In light of Gov. Janet Mills’ recent commitment to carbon neutrality and the formation of the Maine Climate Council, I found Dana Wilde’s Sept. 25 piece, “An inconvenient truth about firewood,” timely, informative and thought provoking. We should all be considering the costs and benefits of our heating choices.

However, I see Wilde’s piece as the beginning of a bigger conversation rather than the final word on the renewable resource of firewood (and pellets, which were not addressed). If the goal is to assess the impacts of one’s heating fuel choices on climate change and the environment as a whole, then considering combustion by the end user alone would seem to be an overly narrow perspective.

An apples-to-apples analysis of overall carbon footprint should take all aspects of bringing the various products to market into account, including prospecting, extraction, bulk transport, refining, venting and flaring natural gas and methane, delivery to the end user, plus that of supporting infrastructure.

All in all, wood may still end up with a larger CO2 footprint, but I think a Maine heritage industry that supports jobs and families, especially in more rural parts of our state, deserves a fairer shake.

Of course, from a broader environmental perspective, wood contributes to particulate pollution, but it also comes with some fewer catastrophic environmental costs; wood spills don’t kill birds and wood leaks don’t blow up buildings. I look forward to a more informative discussion.

 

Adrian Kendall

Cumberland


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