FALSE SOLUTION: Forests, Logging, Biomass, & Wood-Fired Power

FALSE SOLUTION: Forests, Logging, Biomass, & Wood-Fired Power

forwarded News Release: TreeHugger

US Forest Products Industry Nervous About Biomass-Fueled Generators :
TreeHugger

Wood-Fired Electricity; What’s Not To Like?

Create new incentives for a massive industry to compete for a primary
natural resource – trees in this case – and costs for existing
consumers of trees will go up, as will adverse environmental impacts.
Check out the title of this news release which appeared today on PR
Newswire: New RISI Biomass Study Finds Government Renewable Energy
Mandates Would Lead to Unsustainable Harvests Via:Yahoo

Is the pulp and paper industry going all tree-hugger over biomass
burning power plants? Will lumbermen stand and defend the stands? Not
quite. But, an industry market report on the future of biomass
burning begins to address a critical question: what are the
unintended consequences of biomass burning? Corn-base ethanol all
over again?

The Emerging Biomass Industry: Impact on Woodfiber Markets —
published by RISI, the leading information provider for the global
forest products industry, found that federal and state mandates, if
fully implemented, would lead to over-harvesting of forests in the
United States and are therefore unrealistic.

A full copy of the referenced study costs more than you or I will
spend on TP in a lifetime. But, the idea of an industry study
defending American trees against the prospective onslaught of
utility-paid loggers, spurred on by ‘well intended’ government
incentives, is rich indeed.

What preceding trends underpin the concern?

American forest products firms have, in recent years, unloaded
millions of acres of forest lands – lands bought or accumulated via
M&A. Much of these heritage forest land holdings went to real estate
developers (now dead in their tracks with the financial system
meltdown), and land speculators (short on cash to pay for it) who
will now be wanting to recover some value. Along comes “biomass
burning”.

If wood-fired electricity becomes popular, advertised as a climate
friendly alternative to coal, given incentives by government, and
accelerated by the booster rocket of a carbon cap and trade
mechanism, demand for trees could reasonably be anticipated to drive
the price of pulp wood out of reach of traditional industries. Hence
the study.

Watch for land speculators and real estate interests to lobby for
biomass burning incentives in Q1-2009. And, get ready to hug them
trees.

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