“Europe burns a controversial ‘renewable’ energy source: trees from the US” – TTG

As world leaders pledge more action on climate change, one so-called solution, burning trees for electricity, could undermine progress.

A Virginia wood lot

By Robert Kunzig, ENVIRONMENT Executive Editor [National Geographic]

The map my colleague Katie Armstrong made (see below) shouldn’t have surprised me. I knew trees in North Carolina and elsewhere were being cut down to be burned in European power plants. But I didn’t fully appreciate until I saw Armstrong’s map that it was happening all over the Southeast – that there are at least 20 mills from Virginia to Texas chopping wood into tiny pellets, and that millions of tons of the stuff are already being shipped each year from at least 10 different ports in the region. It’s as if a giant funnel were draining Southeastern woods into European furnaces, one cigarette filter-sized pellet at a time – all in the name of fighting climate change. And it’s all based on a fundamental error, many scientists say.

When the European Union set up its pioneering carbon emissions trading scheme in 2005, it defined wood as a zero-emissions fuel, Sarah Gibbens reports. At first, that seemed to make sense: If a new tree grows to replace the one that was burned, it will absorb carbon from the air to offset the emissions from the burning. “The whole wood pellet industry is basically being driven by this,” Princeton researcher Tim Searchinger told Gibbens. Coal-fired power plants in the U.K. and elsewhere have been switching to wood pellets, thereby reducing their emissions fees – but not their actual emissions. 

The problem, Searchinger and many other scientists say, is that while trees do indeed absorb carbon, they do so only in the long run – they take decades longer to grow than they do to burn. But in the long run the glaciers will have melted; we don’t have decades to wait to cut emissions. And right now, most evidence suggests, burning whole trees puts more carbon in the air than coal, because wood is less efficient. (Pictured at top, young pines in Virginia; below left, the pellets; below right, logs at a North Carolina pellet factory.)

At the COP26 environmental summit that ended last weekend in Glasgow, more than 130 countries signed a pledge to end deforestation by 2030. But the issue of burning trees for energy wasn’t on the agenda. 

Note: This is an excerpt from a National Geographic email newsletter that I receive daily. A more in depth article is on the National Geographic site. That article also explores the arguments for wood pellets as a replacement for coal. 


Comment: Do these clowns truly believe burning wood pellets is environmentally friendly and carbon neutral? It’s more likely they know full well they’re full of crap and are avoiding hard reality and hard decisions while appearing all Greta Thunberg to each other, the press and their publics. Surely they realize burning wood pellets in these former coal fired power plants emits more greenhouse gas emissions than coal at the smokestack. It’s worse than all the doublespeak about clean coal. It’s regulatory sleight of hand, pure and simple.

Now I love a wood fire on a chilly night in the forest or a crackling fireplace on a cold winter’s night. Hell, even a glowing soft coal fire in an East Anglian pub on a rainy evening can keep me content and mesmerized. But I’m under no illusion that these cozy fires are good for the environment. I know burning wood, especially in an open campfire, emits smoke, ash and greenhouse gases. I’m still going to enjoy a campfire from time to time. My youngest brother heats his White Mountains house with a catalytic wood furnace powered hot water system. Of course, he cleared his land, milled his lumber and built that post and beam house out in the boondocks. No one is delivering fuel oil out there and I doubt solar is going to cut it through a cold, dark White Mountain winter. Maybe if he had a good stream through his property he could go hydroelectric, but he doesn’t have that stream. And if he did and it froze solid, he’d really be SOL.

As the article states, the transition from coal to wood pellets in European power plants was not addressed at COP26. Coal producers argued for coal. Oil producers argued for oil. Nuclear power was largely ignored much to the chagrin of mostly eastern European countries. India, a country still dependent on coal, called for a greater emphasis on nuclear power’s role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Referring to the draft COP26 report, India argues that “almost all the chapters contain a bias against nuclear energy”. India argues it is an “established technology” with “good political backing except in a few countries”. The Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia also criticized the report’s bias against nuclear power. They argue it can play a positive role in delivering most of the UN’s development agenda. A few days ago, I saw Macron announce France will soon start building its first new reactors in decades. Why we didn’t go to Glasgow and tout the promise of the new small modular reactors (SMRs) is beyond me. Sleepy Joe missed the boat on that one. He could have made a call for more nuclear power over fossil fuels and gotten strong support from India, France and many eastern European countries along with Russia and China. Those last two are already going forward with SMRs. What a blown opportunity.

