Over 500 Experts Demand to Stop Tree Burning to Slow Climate Change

Burning forests are a major contributor to carbon emissions. Apart from the wildfires, the burning of wood from forests to make energy and heat also acts as a factor in global heating. While many countries have turned to renewable energy sources, various developed regions such as the Southeast US, Western Canada, and Eastern Europe are witnessing escalating deforestation trends. Urging a stronger climate action, over 500 experts have signed a letter to demand to stop tree burning to slow climate change.

More than 500 scientists and economists beseeched world leaders to stop entertaining the practice of wood burning from forests to generate energy and heat and to end subsidies now driving the explosive demand for wood pellets. According to the experts, these actions are causing increased deforestation in various regions of the world.

Over 500 Experts Demand to Stop Tree Burning to Slow Climate Change

Over 500 experts have signed a letter to demand to stop tree burning to slow climate change | Image: Biofuelwatch

A group of over 500 international scientists and world-renowned climate experts implored world leaders to end policies that encourage the burning of trees for energy as it poses a double climate problem, which threatens the biodiversity of forests and efforts to stem the planet’s ecological emergency.

The letter was addressed to European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen, European Council President Charles Michel, U.S. President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in. The countersigned—including renowned botanist Dr. Peter Raven, president emeritus of the Missouri Botanical Garden—castoff the claim that burning biomass is carbon neutral.

Denoting the forest “preservation and restoration” as key in meeting the nations’ professed goals of carbon neutrality by 2050, the letter frames the cutting of trees for bioenergy as “misguided.”

We urge you not to undermine both climate goals and the world’s biodiversity by shifting from burning fossil fuels to burning trees to generate energy…Government subsidies for burning wood create a double climate problem because this false solution is replacing real carbon reductions. Companies are shifting fossil energy use to wood, which increases warming, as a substitute for shifting to solar and wind, which would truly decrease warming.

The letter states.

The signatories say that the destruction of forests, which are a carbon sink, creates a “carbon debt;” and though regrowth of trees and displacement of fossil fuels may eventually pay off this carbon debt, it could take a lot of time which the world does not has enough of to reverse climate change.

Evidently, simply making countries responsible for the emissions that stem from land-use changes is unsatisfactory, as it would no change the incentives created by national laws for power plants and factories to burn wood.

The letter was released after groups including WWF insisted the European Commission change the Renewable Energy Directive so that the law would not categorize the burning of trees and crops for energy, as carbon neutral, and thus not subsidize.

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