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Here’s real solution: plant our own trees
NICK BLITZ make a few interesting points regarding biomass use in Drax (Letters, December 13), but gives only a partial story.
He deplores the transportation of wood by rail to Drax, but omits to acknowledge that 36 per cent of all train freight in the UK involves shifting coal, also imported in vast quantities from the US.
He rehearses familiar arguments against subsidies for renewables, while not acknowledging subsidies paid to oil, gas and now fracking exploration; or the many billions spent around the world, dealing with the respiratory and other health problems engendered by fossil fuel combustion. I am not a huge fan of importing biomass from abroad and it’s true that burning wood doesn’t reduce CO2 emissions, any more than burning coal. But planting trees does reduce emissions, growing trees absorb CO2.
A report in Science journal last month showed that 2.3 million square kilometres of forest were lost between 2000 and 2012. In the same period 0.8 million square kilometres of forest were planted.
If trees are planted where they have been cut down, there is indeed a virtuous circle, though it would be better if we reforested the Yorkshire moors instead of importing wood from the US and Canada.
Christian Vassie, Blake Court, Wheldrake, York.
• COULD we be seeing, with the recent cancellation of two massive wind-farms off the coast of Britain, the death throes of the rush to combat the threat from so-called man-made global warming?
The excuse for the latest cancellation was that the undersea rocks were “of the wrong type”.
Nick Blitz raises several questions about the ‘green’ energy to be produced by Drax (Letters, December 13), but missed out on a point which will add to the huge cost of this ‘green’ scheme.
Renewable energy by the raising of steam by burning wood sounds wonderfully green. But the disposal of the CO2 produced in the combustion process is airily announced in a way to make it sound so simple it doesn’t need any explanation.
The CO2 produced will, apparently, be pumped out to vast under-sea storage chambers created by the removal of the oil once contained there.
No mention is made of the carbon-capturing methods to be used, as the costs of this will possibly be as high as the plant itself.
The wood used for the power stations is, apparently, of a fast-growing variety. But can it grow fast enough to supply an ever-growing supply of wood-fired power plants?
Not forgetting, of course, that ALL plant-life absorbs CO2 so by cutting down vast amounts of trees we will be removing these natural “absorbers”.
Philip Roe, Roman Avenue South, Stamford Bridge, York.
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