your ears ?”

A sort of putrid slimy green ooze.

Reply to  griff
March 21, 2021 12:52 am

Where do the Germans get their biofuel from!

March 20, 2021 9:15 am

We keep calling them fools because CO2 isn’t the control knob but we’re wrong. It controls the industrial output of all countries and that is the real target, not the climate. The discrepancy lies in who controls the narrative …. the supposed ecologists, acting as useful idiots, or the Marxists.

March 20, 2021 9:19 am

Just goes to show you that climate activists have no use for actual science.

Reply to  MarkW
March 20, 2021 3:38 pm

It wouldt even be enough to use their brain, not overcharge them 😀

March 20, 2021 9:36 am

I make sense of this by considering who’s really in charge and what they may want for the future.

In the West, l mean the old (and I mean 𝒐𝒍𝒅) money/power that controls governments, and in the East, the CCP. (What relationship the CCP leadership has to antiquity or to the West exactly, I’m not exactly sure.)

What they want… Control for themselves of the best known most efficient + safest source of energy to preserve, as well as possible, for their progeny.

This may be questioned as far as the Chinese go, but consider that currently they’re still working for complete world dominance.

CO² is a smokescreen. Why we ever talk about it as a serious issue just plays into the hands of the Overlords.

Gunga Din
March 20, 2021 9:58 am

Of course, the main problem is the belief that there is a need to reduce CO2 Man’s emissions to “Save the Planet!”.

March 20, 2021 10:22 am

A couple quibbles. ALL the southern US forest cut for biomass is from farmed timber estates, whethrr privately owned Woodlore ornational forests “farmed” under contract, not virgin forests. And the time to plant and regrow what is cut is far lower than 100 years although I don’t know the exact value as it differs by climate and soil quality. But it certainly is much lower than a century in Louisiana.

But those are just quibbles to what is on its own terms is batshit crazy policy.

Climate believer
March 20, 2021 11:24 am

Very interesting article, thanks WUWT and EDMDOTME, given me a lot to think about.

March 20, 2021 11:41 am

China is laughing all the way to prosperity because affordable fossil energy is giving them an economic advantage.

The Green Energy movement is driven by 3 misconceptions:

-the global temperature is rising which it is not.
-the global temperature will continue to rise which is impossible to predict.
-C02 is responsible which it is not.

Only nature knows how to capture solar energy in an environmentally responsible and economically viable way.

Renewable energy sources are anything but natural, environmentally responsible or economically viable.

Thank you Michael Moore.

PS-I don’t believe there are too many people on this planet but we may be consuming more than is sustainable. Can we change? Yes but encourage change through education not propaganda and taxation..

Reply to  S.K.
March 20, 2021 5:11 pm

On what basis do you believe that we are consuming more than is sustainable?
Will fossil fuels run out some day? Yes, however we have hundreds and hundreds before we in which to figure out something to replace them. Worrying about what will do next is like asking people in 1500 to figure out what would replace the horse?

As to metals, we aren’t using them up. Every scrap of iron that has ever been mined, still exists. If it’s not in use, it’s in a land fill. The concentration of iron in a land fill is higher than the concentration of iron in most mines. This is true for most metals.

Reply to  MarkW
March 20, 2021 6:53 pm

It’s true for everything on earth. The are no new resources of any kind, what’s here is here, unless you are waiting for large asteroid bombardments.

Reply to  MarkW
March 21, 2021 11:55 am

I posted we may be, I like yourself am not totally convince that we are.

There is nothing wrong with being efficient in our use of energy.

Giordano Milton
March 20, 2021 2:24 pm

From what I’ve gleaned, the greens would dearly love to see about 90% of the humans on Earth die out. Of course they exempt themselves, but if they wanted to set an example, I’d be willing to witness their selflessness.

willem post
March 20, 2021 2:52 pm


Pro-logging interests use “Burning Wood is Renewable” as a slogan, a mantra, to assure others all is benign, because it helps save the world, fight global warming, are part of the “solution”, and thus deserves to get money via the Global Warming Solutions Act.

Sources of CO2 of Logging Sector

All of us need to be on the same page regarding the A-to-Z sources of CO2. Here is a list.

