To the Editor:

Two recent columns poorly misrepresent both the science and the global consensus that wood bioenergy is a key part of the solution to achieving net-zero carbon emissions, and addressing the climate crisis.

Contrary to the authors’ claims, leading climate science authorities and government bodies such as the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the European Commission clearly recognize a vital role for sustainable bioenergy in decarbonizing the power grid. Today, wood biomass is the EU’s largest single source of renewable energy.

Here at home, some of the climate movement’s top leaders recognize wood bioenergy as part of our low-carbon energy future, including Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, Washington Governor Jay Inslee, and President Biden’s Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack.

The authors are also misinformed about the carbon intensity of wood bioenergy, which research finds is actually 85% lower than coal. It has proven so effective at displacing coal that the UK last year cut its coal consumption to its lowest level in 250 years.

Finally, according to US Forest Service data, forest stocks in the U.S. Southwest that source wood for bioenergy globally are larger today than when the industry first started some 10 years ago. Research finds that a strong market for forest products – of which wood biomass is one small part – incentivizes landowners to grow more trees and in turn, grow the forest.

We welcome the conversation about how best to tackle climate change and transition our energy grid, but it must be based on the facts.

Seth Ginther

Executive Director

US Industrial Pellet Association

Richmond, VA

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