Image courtesy of Joe Plenio/Pixabay

Plant power: Burning biomass instead of coal can help fight climate change—but only if done right

By Raymond Pierrehumbert, May 10, 2022

Image courtesy of Joe Plenio/Pixabay

The sooner that carbon dioxide emissions get to net zero, the less climate damage the world will suffer. That is a simple statement of fact.

The “net” in net zero in this case refers to what happens when you take all the activities that add carbon dioxide to the atmosphere—such as fossil fuel burning or deforestation—and include the effects of naturally occuring and engineered “carbon sinks,” which remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Carbon added to the atmosphere minus carbon removed with the help of sinks is the net—which needs to get to zero, as soon as possible.


Chastain, B. 2022. “Jan Baptist van Helmont.” Encyclopedia Britannica. January 8.

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