Christian Science Monitor: Is biomass really a "green" energy source?
Environmentalists worry that burning biomass as fuel could have as many harmful ecological and health effects as coal.
The Devil is in the Details. If a pulp and paper factory has a lot of biomass produced as a byproduct of production, should it be encouraged to burn that stuff to generate electricity? In aggregate could such alternative energy sources help us to rely less on coal fired power plants? As discusseed here, environmentalist critics are worried that too much of this activity will be triggered by well meaning subsidies for renewable power generation.
The environmentalists are worried that toxic air emissions will rise as all of this biomass will be burned. They point out that coal fired power plants produce two dimensions of "bads". They produce greenhouse gas emissions and local air pollution (particulates and sulfur dioxide). Thus, there are "co-benefits" of reducing our % of power from coal power plants because we get two benefits from swapping out solar or wind for coal.
If we switch over to producing more power using biofuels, how much local health damage does this create? ...