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How green is bio mass energy when it destroys nature in Colombia en Indonesia?

I read in the newspaper that the governments of colombia and indonesia are complaining to western countries. The demand for biomass energy makes that big corporations destroy their land. How green is it in this perspective?

Biomass energy is pretty green. People generate body heat and movement by eating biomass. Firewood biomass was our first supplemental source of energy. So biomass is prehistorically green. And growing biomass removed CO2 from the atmosphere. Very green.

Our problem is that the human population now exceeds 6 billion people !! If we divert significant quantities of biomass to energy, we divert it away from supplying food and material (lumber, paper, etc.). When our energy demand competes with our food supply, then we're really in trouble. It's starting to happen now, as corn is diverted to ethanol production and food prices are rising.

The key in all this is to match a material (biomass, petroleum, etc) to its *highest* use. Corn is more valuable to us for food than for its energy content (or it should be if our laws and taxes were right). Waste wood, on the other hand, isn't as valuable as food (but perhaps still valuable for producing fiberboard). For ethanol production, we need to be using cellulosic biomass which people cannot digest or use as food. For that matter, we shouldn't be using petroleum for energy either, because it is so much more valuable as a feedstock for lubricants and plastics. But then, in the past, we've had so much petroleum, that we've had “oil to burn”.

Back to your question, the answer is that biomass energy is a small part of the solution, it is no panacea for our energy needs, and it needs to be developed and regulated carefully so that it doesn't cause destruction of forests and natural areas.

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