When Wood is Worse than Coal

Moore Charitable
2 min readMar 27, 2024


Trees are on the front line in the fight against carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. They sequester enormous amounts of carbon, with each one capturing approximately 48 pounds annually, to help keep our air clean.

It is therefore particularly disturbing that corporations are fooling the public into thinking that burning wood for energy can be part of our path to net zero. Unfortunately, the biomass industry also has convinced some governments into believing that biomass is a renewable energy source because trees can be replanted. Replanting trees takes 40 to 100 years to recapture that carbon and, in the meantime, we are burning a fuel that scientific studies have shown puts more carbon into the atmosphere than burning coal.

This problem is transatlantic. Bottomland hardwood forests in the American South are clear-cut for companies like Enviva, delivered to wood pellet plants across the region, converted into pellets, shipped across the ocean to the United Kingdom, and burned in smokestacks by Drax, a U.K. power supplier, that has received billions in subsidies from the U.K. government.

At every stage of the process, carbon is released and largely ignored in carbon accounting. Further, those who live near the pellet plants face adverse health effects, particularly marginalized communities who feel the negative impact of the biomass industry in their everyday lives through poor air quality.

The Moore Charitable Foundation is proud to support our partners who are dedicated to protecting communities from the adverse effects of the biomass industry. The Foundation works with several partners to address biomass subsidies, highlight the industry’s unsustainable practices, and safeguard ecosystems from wood pellet plants’ unregulated emissions.

Some of our partners doing great work to raise awareness about the negative impacts of biomass include:

  • Dogwood Alliance, which strives to safeguard forests from industrial logging and biomass energy and promotes environmental justice.
  • Southern Environmental Law Center, which utilizes law and policy to protect communities from the biomass industry’s harmful impacts.
  • Natural Resources Defense Council, which aims to advocate for policies against the biomass industry expansion in the UK and EU.
  • Partnership for Policy Integrity, which works to highlight the misleading practices of the biomass industry in the UK through science, legal matters, and the media.
  • Biofuelwatch, which advocates against large-scale industrial bioenergy through grassroots campaigns and outreach worldwide.
  • North Carolina Conservation Network, which focuses on calling for regulation of wood pellet mills through community activism and the media.
  • Rachel Carson Council, which aims to educate and mobilize students, community members, policymakers, and media outlets in North Carolina on the environmental harms of biomass.



Moore Charitable

The Moore Charitable Foundation founded by Louis Bacon is a private non-profit foundation committed to land and water conservation. http://moorecharitable.org