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my theory on wood burning vs global warming

Post in 'The Green Room' started by stoveguy2esw, Jan 1, 2007.

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  1. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

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    hearing/reading posts on woodburning and global warming has had me thinking (scary thought) its been my understanding that wood burning has been around since the old pre-epa fires in the mouth of the cave that our ancient predecessors used to keep warm. as man progressed, and learned about other forms of fuel (coal, oil, gas etc.) these forms were used. now , these forms of fuel are not consumed in nature (except for the occasional volcanic eruption, which if my memory serves, in a couple cases brought on short era's of cold temperatures) my theory is simple. wood fires occur in nature, and we know that wood smoke is actually released into the air and does not cause a large negative impact on the atmosphere (unless you are right there at the fire as it burns) on the other hand, virtually all of the fossil fuels that are removed from the ground and burned release elements into the atmosphere that are not normally released by natural means. these elements, since they are not natural, are not removed from the atmosphere by natural means. the earth has its methods of cleaning up after itself when natural pollutants are released. since these fossil fuel residues are not natural, the earths natural filtration systems cannot deal with them. so with this in mind, i think that the burning of wood is not contributing to global warming, and the real cause is the burning of non-natural fuels such as gasoline and other petro products, coal and the like. the EPA has brought on methods of cleaning up the exhaust from most all of the combustion based heating systems in the US. hopefully the rest of the world will follow suit, i believe this is important. woodstoves can be made mor efficient as has been proved over the last 20 or so years the same efforts must be made to clean up the non-natural combustion systems as well. car exhaust(my pick for the biggest pollutant on the planet) is the big hurdle, far more than factory exhausts (which also are big , probably second on the list) residential wood burning is a non-factor because the exhaust from these systems is composed of natural elements and when compared to the number of fossil fuel devices releasing non-natural pollutants, negligable. just my 2 cents

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  2. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    one large wild fire, a natural occurance, probably releases more polution then all the wood stoves burning every winter.
    Most of the wood I burn, has been discarded by others. Multiple trips to the town Brush dump is my major scource.
    Its not like I am cutting valuable trees. Even if left to rot certaint natural gasses are given off. My burning accelerates the process.
    The ashes are then placed back into the soil.

    We all can make a better effort to burn dry wood, which emitts less polutants. Utilize secondary burning processes cat or non cat ,
    to further reduce pollutants. Equally inportant to wood burning or heating of any home, is to capture that heat and slow down its losses and dissipation.
    Draft sealing, insulation, and replacing drafty windows, are part of what all should be doing. As stoves are designed to be more effecient so should our homes
    So many post here start out by attempting to reduce their fosil fuel dependency, by getting a big ass stove, yet ignoring basic steps in improving their current heating system
    home and heat losses.

    The message I sending is two fold, improve your home energy first, before trying to bludgen it with over kill, masking the real problem
  3. hilly

    hilly Feeling the Heat

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    The general consensus is that wood burning does not contribute to climate change because in a reasonably short period of time (the life of the tree) carbon is recycled. It's taken out of the atmosphere by the tree and then returned to the atmosphere by burning it. The real problem we have is that burning fossil fuels (oil, gas, etc.) releases carbon into the atmosphere that has been effectively locked away for millions of years. There isn't much special about the fossil fuel chemically, after all it's just plants that have been compressed and heated for a long time, but it does pack a lot of energy per unit mass (1 lb of gas will give off more heat than 1 lb of wood).

    Whenever we burn any fossil fuel we add carbon to the atmosphere. If the device is clean burning it should be more efficient so we use less, but it doesn't change the fact that we are still adding carbon to the atmosphere. I was talking to a natural gas engineer once about the shortage of fossil fuels and what that might be like but he said he really wasn't worried because if we use up all the fossil fuel reserves we will have polluted our earth so badly no one will be alive!
  4. DeanBrown3D

    DeanBrown3D New Member

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    I like to think of wood burning as releasing back into the air the CO2 that was absorbed over the earlier lifetime of the tree. Although we are releasing CO2 at this moment, in the long run it is a self-sustaining fuel source that has no net change to the atmosphere.
  5. babalu87

    babalu87 New Member

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    As an aside to this a VERY liberal left leaning couple that we know recently saw Al Bores movie.
    They were so inspired they ran out and bought a hybrid car.
    The car they previously drove got around 30+ MPG

    Their house is heated with oil and they use wood on weekends/vacations etc. Mostly oil heat.
    It is a drafty old farmhouse.
    Maybe they should be inspired to stop wasting wood and oil on a drafty old house and seal and insulate as Elk suggests?

    I have been told by the wife this subject is verboten unless THEY bring it up :(
  6. jjbaer

    jjbaer New Member

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    OH
    My suggestion is to bring up the topic anyway! My experience with hard core liberals is that "facts" are ok until those same "facts" are used against the liberals at which point the "facts" are discarded by liberals because they have now become a liability to their own argument. You might say the "facts" have themselves become an "inconvenient truth"...LOL
  7. coalkirk

    coalkirk New Member

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    I'm late coming to this topic but I'd like to point out that the eruption of Mt. St. Helens released more pollutants into the atmosphere than all the man made pollution from burning fossil fuels since the beginning of time. That's not to say that we shouldn't strive to burn fuels efficiently but just to put it in perspective.
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