One of the reasons governments have been pushing biomass burning is the notion that it would displace fossil fuels and thereby reduce CO2 emissions. Biomass is renewable and displaces fossil fuels. But would it reduce CO2 emissions?
Fossil Fuels: Ancient Storage
In Batteries from the Carboniferous, I noted that fossil fuels are Nature’s ancient method of storing solar and photosynthetic energy in the ground. Inadvertently, fossil fuels have served as a multimillion year old storage battery, which sat in the ground because no species had learned to use it efficiently until human beings figured out how in recent centuries.
Because using it releases a number of pollutants, however, fossil fuels are a somewhat imperfect battery. These pollutants are: particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, various hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide (the latter two if combustion is less than 100% efficient).…