Greta is right. The politicians at COP26 are all blah, blah, blah.    


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52 Responses to “Europe burns a controversial ‘renewable’ energy source: trees from the US” – TTG

  1. James says:

    It’s just nuts that COP26 did not embrace nuclear power. 🙁

    • different clue says:

      James Hansen the NASA atmospheric scientist ( now retired) wrote a book called Storms of My Grandchildren. I skim-read the book. About halfway into the book he devoted two or so pages to nuclear power. He began by saying he is not a nuclear scientist but just another layman informing himself the best he can.

      He wrote about an experimental nuclear fuel plant tested at Argonne National Laboratory and maybe elsewhere. I forget its technical name, but one could think of it as the Full Fast Breeder-Eater Reactor. The Uranium fuel was worked up into pellets. As the U235 fissioned, some of its neutrons hit neighboring nucleii and made them fission-worthy. As they fissioned, they did the same to other neighboring nucleii. This process eventually fissionable-ized and fissioned almost every possible nucleus down to where only 3 percent of possible nuclear fuel of all elements remained, and the remainder was all low-level nuclear waste, not high-level nuclear waste, yielding power-useful heat all the way down. The final waste was mild enough that it could be baked into glassy pellets ( “vitrified”) and safely stored away.

      The so-called ” Fast Breeder Reactor” on which most establishment hopes were focused was really just a cover for producing plutonium for extraction from the “spent” fuel rods ( “reprocessing”) for use in bombs. When governments decided they were not going to make that many more bombs, and that the worldwide rollout of Fast Breeder Reactors would mean the worldwide rollout of undercover plutonium production for worldwide undercover bomb production, the incumbent-at-the-time Fast Breeder Reactor governments decided to abandon and ban the concept. Hansen felt this was really the Half-Fast Breeder Reactor.

      Hansen wants to see the Full Fast Breeder Reactor revived and massively rolled out all over the world in order to keep producing all the electricity coal currently produces so that we can shut down thermal coal power plants as we ramp up Full Fast Breeder Reactor power plants.

      Several other serious carbon sky-cleaning advocates also want to see nuclear power ramped up as fast as we ramp coal down.

  2. BillWade says:

    Wood pellet furnaces are also used in the USA and are touted as environmentally safe. But, for some reason, TPTB want to ban wood stoves. I’ve lived in New Hampshire and you most certainly want a wood stove when the power goes out, and it does go out, often for days at a time.

    • TTG says:

      Judging by the amount of pellets sold in my local Lowes and Home Depot, there seems to be plenty of those pellet stoves in use here 50 miles south of DC. This is the kind of system my brother uses. Not sure if this is the exact manufacturer. I see it qualifies for a hefty energy efficiency tax credit.


      When I was young, our neighbor heated up the old farmhouse with a gravity furnace fuels with wood they harvested themselves. The only moving parts were the furnace door and the vent grates. It wasn’t efficient, but it never broke down.

      • English Outsider says:

        TTG – if the wood’s bone dry, and burned in an efficient closed stove, it’s amazing how much heat for how little smoke. I’ve taken to storing outside for a year or so but then further drying in the oven overnight just before burning.

        It’s a matter of judgement – the wood can catch fire in the oven. The oven must therefore be vented. I did meet a woman who simply stacked the wood on top of her woodstove. Looks untidy and the smell of drying wood is not pleasant. That’s also why an oven vented to the chimney is needed.

        She took it too far. Lived alone miles from anywhere, there was a fire one night and she burned to death.

        All that’s with hardwood. I wouldn’t care to try it with pine etc. But the wood does then burn remarkably clean.

        Drax is a fake and a scandal:-


        As to a large degree is carbon offsetting. So much fakery around the whole subject. So much fakery around period, I suppose.

        On a more cheerful note, that little Granfors Bruks is a delight. I was impressed when I first got it but then laid it aside for a while. It didn’t seem as quick and comfortable as my normal tools. But tried it again, got used to the heft of it, and it pretty well does the work by itself now. Suits me. There’s more interesting things to think about when cutting wood than cutting wood.

