The sustainability of extended energetic wood use in atmospheric burners is questioned because it accelerates global warming for decades and often intensifies local air pollution with serious health impacts. Forest developments in Denmark and Austria are compared, the latter including data on shifting CO2-balances. Interrelations between fossil-energy use and biomass use emerge in their complexity. Readjustment time regarding CO2 in the atmosphere after biomass combustion is considered as well as the uncertainty of the future climate regulation by forests. The fact of a physical overshoot of CO2 emissions from all kinds of biomass, when used to substitute fossil fuels, is established pointing towards an increasing CO2 debt from wood combustion. The burden of proof, at any rate, is with project proposals to document, how big a chance there might be for achieving the goal of CO2-neutrality within a time certain. It is rejected to promote energetic wood use by a priori credits of CO2-neutrality. CO2 emissions from wood combustion should be reported together with national statistics for the development of terrestrial ecosystems in order to further full carbon accounting. Serious health impacts from local pollution of wood smoke should trigger regulatory action. Non-energetic wood use is preferable, e.g. in the construction sector.
Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research, 2009
emissionsfaktorer; forest transition; træanvendelse; sundhedsrisici; global opvarmning; kulstofregnskaber; luftforurening; emission factors; wood use; health risks; global warming; carbon accounting; Air pollution