Since ages, it’s been considered that if you burn biomass the net carbon dioxide emission is zero, since the CO2 emitted is equal to the CO2 absorbed in growing plants. A research conducted at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) says otherwise: we should also count those CO2 emissions along with the ones produced by petrol, for example.
Dr. Francesco Cherubini states that the sequestration of the emitted CO2 in the growing plants can be done over several decades if we burn wood, for example, and that their CO2 emissions should no longer be excluded from Life Cycle Assessment studies.
“This work reduces the inaccuracy of CO2 accounting in environmental impact studies, and is a first step towards the development of an accurate and standardized procedure for quantifying the effective climate impact of CO2 emissions from biomass combustion,” says Dr. Cherubini, Postdoctoral Fellow at the NTNU.
Of course, the natural carbon sinks play a role here, such as the oceans and the terrestrial biosphere, working “on different time scales.” The authors also believe that scientists should adopt an index that could estimate the atmospheric decay of CO2 emissions and their contributions to the global warming.