An environmental group says the act of cutting down forests and burning trees for fuel is more damaging to the environment than coal.
An environmental group says the act of cutting down forests and burning trees for fuel is more damaging to the environment than coal. Jeff Gearino

The energy source that could be more harmful than coal

IS BURNING trees for fuel more harmful to our environment than first thought?

That is what members of the Biomass Action Group believe.

Their new documentary film will screen at the Murwillumbah Golf Club on Saturday night.

Titled Burned: Are Trees the New Coal?, the film allegedly "exposes the damage already being done around the world to health and environment by burning biomass to make electricity".

The group highlights their issues with the practice of burning trees for fuel at the Northern Rivers power stations at Condong and Broadwater.

Spokeswoman for the group, Byron Bay resident Shaunti Kiehl, said cutting down trees for fuel was more damaging to the environment than burning coal.

"The carbon released from deforestation and burning, combined with a false and simplistic viewpoint that a seedling will take up the same amount of carbon as a mature tree is overlooked in a faulty accounting loophole, therefore attracting subsidies such as Renewable Energy Credits.," Ms Kiehl said.

"It takes 200 years for a forest to mature to the point of full carbon uptake, and we need as much carbon storage as we can possibly get as we transition to clean, genuinely renewable energy.

"To get the same amount of energy, burning wood actually releases more carbon dioxide than burning coal, and also puts 26 cancer-causing chemicals into your air.

"We need to get all of this into perspective before all our forests are destroyed and our climate along with it."

The documentary will be aired at the Murwillumbah Golf Club tomorrow at 3pm with a public meeting to follow at 6pm.