1) Before logging, the logging sector has to be set up, operated, maintained and renewed, which emits CO2
2) A wood-burning plant has to be built, which emits CO2
3) The logging process includes maintaining the woodlot, culling, harvesting, chipping, and transport to user, which emits CO2
4) Operating the plant requires electricity, diesel fuel etc., which emits CO2
5) The combustion process emits CO2; in fact, emits more lb/million Btu than coal; coal power plants are up to 44% efficient, New England wood-burning plants about 25% 
6) The combustion process emits sub-micron particulates, which requires electricity for air pollution control systems, which emits CO2
7) Delivering the heat and electricity to users requires electricity, which emits CO2.
8) Heavy cutting and clearcutting releases belowground biomass decay CO2; belowground is about 20% of all biomass.
9) Dismantling the old wood-burning plant and replacing it with a new one.

Combustion CO2, about 56% + Decay CO2, about 14%, equals about 70% of A-to-Z CO2.
It has the possibility of being partially renewable.
All other items are like all other CO2, i.e., not renewable.
They are almost never mentioned by logging proponents. See table 1

Here is an explanation regarding Item 8

Most people are familiar with the logging industry claim it harvests low value trees for burning, i.e., misshapen, diseased trees, standing deadwood, etc., called net available low grade, NALG, whereas, in fact, that is often not true, based on satellite and drone photos of clearcutting on harvested areas.

Wood-Burning is NOT Renewable by a Long Shot

The logging industry claim is “wood burning is renewable” and therefore its combustionCO2 should not be counted (the EPA and IPCC are proponents of this fallacy), whereas, in fact, wood-burning is not renewable at all by a long shot.

I have written extensively on the CO2 released just after clearcutting.
This article has 5 examples of CO2 released, due to clearcutting

In northern climates, it takes about 35 years for the CO2 to get back to neutral
The initial CO2 release, due to belowground biomass decay, is very high, and the decay is on-going for about 80 to 100 years. 
The released CO2 far exceeds any CO2 absorbed by the regrowth on the HARVESTED AREA. That negative condition continues for about 17 years.
But to offset that negative condition, and get back to neutral, regrowth on the HARVESTED AREA needs to take place for another 17 to 18 years

The decay CO2 is entirely independent from 1) combustion CO2, and 2) CO2 other than combustion. See above list and table 1.

– Combustion CO2 of year 1 would have to wait for 35 years to start being absorbed by regrowth on the HARVESTED AREA, which takes about 80 – 100 years.

– Harvesting and other CO2, due to: 1) logging, 2) chipping, 3) transport, 4) in-plant processing, and 5) plant operations other than combustion, etc., is like all other CO2.

The Real World

However, in the real world, loggers would come along, see 40 to 45-y-old trees on the HARVESTED AREA, and cut them down; veni, vidi, vici; i.e., the combustion CO2 absorption process, in effect for about 10 years, is CUT SHORT.

The logging industry continues to claim, without blushing: “Burning wood is renewable”.

willem post
March 20, 2021 2:57 pm

Clearcutting and the CO2 Absorption Cycle

Combustion CO2 is absorbed, under New England conditions, in about 80 to 100 years, in about 115 to 135 years, if the 35-y C-neutrality period is included; Year 1 is the combustion year. See URL for C-neutrality explanation.

When a woodlot is logged, some belowground biomass is killed (clear cutting kills all of it), because it is no longer needed by the trees that were cut. It decays and emits CO2. 
The decay process, start to completion, under NE conditions, takes about 80 to 100 years. 
While the decay takes place, any new tree growth on OUR harvested areas would offset more and more of the decay CO2, until the new tree growth has completely offset the decay CO2, which, under NE conditions, takes about 35 years.  
After the C-neutrality period, the combustion CO2 of Year 1 (and ongoing decay CO2) would start to be absorbed by the new tree growth on OUR harvested areas.

The Interrupted CO2 Absorption Cycle.

The new trees on OUR harvested areas most likely would be cut well before they have had a chance to absorb all the combustion CO2 of Year 1 (and ongoing decay CO2), because, in the real world, a logger would come along, would see the 40 to 45-year-old trees, and would harvest them (veni, vidi, vici); those trees had barely started to absorb OUR combustion CO2!!

There ends the fantasy of “burning wood is renewable”, because there is no spare forest for “our remaining combustion CO2 (and ongoing decay CO2)”. Other forests already are busy absorbing CO2. 