        • TTG says:

          Yes, well seasoned hardwood is a joy. I’m glad you’re still in love with that Granfors Bruks. A well sharpened Gransfors Bruks is another joy of life. I’ve been enjoying my hatchets over the last few months, although neither of them are Gransfors Bruks. I’m looking forward to using one to reshingle my gazebo in a year or two.

          • English Outsider says:

            I use a fine stone and, as you recommended a while back, pay particular attention to maintaining the profile. SHMBO allows it to be stored in the house, which is a signal honour I think it appreciates. As with the larger axes I find the trick for accuracy is not to give a damn. Once one starts to worry about hitting the exact spot one doesn’t.

            Whether that would work with the more advanced work you’re doing …

            But for quantity I stack everything, spray and all, between two lines of posts and salami slice it with the chainsaw. There’s use in even the tips of the branches and I’m too mean to waste it.

            There’ll be a lot of that work in the coming winter. They’re very slack with plant diseases in the UK and some imported disease is playing hell with my ash.

        • Bp says:

          Presumably the wood pellets are floated across the atlantic via the gulf stream to be picked up somewhere near the Isle of Man in the irish sea – thus minimising any additional contribution to the climate problem over their transport….

        • Fred says:


          That’s not fakery, that’s just opportunism, like Solyndra and a raft of current EV companies. There are billions to be made with manipulating energy markets. Kenny Boy Lay and Enron just pushed it too far, too soon.

  3. Deap says:

    If burning underground fossilized vegetation is environmentally bad; how does burning aboveground timber vegetation become magically good?

    • TTG says:

      Tis a puzzlement. Is it not?

    • different clue says:

      If the underground fossilized vegetation in question was built up over a million years, that represents a million years of plants patiently sucking down the skycarbon and fixing it into wetland peat ( which is the first stage towards coal) at the same time as volcanoes were patiently dumping new skycarbon into the air. If we dig it up and burn it over a year, we have just reflooded the sky in one year with the carbon nature spent a million years taking down out of the sky.
      That is too much of a good thing in one place at one time.

      Whereas, if we kill a tree and burn the wood, the tree is putting back into the same air the carbon it took out of the air to grow with. If we only burn as much wood per year as we are growing back per year, then the carbon up equals the carbon down, and we don’t generate any net carbon skyflooding that way.

      But this EUropean approach sounds like woodmining. And if whole zones of trees are clearcut to harvest the wood for pellets, it sound like wood stripmining. And it sounds like releasing more carbon faster than we are re-catching with growing more trees.

      Ideally, biomass burning should balance carbon up with carbon down, release and catch, release and catch, round and round, within the carbon cycle.

      • Deap says:

        Clue: Do equal amounts of natural timber and fossilized plant matter produce equal amounts of energy? Or does one need to burn a lot more natural trees to compare to a much smaller amount of fossiled and compacted coal/etc to get the same energy output?

        Second question: what do now we put into bad little kids Christmas stocking if we ban coal to get the same effect. A male ginkgo tree?

        • different clue says:

          Ginkgo fruit from the female ginkgo tree.

        • different clue says:

          I am not a scientist. I am just an amateur science buff doing the best I can. I strongly think that fully fossilized coal will be a lot more energy-dense than fresh-killed wood either pound for pound or cubic foot for cubic foot. If we burned so little coal that living systems could suck down the newly released fossil carbon as fast as burning coal released it, we wouldn’t have a skycarbon buildup problem. But I don’t think we could possibly burn that little coal and have the civilization we have. ( Interestingly enough, as a semi-addendum, there is a kind of wood which is supposed to have as much heating power pound-for-pound as the cheapest grades of soft coal. And that wood is called Osage Orange.
          That species is first-and-most featured in an article called Top 10 Fuel Trees for Zone 5 and Above (( your best firewood choices)). Here is the link.)


          That’s why some “serious greens” have decided we have to roll out semi-green semi-clean nuclear power as fast as we can, because its problems are time-delayed long enough that we can buy time to solve them, whereas the carbon skyflooding problem is a wolf howling at the door right now, in my purely amateur science buff opinion.

          • Deap says:

            Law of unintended consequences might come into play. Perhaps “greens” will find nuclear power to be cleaner and less threatening than their current narrative imposes.

