CNN: In 2009, the European Union (EU) pledged to curb greenhouse gas emissions, urging its member states to shift from fossil fuels to renewables. In its Renewable Energy Directive (RED), the EU classified biomass as a renewable energy source — on par with wind and solar power. As a result, the directive prompted state governments to incentivize energy providers to burn biomass instead of coal — and drove up demand for wood. So much so that the American South emerged as Europe’s primary source of biomass imports. Earlier this year, the EU was celebrated in headlines across the world when renewable energy surpassed the use of fossil fuels on the continent for the first time in history. But scientists and experts say it’s too early to celebrate, arguing that relying on biomass for energy has a punishing impact not only on the environment, but also on marginalized communities — perpetuating decades of environmental racism in predominantly Black communities like Northampton County, where Macklin and his family have lived for generations.
To say cutting down trees and burning them for power is a renewable energy source feels counterintuitive and, in reality, it is. Burning wood is less efficient than burning coal and releases far more carbon into the atmosphere, according to almost 800 scientists who wrote a 2018 letter to the European parliament, pushing members to amend the current directive “to avoid expansive harm to the world’s forests and the acceleration of climate change.” President Joe Biden and other world leaders received a similar letter from hundreds of climate scientists earlier this year.
Claim: We know cow farts (and, more importantly, burps) contribute to global warming, but they’re not the only things expelling greenhouse gases into the air. Trees killed by rising sea levels are also emitting carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide, according to a recent study, and these “tree farts” could be an overlooked source of emissions that will only worsen as sea levels continue to rise and wipe out woodlands.
Britain said it planned to treble tree planting rates over the next three years to help reach its target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050, as part of efforts to fight climate change..."We will make sure that the right trees are planted in the right places and that more green jobs are created in the forestry sector," Eustice is due to say, according to a government statement published on Sunday.
Bloomberg Green: "Two-thirds of America's total energy footprint is devoted to transportation fuels produced from agricultural crops, primarily corn grown for ethanol. It requires more land than all other power sources combined but provides just 5% of the nation's energy...The most land-intensive plan eliminates all fossil fuels and nuclear plants." ...
"Is there even enough open land to build 250 million acres of new wind farms? The short answer is yes, according to estimates from the U.S. Department of Agriculture." ... "If the U.S. wants a carbon-free economy by 2050 using the least amount of land, it will need to rely less on wind and solar and instead build hundreds of nuclear plants and natural gas plants outfitted with systems to capture carbon dioxide."
"By 2050, when Biden wants the entire economy to be carbon free, the U.S. will need up to four additional South Dakotas to develop enough clean power to run all the electric vehicles, factories and more." ... "No matter how you slice it, the U.S. will need to dedicate more land to producing power in an emissions-free future."
"To rewild our environment, we need to create the correct conditions. This can be done through actions like reintroducing species that have disappeared, allowing forests to regenerate and preventing the fragmentation of rivers."
Alexander C. R. Hammond: "Prosperity frees people to protect the environment. ... the lockdowns may cause massive environmental destruction in the long term. Simply put, people can afford to care about the environment only when they have enough income to cover their basic needs. If their survival depends on killing an endangered animal or cutting down a rare tree, then so be it." ...
"The Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC) hypothesis posits that environmental damage increases in tandem with economic growth, but only until a certain level of income is reached. Once people are wealthy enough not to have to worry about day-to-day survival, environmental degradation stops, and ecosystems begin to recover. The environmental scientist Jesse H. Ausubel, for example, suggests that once a nation achieves a GDP per capita of $6,200 (in 2021 dollars), deforestation stops or afforestation occurs."
"The lockdowns have already wreaked havoc on endangered species and protected habitats in the developing world. In Kenya, the killing of giraffes has skyrocketed. Given that a tonne of giraffe meat is worth about $1,000 (i.e., almost seven months of the average Kenyan salary), it is unsurprising that desperate locals have resorted to slaughtering the endangered animal. Kenya’s Mara Elephant Project also recorded that illegal logging in the region peaked in the months following the first lockdown. In Botswana, government workers had to evacuate dozens of critically endangered black rhinos from the Okavango Delta after six of the animals were found dead after the lockdowns were implemented."