“The world is a complicated place and there are consequences for every choice we make,” says Hal Salwasser, dean of the Oregon State University College of Forestry. “The research cited here (in From Wood to Watts) shows what some of those consequences, good and bad, might be when we transform wood, a carbohydrate renewable over a scale of years to centuries, into heat or fuel.
“Compare that to getting that heat or fuel from a hydrocarbon, renewable only on a scale of many millennia. Both create jobs and cause environmental effects, and both are heavily subsidized. Where are those jobs most desired, where do environmental effects have the least impact and what subsidies are most reasonable? We can expect more to come on these questions as the research rolls in.”