            Glad there is a shift in “liberal” thinking so we can all learn what clean energy potential resides in our natural, gift of nature uranium rocks, that are now just lying around being rather useless.

            I wonder how many from back in the 1950s’ are still sitting on deeds to land in Arizona which were allegedly full of potential uranium mines. Or how many acres got inherited by their descendants today.

            I recall a real Southwest land rush back in the 1950s – along with raising chinchillas for fur coats in one’s attics, basements and spare bedrooms. Or taking over the Victory Garden chicken coops.

  4. Joe100 says:

    This insanity goes back 10-15 years when EU countries decided that using wood fuel or other “biofuels like palm oil (mostly in power stations) had zero (net) carbon emissions – for formal carbon emissions reporting requirements. This led to many really bad outcomes like very large scale draining wet peatlands in SE Asia so palm forests could be planted to provide palm oil fuel for EU countries. One year there was
    extensive burning of recently drained wet peatlands and these fires alone emitted something like 35% of that year’s global human related carbon emissions.

    Another example I remember is clear cutting of stunted forests north of St Johns Newfoundland for export to the UK for use in coal units converted to wood biomass fuel. While the political rational for this kind of crazy behavior has been that “trees eventually grow back removing a similar amount of carbon from the atmosphere”. While for a variety of reasons this rationale fails pretty much everywhere – in then Newfoundland case these forest are so stunted and on such barren sites that no future tree growth is anticipated after the clearcuts.

  5. walrus says:


    I live in the world’s bushfire epicentre. Our forests burn regularly – the eucalyptus needs fire to both reproduce and destroy competing vegetation. This process is impossible to stop. But what do green idiots want to do? Ban wood fires for heating. Ban forestry and timber production. Ban collecting firewood. Close and destroy access roads and trails. Ban cattle grazing. Ban everyone from forest and high country areas except green hikers. …….and then they scream blue murder when it all starts burning!!

    We burn maybe ten tons of wood each winter – all of it fallen on our own property. If I didn’t burn it in our stove, I would have to burn it in piles anyway because it’s a fire hazard, but that fact still doesn’t get through the greens thick skulls.

    Furthermore, I can stand by my front gate and see many millions of grey dead trees in the mountains that were killed by the last mega bushfire – which was a direct result of the greens objecting to the traditional regular burnings that the local aboriginals had conducted for the last ten thousand years.

    • TTG says:


      Dead, diseased and infested trees are perfect for pellet production. Can’t do anything else with them. Burning wood for heating and cooking is not going away, especially where nothing else is available except dried animal dung. Simple, more efficient stoves would be better for all. Burning wood as in forest fires and forest management will also be with us. As you said, it’s a necessary part of forest management. But living under the charade that burning wood pellets rather than coal in power plants is carbon neutral is just flat stupid.

    • different clue says:

      The green idiots you reference here could be called ” green and woke” or “woke about being green”. I would suggest a new word for them . . . ” groke” for “green + woke”.
      “Groke” = “greenwoke” = green idiot.

      I think we could think of a gamut of greens, ranging at the brilliantly intelligent greens at one end ( the green geniuses) to the green-wokeness green idiots (“grokes”) at the other.

      Brilliantly intelligent greens? Jean Pain of France invented decades ago a way to use brush-clearance thinnings to build heat-harvest compost piles to supply a rural house’s every need for heat while keeping brushland maintained, forest maintained, etc. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Pain John Todd of the New Alchemy Institute invented ways to grow huge amounts of food in small spaces using zero outside energy inputs. He later went on to invent bio-reactor-landscape methods to treat sewage down to zero sewage which were so effective that his fellow greens condemned him for inventing an “evil technology which would give new life and new permission to suburban sprawl”.
      green . . . genius . . . “Greenius”!

      I think greens run the gamut from green genius (“greenius”) at one end to green woke ( “groke”) at the other. There are a thousand grokes for every greenius, and every time the grokes discover a greenius in their midst, they try to suppress all knowledge of that greenius’s existence. How many people have ever heard of John Todd or Jean Pain?

      By the way, if misery loves company, you may find yourself cheered by the prospect of Western North America joining Australia as a world epicenter of forest fires.

