Regarding the April 29 editorial “Burning wood is not the answer to climate change”:
Biomass is a renewable energy resource. Congress is appropriately exercising its oversight authority in directing federal agencies to correctly and consistently count carbon emissions from biomass.
Forests and trees will not sequester our carbon emissions if we forgo bioenergy and use fossil fuels such as natural gas instead. Fossil fuels provide no incentive to protect forests; it is inappropriate to grant the fossil-fuel industry a free carbon-storage service from existing forests. The United States has relied primarily on fossil fuels; our forests can’t keep pace with carbon emissions.
A sustainable bioenergy market directly incentivizes biomass renewal and replanting. Biorefineries provide a long-term market that encourages farmers and foresters to sustainably harvest biomass over the long term, allowing market forces to balance carbon emissions and carbon sequestration, impossible with fossil fuels.
More than 100 forest resources experts made these points to the Environmental Protection Agency in November 2014. Among them was Roger Sedjo of Resources for the Future, who challenged the hypothesis that bioenergy production leads to land-use change. Let’s be careful not to conflate “science” with a chosen set of scientists.
Brent Erickson, Washington
The writer is executive vice president of the Industrial and Environmental Section of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization.