As a follow-up to my previous post about cutting down trees for biofuels, here’s some interesting news about the unintended consequences and perverse incentives embedded in regulations to promote the use of biomass as fuel: a BBC investigation reveals trees cut from swamp forests in the US being used to fuel electricity generation in Britain.
Critics say subsidising wood burning wastes money, does nothing to tackle climate change in the short term, and is wrecking some of the finest forests in the US.
I have tracked the controversial trade from the swamp forests of North Carolina to the towering chimneys of the UK’s biggest power station, Drax in Yorkshire, which is converting half its boilers from coal to wood.
The implications are complicated and disputed, but it is clear that EU leaders did not have burning American wood in mind when they mandated that 20% of Europe’s energy should come from “renewable” sources.
But that’s what’s happening, induced by billions of pounds worth of subsidies in Britain.