Europe burns a controversial ‘renewable’ energy source: trees from the U.S.
As world leaders pledge more action on climate change, one so-called solution—burning trees for electricity—could undermine progress.
North Carolina’s Cape Fear River is dotted with industrial facilities, cranes, storage containers, large ships, and old cypress trees with large roots anchored in the water. Near the mouth of the river, two white domes, each capable of holding 45,000 metric tons of wood, tower over the river bank.
It’s here, where the river meets the sea, that wood pellets stored in the domes are packed onto a ship and transported across the Atlantic, to be burned in power plants that generate electricity.
Millions of tons of wood pellets, each the length of a fingernail and width of a straw, are replacing coal in Europe. Billed as a clean fuel that helps countries meet their renewable energy targets, these so-called woody