The documentary BURNED: Are Trees the New Coal? (2019) shows how the burning of wood at an industrial scale for energy accelerates the destruction of forests for fuel, and probes the policy loopholes, huge subsidies, and blatant greenwashing of the burgeoning biomass power industry.
Bioenergy is generally considered as carbon neutral and is therefore subsidized by Governments. An increasing number of scientists are starting to question the climate neutrality of biofuels and imply that carbon dioxide emissions even can be higher when biofuels are burned instead of fossil fuels.
“If you are interested in reducing emissions now, then burning something that puts more carbon into the air than the thing you are replacing, which is coal, does not make sense,” says Mary S. Booth, PhD, Director and Ecosystems Ecologist, Partnership for Policy Integrity, in the documentary.
Furthermore, Duncan Law from Biofuelwatch says that tax payers, through their power bills, pay for so called renewable technology which destroys forests, biodiversity and make climate change worse.
In the US South, forests are felled at a fast rate. Dogwood Alliance has documented the increased pressure that the biomass industry has put on the heavily logged landscape. Every year, thousands of hectares of Southern forests are cut down, turned into wood pellets, and shipped overseas to Europe to be burned.
Mary S. Booth continues:
“It is about what the atmosphere sees when you burn different kinds of fuel. There is just a fact that more carbon is coming out of the stack when you burn wood than when you burn coal. There is an assumption that some time in the future it will be offset. The industry says that it will never do anything to harm the climate, well, they do.”
Watch the trailer of the documentary “BURNED: Are Trees the New Coal?” here.