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Don Ogden: There’s nothing ‘sustainable’ about woodchip production

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Friday, March 08, 2019

An article in the Feb. 15 edition of the Bulletin, “$885K grant boosts woodchip production,” highlighted Gov. Charlie Baker’s claim that his administration is supporting woodchip production as “an improvement to energy sustainability” and that “Renewable heating is critical to reducing the Commonwealth’s greenhouse gas emissions and meeting our targets under the Global Warming Solutions Act.”

If this were the 18th century this reader might agree with that statement, but it’s not. It’s the 21st century and climate science tells us we have little more than a decade to drastically reduce our carbon emissions if the planet is to be inhabitable for future generations. Let me repeat: little more than a decade.

We do not have the luxury of waiting 50 to 100 years for logged over forests to grow back and capture all the carbon lost to chip production.

It’s called a climate crisis for a reason: it’s a crisis and business-as-usual no longer applies. With all due respect for the hard-working loggers and chip producers put in, there’s nothing “sustainable” or “renewable” about producing and incinerating wood chips in the 21st century.

Don Ogden
Leverett