A Boston Globe reporter wrote an article that gets many things wrong about modern wood heat. Our Vice President, Joe Short, responds on twitter.
1. This article is full of statements that are simply not true. Hard to twitter-speak on such a complicated topic, but here goes (THREAD):
@davabel Burning trees for fuel may soon qualify for state subsidies via @BostonGlobe
2. Key context: incentives under consideration are thermal credits under MA Alternative Portfolio Standard; wood heat, not wood electric.
3. Distinction matters because critics quoted in the article cite studies on wood electric and imply the conclusions apply to wood thermal as well. Not true.
4. In fact, they ignore positive findings for wood thermal in the very same study on wood electric they use to inaccurately attack wood thermal. They didn’t mention that the cited @ManometCenter study says: “switch to biomass yields [GHG]benefits within 1st decade when oil-fired thermal is replaced.”
5. Similar misdirection regarding air quality, implying that incentives would lead to “soot.” NO. $ only for high efficiency, low emissions tech.
6. As for “deforestation” fears, only 18.5% of annual MA forest growth is harvested. Plenty of forest for wise use. Read more.
7. Not mentioned: 27% of MA households heat with oil, 5x US avg. 500 million gallons oil/yr. 5.5m tons C02. Where’s the concern about that?
8. Unchallenged, misdirecting statements like ones in this article obscure what should be a win-win for forests and our climate.
9. Forests are huge carbon sinks, critical to climate change fight. Tricky irony: responsible use of forests preserves them as carbon sinks long term.
10. In MA and all of Northeast, most forests are privately owned. What keeps them that way? Markets for products & services they produce.
11. Activists seem to expect landowners to keep forests as forests from goodness of their hearts. Not possible for most landowners.
12. If society won’t pay for what private forests produce, forests get converted to something else. We lose carbon sink, habitat, clean air/water.
13. By incentivizing responsible, high-efficiency, clean wood heat, state would be investing in keeping MA forests as forests.
14. Modern wood heat keeps MA heating dollars local, instead of flowing out of state and nation for fuel oil.
15. Modern wood heat creates jobs in a new renewable energy sector and sustains rural jobs in the woods.
16. Finally, modern wood heat using northeast wood pellets reduces GHGs 54% compared to oil and 59% to natural gas. More on the study.
17. People in the cold NE need to heat their homes. Using high-efficiency wood heat instead of fossil fuel results in immediate GHG benefits.
18. Forests matter to lots of people for lots of reasons. We need more reasoned discussion, w/ accurate info, about balancing all interests.