Congress Confirms Biomass Should Help Fight Climate Change

In a rare moment of bipartisan cooperation, the Senate just passed a far-ranging energy bill. Critics have quickly homed in on a unanimously adopted amendment recognizing the renewability and carbon benefits of biomass energy derived from wood and plant material. That designation puts biomass in the same category as wind, solar, and other renewables in […]

In a rare moment of bipartisan cooperation, the Senate just passed a far-ranging energy bill. Critics have quickly homed in on a unanimously adopted amendment recognizing the renewability and carbon benefits of biomass energy derived from wood and plant material. That designation puts biomass in the same category as wind, solar, and other renewables in the eyes of federal officials.

Critics claim lawmakers have gotten out in front of the science and that there’s not enough evidence to definitively prove biomass’s environmental benefits. They’re wrong. Science recognizes biomass is a well-established way to reduce greenhouse gas pollution. Supporting biomass energy provides one more important strategy for fighting global climate change.

The Senate should be applauded. And the final compromise legislation with the House should preserve these amendments.

Often derived from bark, sawdust, treetops, and low-quality wood unsuitable for home building or furniture, biomass can be used instead of  fossil fuels to produce heat and electricity, resulting in significantly fewer emissions than conventional energy sources. A recent peer reviewed study from the University of Illinois concluded that electricity derived from popular biomass products is 74 to 85 percent less carbon-intensive than coal-based electricity.

And that’s just one entry in a large and growing literature demonstrating that biomass helps reduce greenhouse emissions. Indeed, over a 100 of the country’s preeminent forestry experts recently signed a letter to federal regulators calling the carbon benefits of biomass “well established.”

From The Hill: http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/energy-environment/281734-congress-confirms-biomass-should-help-fight-climate

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