Stop burning stuff--including "biomass"
Awesomely comprehensive piece in the New Yorker, Bill, just phenomenal in its depth and detail of the opportunities and challenges we face. !! Thank you
Bill, I agree with the need to put an end to archaic milenia-old burning technology, but have a feeling we may have some resistance from our neighbors who rely on burning cord wood, whether from precariously leaning, dead and dying trees that will be felled in due time or trees cleared to make room for houses, agricultural, business etc. purposes (Mother Nature would prefer their rotting hulks remain in the duff to decompose, of course). I asked my excavation and cord wood guy where his logs are sourced, and he said essentially "all of the above and we'd have a huge outcry" ... but that is one of his sources of income. Just saying, we have a conundrum to solve.
Same arguments apply to burning wood for building heat as for burning wood for electricity.
Biomass burning isn't great, but we should recognize an exception for sparsely populated, semi-arctic regions where there is little sustainable energy available when it is most needed, which are far enough from energy rich zones to make transmission lossy, while no current method exists to store it across seasons. I'm thinking in the USA of ID, MT, ND, MN, WI, MI, NY, VT, NH, ME. We desperately need a way to "store up nuts for the winter", and biomass has yet to be beaten for that. Until a seasonal storage method is available, the only alternative is to use fossil fuel or fossil generated power, except where hydro or nuclear is available.