No Biomass/No Burning! Truly renewable energy must be defined as including no energy production or climate mitigation claims from food based agrofuels, live plants and ecosystems, or burning biomass of any type.
As the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is belatedly gaining recognition within the United States, a suite of policy initiatives, including the Markey-Waxman “American Climate and Energy Security Act 2009” (ACESA), are being considered that promote biomass such as tree plantations, and forest and agricultural ‘waste’, as renewable energy. Given well known issues of sustainability regarding industrial agriculture and land mismanagement, the need to more clearly define just what “renewable” means is clearly shown. It is vitally important that renewable energy be defined, within the context of federal energy and climate policy, in strictly ecological sustainability terms, including renewable energy and low carbon fuel standards.
In an alarming trend, burning and refining of plant biomass and also toxic municipal waste (or for that matter anything that burns) is being falsely promoted as renewable and of benefit to reducing emissions that cause climate change. Humans already consume a large amount of the energy represented in annual biological growth. To try to consume more of Earth’s primary productivity is clearly unsustainable land use. Even partial replacement of fossil fuels with fresh plant biomass energy is absolutely impossible for more than a few years. Trying will denude Earth and make a very different planet, that is hostile and uninhabitable to human life.