> "Burning wood has a net neutral effect on C02"
> NET NEUTRAL, that is news to me. Anything I ever read stated burning
> wood creates Co2 and is bad for the environment. Do you have a
> reference for this information? Thanks.
Burning anything produces CO2, but pound for pound, I assume wood
produces less CO2 than fossil fuels. Of the fossil fuels (data from
Wright & Nebel 2002. Environmental Science: Towards a Sustainable
Future), coal is the big baddie. It produces almost twice as much CO2
as natural gas. Gasoline produces about 1.3 times as much as natural gas.
The nice thing about burning wood is that it can be much more efficient
than burning fossil fuels, especially if you're using an efficient wood
burning stove. The problem with all the other sources (alcohol,
canisters, esbit, white gas) is that it takes energy (often
petrochemical) and water to harvest it and to make it. When you're
burning alcohol, there's a net energy loss: harvest, fermentation,
distillation, burning. The distilling, especially, requires lots of
energy. Just think how the revenue officers tracked down stills during
prohibition. For processing esbit and natural gas and white gas, you
have the same problem. We're not burning the stuff exactly as it comes
out of the ground, we have to use energy (usually by burning oil) to
turn it into a usable form. And then there's the packaging and the
energy required to make and recycle it.
Now, the real problem with burning wood is: where did the wood come
from? Folks in Europe recently discovered this problem with their
palm-oil ethanol. Burning ethanol made from palm oil was great for
lowering EU's CO2. The problem was, it was increasing the planet's
atmospheric CO2. This was because Indonesia was (and is) cutting down
(and burning) tropical forest to plant palm trees for palm oil.
So, the point really isn't to plant trees, but to stop deforestation.
There is no way that new plantations of baby trees (or even 40-year-old
plantations of young trees) can capture and hold more CO2 than old
forests. It's not just the CO2 in the trees, it's the CO2 that's been
pumped into the ground as organic matter.
And let's face it, a plantation full of baby trees is no place to hang a
hammock. Baby trees are too bushy and too small. You'll end up
sleeping on the ground. And the ground won't be any good for sleeping
because it won't have that cushiony organic layer.