Is biomass really dirtier than coal? This is what is being claimed in a new report by RSPB, Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth .
However the report, called ‘Dirtier Than Coal’, is based largely on a new paper by Tim Searchinger of Princeton University  that has yet to be peer-reviewed.
ICARB  questions why the authors of the ‘Dirtier Than Coal’ do not appear to have consulted the UK-based experts whose peer-reviewed work is referenced by Searchinger.
The Biomass Energy Centre has issued a critical response to the report  and ICARB welcomes further submissions from those named in the reports.
We have previously raised concerns over carbon accounting-based claims for biomass because of a lack of transparency and peer-review. In this case ICARB wants to raise that Searchinger’s understanding of practices specific to the UK has been questioned by at least one of the authoritative sources he references.
ICARB is not commenting on specific aspects of these reports but we do call for a more balanced coverage of the work.
Notes The report, published by RSPB, Greenpeace (UK), and Friends of the Earth (England, Wales and Northern Ireland), is available online.  Searchinger on Princeton  The Initiative for Carbon Accounting (ICARB) exists to advance the field of carbon accounting to facilitate the reductions in carbon emissions necessary for a sustainable society. We are an independent expert group supported by Heriot-Watt University, Glasgow Caledonian University, the Crichton Carbon Centre, and the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation, and funded by the Scottish Government. Website: www.icarb.org.  Biomass Energy Centre report