In the case of a major consolidation bill, which is still under discussion, the language will also provide funding for deforestation in states and private areas, as well as funding for forestry, timber production, and manufacturing cross beams (a type of pre-made timber they are used in the construction of houses) under the heading “new wood.”
In their letter, the scientists wrote that promoting more logging and wood-burning electricity “does not ignore the advice of many meteorologists who have told Congress that these industries are increasing greenhouse gases and exacerbating climate change.”
But not all scholars agree. Bob Abt has been researching the environment and economics of southern forests for more than 40 years, and is a retired professor of ecology at North Carolina State University. He argues that, economically and environmentally, the carbon footprint of pellets may be smaller than that of coal. Making this equation work – so much so that the amount of greenhouse gas emissions today is offset by the growth of future stocks – has a number of requirements. First, Abt says, timberland landowners need to harvest fast-growing trees, such as pine or hardwoods found in the South. The same would not work well in the forests of New England or the Pacific Northwest, which take a long time to recover.
The second step is to ensure that landowners who sell firewood to pellet companies continue to maintain their landscaped forest. Abt says that as the demand for firewood increases, wood prices will increase. That would encourage carpenters to keep their trees from ripening to maturity, instead of turning the land into a place for grazing or winter crops, or for sale to builders. A A 2017 study by researchers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory found that the proliferation of house and store tracts could also destroy forests. The report states: “Urban sprawl — one of the major deforestation areas in the southeastern United States, is likely to develop into a jungle if the forest owners do not have sufficient access to timber.
If the place where the wood for the wood is later harvested is converted into other works, then any air that is released today by burning the electric pellets will not be taken up by those trees in the future. This means that the timber industry’s claims of non-political neutrality may depend on the value of timber owners in North Carolina, Georgia, or Mississippi – something that is difficult to predict decades in advance.
Abt says using the forest to become a force may not be perfect, but it is the right step. He says all the solutions to the climate crisis should be on the table. “For the wood of the south,” he says, “I am free to say that it is better than coal in general.”
In places like the United Kingdom, where there is no domestic gas, there has been a significant risk of wood burning. Then, Drax from the UK converted the North Yorkshire island’s coal-fired power plant into a fire station in 2013. It now generates enough electricity in 4 million homes, with wooden planks from the US. Drax currently uses 13 pellet plants in the US and Canada, and is building three more in Arkansas, according to Ali Lewis, head of media and public relations at Drax.