      • Deap says:

        Our California “climate change” forest fires are mainly caused by crazy people – one lady was lighting bear urine for some shamanic ritual and another was a college prof who set off about five fires.

        Recent large one locally started coincidentally very near a cookout spot during a Ladies of BBQ Weekend at a local very high end resort, but the claim is it was started by delayed lightening smoldering in a tree from a week or so prior to the cook-out event.

        Poor forest management has not helped, but crazy people are more often the real trigger for our “climate change” pyromania.

  6. Fred says:

    Thank goodness all those private jets and bloviating millionaires didn’t contribute anything negstive to the “We need more regulations and giant subsidies” meeting. I notice China blew it off and is continuing with building coal plants to provide low cost electricity to its people and are just as worried about any of their islands sinking beneath the rising oceans as Barack is about his Martha’s Vineyard mansion.

    Did anyone suggest unplugging all the cell phone chargers daily to cut the electrical waste as recommended by Al Gore’s “Inconvenient Truth”? Better including all the electric car chargers too. Did anyone notice which of Al’s dire warnings have come to pass? Just kidding; like the new ice age the experts proclaimed was coming back in the 70s, none of them have.

    • TTG says:

      Tru dat on those private jets. They could have done this with Zoom and other remote meeting software. It would have have easy to connect a series of local meetings and saved the expense and greenhouse gases of flying everyone to Glasgow. This just made them look more phony than they already are.

      China is also building nuclear power plants, including the world’s first commercial SMR on Hainan. They plan on constructing 150 reactors over the next 15 years costing 440 billion dollars.

      It was only a small number of climate scientists predicting a new ice age. That prediction assumed a fourfold increase in manmade aerosols in the future. Instead, worldwide efforts, like the Clean Air Act, dramatically reduced aerosols. Most scientists were predicting rising temperatures based on increased CO2 emissions. That prediction was borne out. Now if we have a series of massive volcano eruptions or meteor strikes, we could be in for another ice age.

      • Fred says:


        How did that last ice age end, neanderthal industrial output?

        • TTG says:

          The most plausible theory now is that increased release of CO2 into the atmosphere from the southern oceans triggered the retreat of the last ice sheets. I have no idea what triggered the oceans to release their CO2. However, the CO2 release could very well have been triggered by the warming of the northern polar region due to changing Earth tilt, the Milankovitch cycles.

          • Deap says:

            Tilts, wobbles, spins, even dislocation of orbital spin due to loss or increase of ice cap weight. There are a zillion confounding factors for “climate change”. Human gullibility about the nature, impact and causation of “climate change” being only one of them.

          • Fred says:


            But it is ‘settled science’ that man made CO2 emissions are causing a warming trend that will exterminate life on earth. Which can be controled, unlike Covid, by regulatory action of our politicians.

          • TTG says:

            Deap and Fred,
            The Milankovitch cycles work in terms of 100 thousands of years. For the last 10,000 years we should have been moving into another ice age. So that’s not causing the recent warming. The different element is the increase in atmospheric CO2 since the industrial age. It’s disrupting what the Milankovitch cycles would normally do.

          • Fred says:


            What you are saying is that the sole cause of the planet’s fractcionary temperature rise (based solely off calculations using incomplete data that goes back for less than a century, and which requires unidirectional adjustment the further back and less complete the temperature data is) is CO2. And only the kind made by industrial output. And, most importantly, that is the only thing that has prevented a new ice age. That sure sounds like an answer that can’t be questioned and for which all industrial nations must change policy. On a bright note once we’re done that ice age can start, right?

          • TTG says:

            An increase in atmospheric CO2 is not the sole cause of the recent warming. Many things affect climate, like changes in the Earth’s tilt or fluctuations in the amount of energy we receive from the Sun. Those things work on geologic time scales and they, in turn, cause changes in atmospheric CO2 along with major air and ocean currents. The current warming is different. It can be traced to around 1850 when we started burning fossil fuels like gangbusters. This time CO2 is a trigger rather than a natural cyclic reaction. Melting ice and increased CO2 affects the salinity and acidity of the oceans. That affects the major currents. If the oceans start off-gassing the dissolved CO2, we’re really SOL. It’s all one big feedback loop and I doubt any climate scientist worth his salt knows for certain how everything eventually will work out. As I said in some other comment, we could have massive volcanic eruptions and/or meteor strikes and be quickly plunged into global winter… or not depending on what the volcanoes spit up.

