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Modern Neanderthals are Wrecking the Biosphere
Stop Mining up & Burning Organic Soil Carbon
“Biomass” is Magic
A staggering 60% of Europe's unRenewable energy is Neanderthal Fire Fuel simply re-branded: Clean. Green. Net Zero. Biomass. Aren’t we virtuous?
But the biomass policy is creating enormous markets for woody biomass. By definition, burning up biomass to make heat depletes the world’s Organic Soil Carbon necessary for life. Biomass policy is unGreen, unClean, unNet-Zero, unSustainable. And really dumb.
Neanderthals mastered the art of starting and controlling fire. In the 20th Century, modern humans mastered the art of fission. It produces 6 Orders of Magnitude more energy than combustion. No carbon. No air pollution.
Organic Soil Carbon - Compartmentalization
One of the attributes of mental illness is the ability of the human psyche to disassociate issues, events, and topics through a process some refer to as compartmentalization. Energy policy is a good example of this phenomenon.
The European Environmental Agency publishes an annual report extolling the importance of Organic Soil Carbon (OGC) in the “fight” against Climate Change. It can be argued that growing food for humans is even more important than Climate Change, when it comes to Organic Soil Carbon. No Organic Soil Carbon, no food. But even so, the science is clear—the earth’s soils are one of the most important places where carbon is stored and used. It is essential to soil and its fertility.
The EU EEA report is found here—riveting reading I might add. Funny thing, there is no mention of the impact to Organic Soil Carbon levels caused by removing and burning biomass. Similarly, the EU laments the loss of organic matter in Europe’s soils, and warns against the negative impacts, such as in this publication.
But when it comes to listing the universe of causes of organic matter decline, the authors must have forgotten to consider burning “biomass” instead of coal. It was probably an honest mistake. I mean, who could have known that removing and burning millions and millions of tons of organic matter would have an impact on organic matter that is returned to the Earth’s soils?
Avert the Gaze: Removal of Biomass Depletes Organic Soil Carbon
By definition, removal of biomass from the biosphere for burning (resulting in ash, CO2, and water), converts all of the biomass immediately into CO2. If the biomass had not been removed from the biosphere, the biomass would have become Organic Soil Carbon.
There are no solutions - only trade-offs. The key is finding the best trade-off.
Mutual Exclusivity means two things that cannot exist at the same time, like a coin toss. Biomass Fuel and Organic Soil Carbon are mutually exclusive. If we burn it, the carbon goes directly to the atmosphere. If we don’t burn it, the biomass (sooner or later) ends up enriching the soils of the biosphere that sustains all life.
The entire premise of Biomass as fuel is that the carbon material we are gathering up and burning is waste—that there is no better thing to do with it than to burn it. But biomass can never be a waste from the perspective of Organic Soil Carbon, all of which comes from biomass.
True to form, magic lifecycle assessments do not account for the effects of biomass removal and assume steady soil carbon because....doing so might hurt people's feelings.
In proud and virtuous Denmark, for example, where less than half the population even knows what the “biomass” means, the new Neanderthal Tech has increased 275% from 1990 to 2018 because the Neanderthal Leaders in the EU exempted biomass from CO2 taxes. Burn baby, burn! Then the same people bemoan the deforestation of the world….
This neo-Neanderthal Energy Policy is working wonders, depleting Organic Soil Carbon levels worldwide from as far away as China, North and South America. After all, it is waste. If they didn't burn it, all that stuff would just molder away. Why waste it? Public service.
From the point of view of Organic Soil Carbon, which has a direct impact on the entire biosphere, it would be better to burn fossil fuels than to collect and burn all the world's biomass aka Organic Soil Carbon. Mutual Exclusivity: There is no such thing as waste biomass. Energywise, biomass trades off soil fertility by robbing Organic Soil Carbon from mother earth so we can burn it. Nobody wants to acknowledge this trade-off. Instead, politicians play Charades.
Pretending that Biomass is "renewable" is absurd. The ability of the earth to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is highly dependent on Organic Soil Carbon. Scale up biomass over time kills the planet. It takes decades, centuries, and millennia to build fertile soils.
The politicians who created the Biomass = Net Zero scheme are charlatans who lack any ability to connect even the most simple concepts, such as creating a market for Biomass will increase world deforestation and reduce Organic Soil Carbon.
While the NRDC is (by any objective measure) 100% wrong on nuclear power, I could not agree more with their position on European Neanderthals stealing millions of tons of Organic Soil Carbon from the USA's most fertile lands--in the name of Green Energy.
Our Forests Aren't FuelWhen companies cut down and burn trees to make electricity, the result is increased climate-changing carbon dioxide emissions, devastated ecosystems, and displaced wildlife.https://www.nrdc.org/resources/our-forests-arent-fuel
A biomass operation is very similar to a coal mine, except that instead of mining fossil carbon, a biomass “mine” removes biomass directly from the living biosphere that sustains all life.
In my private law practice, I had occasion to work on a series of large M&A deals for a venture capital client in the business of buying lumber and pellet mills. For one thing, I was surprised to learn how much fossil energy they consume to dry the biomass, but even more surprised to learn how significant their emissions are—particulate matter (PM) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
VOCs are especially impactful. Fresh biomass has resin and pitch. Drying green wood releases the VOCs on purpose, along with particulate matter. One group has published a particularly damning report on this.
The problem is particularly one of scale. Now that the EPA is clamping down on the pellet industry, is it any wonder that Virtuous European buyers are turning their attention to Latin America, Africa, and Southeast Asia?
Coal mining and processing does not emit volatile organic compounds or particulates. Even ignoring VOCs and the loss of Organic Soil Carbon, burning biomass releases more CO2 than coal. Clean! Green! Proud!
Sustainable my foot. There is no free lunch. It would be better for Europe, and the planet, if European power plants burnt coal sourced from Europe than biomass sourced from the living biosphere that sustains all life. Humans will be impacted from the loss of such enormous volumes of Organic Soil Carbon for centuries and perhaps even millennia to come. Stop burning biomass. Stop burning coal. Start planning and building hundreds and thousands of nuclear power plants. Nuclear power is inevitable. The sooner we figure that out, the more pain and suffering we will avoid to the planet, whose resources we share, and to our fellow humans. Stop mining atoms and start splitting them.