"'This rule that was designed to prevent you from counting carbon twice has effectively become a rule in which no carbon is counted at all.'"
"With the U.S. back in the Paris Agreement, and with governments across the country evaluating how they can cut carbon emissions, a question remains about one contentious 'carbon neutral' energy source: wood pellets.
Wood pellets are burned as a form of biomass energy, or bioenergy, and are touted as a 'carbon neutral' energy source in the global transition away from fossil fuels. It became an energy staple for European countries in 2009 when the European Union set goals to cut carbon emissions to 20 percent of 1990 levels by the year 2020. In 2019, the EU accounted for approximately 75 percent of global wood pellet consumption.
A 2012 study projected that by 2020 about 60 percent of EU energy would come from burning wood pellets as a carbon neutral alternative to coal. And data released by the EU at the end of 2020 indicates that they were set to meet this 20 percent goal while on track to reduce emissions by 37 percent by 2030.
But this latest report did not directly mention the use of wood pellets in the EU, primarily for residential heating, in its energy budget. This exclusion is emblematic of a flawed carbon accounting system for wood pellets that is leaving a chunk of emissions uncounted, and experts say the Paris Agreement will only create more missed emissions from the biomass sector."