          • Fred says:


            So the real “solution” is to reverse the industrial revolution! Us first, of course. We wouldn’t want to inconvenience the people of the Middle Kingdom. Or the Davos crowd.

          • TTG says:

            Fred, how about pushing the industrial revolution beyond an absolute dependence on burning fossil fuels. If we as a species can’t riddle that out, perhaps we should just go extinct and let a more worthy species have a go at it.

          • Fred says:

            “If we as a species…”

            The Davos crowd and the leaders of the Middle Kingdom are happy to see us destroy our civilization in the pursuit of the ‘goals’ of scientism’s religous fanatics who spout slogans and provide answers that can’t be questioned.

          • Deap says:

            Fire and Ice
            BY ROBERT FROST

            Some say the world will end in fire,
            Some say in ice.
            From what I’ve tasted of desire
            I hold with those who favor fire.

            But if it had to perish twice,
            I think I know enough of hate
            To say that for destruction ice
            Is also great
            And would suffice.

        • Datil D says:

          Neanderthals burning wood pellets fits with the article. How about the ice ages before the last one? Common sense would seem like a cyclical pattern probably based on the output of the sun plus volcanic winters and other natural events. The scientists go back an forth working on CO2. A few years back a NASA study concluded CO2 cooled the earth.
          In the spring when the farm land is turned enormous amounts of CO2 is released into the atmosphere, then the crops grow and stick it back into the ground.

      • Deap says:

        Just watched Peter Navarro’s 2012 documentary Death by China – outlining predictions expected where China would be 3-5 year hence. Excellent presentation.

        99% of the 2012 predictions about Chian came true, having the luxury to watch this 9 years later in 2021. Only key missing factor is the failure to support Trump by many featured who were issuing the warnings. Trump was on top of all of alarms.

        Even though many of these players in the documentary knew the right answers, they still rejected the right person to power their solutions through. They kept waiting for a Democrat to do this for them.

        And then of all things put their money on the most duplicitous China traitor of all – Biden. Who lost China – the rallying cry of the 1950’s is now Who sold out to China – and most of them in this film had (D)’s by their names.

        How flat out wrong they were – Bill Clinton and the China’s entry WTO. According to Peter Navarro. How right Trump’s approach to China proved to be, and Trump was not even on the horizon back when this film was made. Obviously Navarro and Trump eventually became kindred spirits.

        An update on this 2012 documentary would be valuable: US vis a vis China – 2012-2020 – and another sequel – 2020-2024.

        • different clue says:

          The International Free Trade Conspiracy has spent the decades ever since Clinton dismantling American industry, packing it into crates, shipping the crates to China, unpacking it all, and rebuilding it in China.

          It would take us as many decades to restore our industrial ecosystem as it took the IFTC ( International Free Trade Conspiracy) to destroy it. And we can’t even begin to do that unless America totally and completely defects from the International Free Trade System and runs off the Corporate Globalonial Plantation. Only behind a big beautiful wall of militant belligerent Protection can we hope to regrow an industrial ecosystem within the resource and pollution constraints now existing.

          Part of the barest merest American survival will involve establishing zero economic contact between America and China of any sort whatsoever.

  7. Pat Lang says:

    When I lived in York County, Maine as a kid, it was in a forest two or three times logged over, first for first growth, then for pulp. There was a lot of tops (slash), stumps but also a lot of game, bear, deer, lynx, rabbits, moose. I would have preferred the forest primeval with Hiawatha as a pal or better yet with his girlfriend, ah, wait I may have known her. But it was what it was.

  8. kakaouskia says:


    Reading the comments I was reminded of something that used to be common winter practice around here: the burning of the remains of olives that have been through the olive oil extraction and refinement process.

    Locally this tis called “core wood” or simply “core” and apparently some governments in the region established quality standards; for example at maximum 1.5% ash will be produced after burning etc

    Since to this day there is no process capable of extracting 100% of the oil from olives, burning “core wood” is a bit easier and comes with its own aroma.

    It can be either almost powder or compacted into chunks like chipboard.


  9. Lesly says:

    COVID proved non-customer facing employees can get their job done from the comfort of their homes for a year.

