Skip to comments.IPCC: Half of Renewable Energy is Wood, Charcoal, and Animal Dung
Posted on 05/11/2011 9:08:40 AM PDT by wewillnotcomply
The IPCC recently released the Summary of a report about renewable energy. Both Pielke Jr. and Donna Laframboise have mentioned it, and once the final report comes out at the end of the month I'm sure we'll hear more about it. However, in looking over the report I was stunned to find out what the IPCC considers as renewable energy (RE).
This story at Scientific American covers it very well. I recommend reading it.
Here's the problem. The IPCC has different categories of renewable energy. They include solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, ocean, and biomass. Biomass is by far the largest category, it constitutes 79% of all renewable energy. Biomass is broken down into two groups: modern and traditional. Modern biomass is the smaller group at 38%. That means that the IPCC considers the largest single source of renewable energy in the world to be traditional biomass. This image from the report says it all (click to view):
Why is this a problem? Look at their definition of traditional biomass:
Traditional biomass is defined by the International Energy Agency (IEA) as biomass consumption in the residential sector in developing countries and refers to the often-unsustainable use of wood, charcoal, agricultural residues, and animal dung for cooking and heating. All other biomass use is defined as modern [Annex I].
Traditional biomass means cooking on wood stoves, it means difficult wood collection (done mostly by women), it means smoke inhalation and deforestation. Basically, traditional biomass is another way of saying abject poverty. It means no access to energy at all. Calling traditional biomass renewable energy is more than a strech.
It is bad enough that they are considering a lack of access to energy to actually be renewable energy, but what is even worse is that they consider it half of world's total amount of renewable energy!
I mentioned this to a colleague, and he told me it was even worse yet. Burning wood and charcoal creates black carbon. This aerosol is considered to have a warming impact on the atmosphere. Isn't one of the primary goals of renewable energy to combat climate change? After all, the report itself says (pg. 3):
As well as having a large potential to mitigate climate change, RE can provide wider benefits. RE may, if implemented properly, contribute to social and economic development, energy access, asecure energy supply, and reducing negative impacts on the environment and health [9.2, 9.3].
They claim that renewable energy can mitigate climate change and reduce negative impacts on the environment and health. However, their largest since source of renewable energy, traditional biomass, contributes to climate change by releasing black carbon, and has significantly negative impacts on both the environment, through deforestation, and on health, through smoke inhalation.
Including traditional biomass in a report on renewable energy cannot be defended. How can anyone now support renewable energy when it is defined as burning animal dung to heat your home or cook your food? Removing traditional biomass from the list of renewable energies may cut the UN's number in half, but leaving it in place renders the report useless. As the UN defines it currently, supporting renewable energy means supporting abject poverty.
Thanks for posting!
my husband does it all....he gets wood from downed trees locally, or even from our property which has alot of trees...
its hard work....but its using a resource that otherwise would just rot, that needs to be taken care of anyway, and it saves us a few bucks in heating costs....
so whats the problem?
IPCC: Half of Renewable Energy is Wood, Charcoal, and Animal Dung
Oh, for peat’s sake!! More evidence of crap science from IPCC.
Burning sticks and stones and an old bone
Causes global warming and smoggy ozone!
If you search information about rocket stoves and other alternatives to traditional self destructive native practices, you will find slightly conflicting data about the results of the traditional uses of biomass, but the conflicts appear to be mostly incidental. The differences are in exactly how inefficient fires are, precisely how many die from the smoke and burns, etc. The basics of poverty and little hope for improvement seem to agree.
But even with more efficient stoves, reasonably usable water hauling containers, village wells or whatever, if there is no coordination, no rule of law, if there is no person or entity keeping the impoverished masses from acting like locusts and turning the surrounding area into a wasteland, there is still no fuel nearby , no renewing actually occurring.
This also describes problems with trying to upgrade lives with water or electricity or transportation. You have to set a new paradigm to keep the young bucks from hacking into the water pipes when they are thirsty, or keep everyone from taking the saplings for fuel when trying to set up an orchard or renewable hedgerow for fuel. It is a huge leap going from striving for today day after day to having a plan and hope for tomorrow and next year and the grandchildren.
BUT... Does this actually have anything to do with global warming? Nah.
That doesn’t even take into account the ubiquity of “pull my finger”.
Use of biomass in the developed world is considered modern biomass, not traditional biomass. It is a different category.
“so whats the problem?”
Burning your own locally acquired wood, be it from your own property or not makes you a little more independent from the powers that be. If they can keep you in a situation where the Government can put you in the dark with no heat on a cold winter’s on a whim then you can be controlled.
And when they need to reinforce that knowledge on you they will.
And just like your husband, I will be gathering up the downed trees here for use in my own fireplace. It really makes a difference in the heating bills in the Winter.
My suggestion to the warmists is this: Try growing grass on the roof. Sucks in plenty of CO2, and the clippings make great fertilizer.
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