• EU Emissions Loophole May Have Resulted In MASSIVE Fudging Of Numbers

    The European Union (EU) has been using a loophole in the way it counts carbon dioxide emissions, raising concerns over the environmental impact of wood burning and whether the EU has been fudging its emissions numbers.

    The EU has pledged to yield 20 percent of its energy production from renewable sources by 2020, an ambitious goal that has shifted energy suppliers’ focus to wood burning. Wood burning is considered a renewable energy source by the EU, reports Quartz. More importantly, the EU counts “renewables” as carbon neutral, which is decidedly not the case with wood burning. In fact, it has the potential to release more emissions than traditional fossil fuel sources.

    Due to the “renewable” classification and the carbon neutral assumption, European governments incentivize wood burning by issuing hundreds of millions of dollars in financial support to energy companies that move away from fossil fuels. Climate Central, an environmental organization that broke the story, argues that such practices are devastating forests and creating pollution that doesn’t even get counted.

    “In England and across Europe, the most popular source of renewable energy is wood. But chopping down trees — many of them in the U.S. — and burning the wood heats the planet more quickly than burning coal,” according to Climate Central. “Yet plants like Drax receive financial support to switch from coal to wood. That’s because of an entrenched loophole in the EU’s climate rules.”

    Wood burning is viewed as “carbon neutral” because it is assumed any emissions released will be reabsorbed by trees taking its place. “The assumption is convenient, but wrong,” reports Climate Central, but allows European countries to be “renewable” without having to report the environmental consequences.

    “When power plants in major European countries burn wood, the only carbon dioxide pollution they report is from the burning of fossil fuels needed to manufacture and transport the woody fuel,” according to Climate Central.

    In an effort to be greener, the EU is attempting to reduce fossil fuel production, but appears to simply be shifting their pollution to other energy sources, in this case one they don’t have to report. Despite the loophole’s effect, it is not expected to be discussed at December’s climate summit in Paris. Climate Central reports that the loophole allows Europe, “to pump tens of millions of tons of carbon dioxide into the air every year and pretend it doesn’t exist.”

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