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New Scientist: EU green energy policies making global warming worse

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We didn’t realize it was still legal to say so. From Michael Le Page at New Scientist:

Countries in the EU, including the UK, are throwing away money by subsidising the burning of wood for energy, according to an independent report.

While burning some forms of wood waste can indeed reduce greenhouse gas emissions, in practice the growing use of wood energy in the EU is increasing rather than reducing emissions, the new report concludes.

Overall, burning wood for energy is much worse in climate terms than burning gas or even coal, but loopholes in the way emissions are counted are concealing the damage being done. More.

Report.* The Times was going on about this too:

Chopping down trees and transporting wood across the Atlantic Ocean to feed power stations produces more greenhouse gases than much cheaper coal, according to the report. It blames the rush to meet EU renewable energy targets, which resulted in ministers making the false assumption that burning trees was carbon-neutral. More.

Curiously, at activist site Mashable, science writer Miriam Kramer announced yesterday,

Don’t sit out on the March for Science because science isn’t political. It is.

If science weren’t politicized, we would have implemented measures to combat climate change back in the 1990s, or perhaps even earlier. More.

So then we would have had both bad policies and good policies sooner. But with less reflection, more of the policies would be bad. Seeing the world as Goodhats forcing Badhats to Care (marchin’, marchin’) feels good but gets people into counterproductive messes.

And good luck getting out of those messes once power, status, and money are all tangled up in them. All that said, march if you feel like it. But these days, there are more reliable ways to produce better decisions.

* Free online. The internet changes everything.

See also: What Copernicus really thought… not your usual lecture room platitude. This bears repeating: It is not true that our forebears in science shunned facts. More often, the sets of facts they were dealing with were much messier than pop science today usually portrays them to be.

It’s amazing how much good science started out as mistakes… Scerri: Rather than a hyper-intellectual, alien activity practiced by a remote priesthood, science is hit and miss, the ever-changing product of less-than-brilliant people, just like every other human activity.

and

Bill Nye would criminalize dissent from human-caused global warming claims.

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