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Is biomass really renewable?  The Green Energy Act treats wood waste as an  infinitely renewable source of energy, like sunlight and wind.  But is it?  Biomass sceptics have pointed to high costs (in money and in energy) to collect, transport and handle wood waste, especially as fuel for  electrical generation.  Now, Trent Professor Shawn Watmough has documented a much bigger problem:  decades of acid rain have  so decimated calcium in the soil that forests on the Canadian Shield cannot long sustain removal of woody debris.   Equally bad, the loss of calcium threatens to tip many lakes back into sterile acidity.

The study has serious implications for recent proposals to remove woody debris from forests for use as biomass, in the hope of building a more sustainable economy.

And you thought that acid rain was yesterday’s problem…

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