Get in touch: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting YORK to 80360 or send an email»
Will biomass be the fuel of the future?
There seems to be some confusion surrounding the use of biomass fuels.
With an interest in science and some initial scepticism as to the influence we have over the planet’s climate, I’d like to offer an explanation.
While biomass does produce CO2, it simply recirculates CO2 that was already in the present-day atmosphere. The problem with fossil fuel is that it releases CO2 removed from the atmosphere millions of years ago by prehistoric forests (coal) and sea creatures (oil) when the earth was warmer than today.
Provided sceptics are happy to accept that the Earth is a 4.5 billion-year-old ball of rock, not a 6,000-year-old disc balanced on a turtle, then this should make sense.
If we release this long-trapped CO2 by burning all the fossil fuels then the Earth’s atmosphere will return to the prehistoric mix of gases along with the predicted overall temperature rise.
I accept the science may not be 100 per cent correct yet; after all, we’ve only measured the climate for some 0.000006 per cent of the Earth’s entire history. Although using clever methods such as tree ring and ice core analysis, climate scientists can get a pretty good idea of how things have changed over the millennia.
Whether the current “blip” is a result of human activity or not, it seems sensible to be cautious. There is no harm in putting sustainable solutions in place, while the result of not doing anything (only to discover the scientists are right) could prove catastrophic.
Richard Hind, Alma Grove, York.
• I read Mr Roe’s letter with great interest and would like to add my observations.
Biomass imported across thousands of miles of ocean is not green; the bulk carriers moving this stuff use upwards of 200 tonnes of the most polluting bunker fuel in the world.
Like every other consumable, coal is a finite resource and we will run out, and coal takes a lot longer to form than a tree does.
My son has recently been on business working with the Chinese, and they were proud to show him their latest coal-fired power station, which they said “can generate more electricity than the whole of Australia”.
The Chinese are building these at the rate of one a month.
James Whitehead, Whenby Grove, Huntington, York.
Comments are closed on this article.