Friday, June 26, 2009

Improve the environment: burn a tree

Prominent liberal intellectual Jared Diamond has written books about civilizations that have been ruined by deforestation.  Environmentalists, however, are now encouraging power companies, as a solution to "global warming," to switch to burning trees:
Power companies are burning more trees because the renewable fuel can be cheaper than coal and ignited without needing permits to release carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas blamed for global warming.

Vattenfall AB of Sweden, Germany's RWE AG and American Electric Power Inc. of Ohio, the biggest coal-burner in the U.S., have switched a few plants over to wood and more are planned. ....

"Wood is a huge part of the solution to making a move away from fossil fuel and softening the blow of the transition to clean energy," Bracken Hendricks, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and energy adviser to President Barack Obama, said in an interview. ....

While forests blanket about a third of the planet's land surface, they're being harvested or burned at a rate that reduces tree cover by a Greece-sized area each year, sparking concern about whether replanting efforts will keep pace.

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