    If businesses want to make a pledge for the environment they can let us keep working from home.

    But middle managers need to justify their salaries, businesses like to keep their tax breaks, and cities need asses in offices to keep restaurants open.

    Republicans should support WFH as a political strategy to defund cities and revitalize small communities. Maybe the environmental conservation angle is too “ick” for them these days.

  10. ISL says:

    Given the inflation in wood prices (even particle board), burning wood makes less than no sense.

    • TTG says:

      It’s very often waste wood that goes into the making of pellets.It’s like heating your workshop by burning the little scraps of wood left over from a building project.

      • ISL says:

        A little wikipedia research was informative. Apparently wood pellets mostly (but not entirely) arise from waste during lumber and other wood product manufacturing; however, virgin forests (softwood) apparently also are used. Wood pellet prices are rising because supply chain collapse and inflation in wood prices has slowed down manufacturing (and hence waste). Using scrap makes some sense (though it seems it could also be composted for agricultural fertilizer usage – use of virgin forests is (IMO) asinine.

        I recall the discussion as to what happens for large power plants that create a constant demand that if the industrial supply falters for some reason – leading to pulling in virgin forests irrespective of cost or logic – the system is non-market as costs are passed onto ratepayers – see Texas for how irrational and inefficient such markets can be.

        A wood stove that burns pellets or logs would give households flexibility.

        My wife’s grandmother in Italy used a pellet stove, which made far less smoke inside when cooking than their prior wood stove. Also heated better. But nonna didn’t like the way it cooked as well.

        Nuclear power is looking better every day. The boars and other wildlife around Chermobyl and Fukushima are doing better with radiation than when there was hunting.

    • Fred says:


      That depends on when you put the system in, when you stocked up on fuel, and what alternatives you have. Fuel oil, propane, and natural gas are up significantly too.

  11. Cieran says:

    If you burn wood in your wood stove, the warmth generated is due to the direct conversion to heat of the reduced carbon chemicals in the timber, and the process is quite efficient.

    If you burn wood pellets in a typical power plant, the same conversion results in wasting about two thirds of the heat energy available in the timber products. The wasted heat is lost to entropy because of the phase change of turning water into steam to power the generator turbines. From a thermodynamic standpoint, biomass is a terrible way to generate electricity, and it isn’t anything close to “green”.

    This is the fundamental problem of nearly all central-station electricity generation schemes, and their remote locations only makes the waste of energy worse due to transmission losses in moving electrical power to where it is used in cities.

    Only nuclear energy has the potential to generate sufficient heat to make central-station electricity generation capable of powering a carbon-neutral future. The technical problems of nuclear power are certainly not trivial to solve, but they are solvable if they are viewed as engineering constraints instead of as financial ones, e.g., cutting site costs by failing to assess risks accurately, as occurred in the case of Fukushima.

  12. Babeltuap says:

    The two most powerful world leaders meet on a Zoom call and discuss nothing people care about. One of them however did physically travel to a UN climate change meeting and fell asleep. The other guy didn’t even bother to show up


    Big things however start with small beginnings. I say we start with no more torches during the Olympics and absolutely put out JFK’s eternal flame.

    • Fred says:


      Ground all private jets. No civil service travel of any kind for climate conferences. No federal grant money for them either. A simple Executive Order ought to accomplish both.

  13. Deap says:

    Bill Gates just chose Wyoming as the site for his experimental nuclear reactors. Does this represent a change in the nuclear energy zeitgeist? Which groups will be the first to protest.

  14. Christian J. Chuba says:

    Older thread but I always thought this would be the best means of CO2 capture and sequestration, that is if you really believe climate change is a problem and not just a means to expand govt.

    You find, or genetically engineer, the fastest growing tree, let it grow to its optimal size, then bury it. Someone else compared this to coal formation which is a good analogy. By optimal size, I mean when a tree passes its fast growth stage and its wood becomes hardened. Not a botanist but I bet that trees, have stages in growth like everything else.

    Burn it for fuel? Never. That just releases the C02 again and wood is pretty dirty when it burns.

  15. Christian J. Chuba says:

    BTW when I say, ‘never burn wood for fuel’, I mean as part of a green energy plan.
    Not talking about banning camp fires or interfering with people who have wood burning stoves.

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