Wood pellets. They’re a simple idea, but their potential implications are far more complicated and controversial.
Member countries in the European Union are buying these small, compressed cylinders, which are made up of everything from sawdust to wood pulp, to use as a more planet-friendly fuel source than coal. Eventually, some say increasing restrictions on allowable carbon emissions will force the discontinuance of wood pellets as a fuel source because they’ll no longer meet government requirements. But right now, European subsidies are fueling an important emerging market in the southeast – and particularly North Carolina.
Environmental advocacy groups such as the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Southern Environmental Law Center, and North Carolina-based Dogwood Alliance all say that the use of wood pellets for fuel not only decimates forests. It actually produces higher carbon emissions than fossil fuels.