Forest Biomass Residuals Worthy of Carbon Neutral Recognition

Paper and wood products manufacturers use as much of the tree as possible to make paper, packaging and wood products. Biomass residuals such as limbs, bark and liquid biomass are used as a renewable energy source to power the mills. Usingbiomass as a fuel source provides significant greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction benefits to the environment.

The carbon neutrality -- net zero carbon emissions -- of biomass harvested from sustainably-managed forests has been recognized repeatedly by studies, agencies, institutions, scientists, legislation and rules around the world. Prior to 2010, the U.S. also recognized woody biomass energy as carbon neutral. Unfortunately, in EPA’s GHG Tailoring Rule, for the first time, no such designation was made. The lack of designation subjects biomass energy to cumbersome regulations and permit processes under the Clean Air Act. This consequently puts the U.S. paper and wood product manufacturing at a competitive disadvantage.  

AF&PA believes:

  • Biogenic carbon dioxide emissions should be deregulated.
  • Energy from biomass residuals, including from manufacturing mills and harvests, as well as biowastes, should be explicitly acknowledged for avoiding and reducing GHG emissions and promoting the efficient use of domestic natural resources.
  • Public policies should recognize that sustainably-managed forests and forest products sequester and store carbon and reduce GHGs.
  • Biomass used to generate energy should be treated as carbon neutral as forest carbon stocks are stable or rising on a broad scale, as shown by U.S. Forest Service Forest Inventory Analysis data.

Related: Carbon Neutrality of Biomass One Pager (PDF) | Carbon Neutrality Infographic (JPG) | Carbon Neutrality Video | 100 Forestry Scientists Endorse Fundamentals for Forest Biomass Carbon Accounting