OUR combustion CO2 has to be absorbed on OUR harvested areas to be called renewable.

The OTHER CO2 not related to combustion, is similar to any other CO2, for accounting purposes.

The atmosphere, the oceans, and other CO2 sinks would absorb a part of “our remaining combustion CO2” (and ongoing decay CO2)”, as well “our OTHER CO2”. That absorption would not be by OUR harvested area, and thus not be “renewable”.

Particulates from Wood Burning

The wood burning sector is major cause of combustion CO2 and other CO2 in NE, plus sub-micron particulates.
Gas, hydro and nuclear have nearly none of such particulates.

Gerald Machnee
March 20, 2021 3:04 pm

Yes, Michael Moore exposed the Greens on the “biomass” and they wanted his truthful film banned.

Abolition Man
March 20, 2021 4:21 pm

Burning biomass only makes sense on a limited, local basis; shipping any great distance adds costs to make it noncompetitive! Why not use a combination of biomass and non-recyclable waste for small scale electrical production? Virginia currently produces 4% of their electricity from burning timber and lumber waste products; Vermont has reached 5%!
Maybe if the overgrown and diseased forests of Commifornia were wisely managed they could avoid some the rolling blackouts from unreliable, intermittent energy sources like wind and solar! They might also prevent the same forests from becoming the kindling for large, raging fires that burn down numerous structures; often with people still inside as in Paradise!

March 20, 2021 6:24 pm

Gotta destroy the economy to save the planet .
Mindless thinking yet being lapped up so many .
Politicians and elites will be fine with their personal wealth intact .
But when they run out of servants they will be crying .

March 20, 2021 7:34 pm
Paul Lafreniere
March 20, 2021 10:59 pm

Sorry Griff, to crash the party but renewables will never power modern civilization, except in your dreams. It is only a diversion for the masses pushed by zealots unable to comprehend simple principles of physics and Thermodynamics. Does EROI ring a bell? Ask yourself how the laws of physics played out for the 57 dead Texans who froze to death while a modern grid crashed all around them. Renewable energy does nothing for grid reliability and nature never forgives. So why waste billions building out RE heavy grids when you need to pay for a 100% back-up? After 50 years of sustained subsidies totaling in the trillions, new renewables (bio fuels in large part) have achieved only 5% of world Primary energy. To make matters worse, implementation is limited to rich countries while poor countries carry the can for the aggressive resource exploitation and pollution of rare earths, heavy metals, Lithium, etc. Even the left know the Renewable Energy con is running our of gas (bio-gas). Just ask Michael Moore. It seems we conveniently forget the tainted history of 19th century imperialism and its rampant resource and spiritual exploitation. Similarly Green Imperialism scars the face of this earth, monopolizes land use to the detriment of wildlife, and enslaves many of its peoples to a survival existence. Native peoples around the world see the menace for what it is and are rising up to resist the shuksters. Rich city dwellers may be oblivious to this reality but future generations of these peoples will judge you harshly for holding them down, ravaging their lands and not allowing them to flourish. All lives matter and all peoples must be left free to use the energy options of their choice, so we leave no one behind. This blind hatred of nuclear, is sad if it was not so funny listening to the incongruent assertions. I have witnessed how native peoples in many lands have come out of poverty to prosper in a clean energy world with nuclear power. Critics just do not get it but the village lady in India, had gratitude in her eyes when she thanked me for a nuclear plant built decades ago. People want mature discussion of the trade-offs not articles of faith. As for pros and cons, the attached link will provide a soft intro:

Vincent Causey
March 21, 2021 1:38 am

We’re in the process of destroying the planet – all in the name of supposedly saving the planet. This is some serious cognitive dissonance. It seems that the collective intelligence of society is inversely proportional to its size. That is, an individual, or small team possesses the highest effective intelligence, whereas an entire population with all it’s institutions, media, chattering classes,propaganda and bureaucracy etc has the lowest effective intelligence. This is not a joke though, but extremely dangerous.

March 21, 2021 12:35 pm

It’s interesting that biomass is considered carbon neutral because the CO2 released will be reabsorbed by plants and help them grow. But somehow the C02 from coal will not be consumed by plants so it’s not carbon neutral.

I didn’t know plants were so picky about where their CO2 comes from…

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