There's a fascinating blog by someone called Bernie Bulkin at the DECC website. Mr Bulkin is the chairman of the Office for Renewable Energy Deployment and he's writing about burning wood for energy.
...the impression [is given] that our policy is simply to divert whole, mature trees from construction and manufacturing and turn them into energy. It isn’t. We don’t think this is sustainable, and it is not what our Bioenergy strategy suggests. The evidence gathered for that Strategy shows that the current typical practice of taking the residues from timber production deliver greater GHG benefits than leaving the forest unmanaged.
But even then the case against whole trees is not black and white. There are cases where taking whole trees can be justified; such as use of infected wood, from forestry thinning as part of standard forest management practices or when bringing neglected woodland back into management.
The problem is that sawmill residues and wood thinnings are already used - in MDF and plywood production, as horse bedding and so on. What he is saying is that the policy will involve pricing these industries out of the marketplace and throwing their employees on the dole. Meanwhile, carbon that was previously sequestered when it was used for construction applications, is diverted into the atmosphere as CO2.
This is, not to put too fine a point on it, quite mad.
Bernie Bulkin's CV makes interesting reading too. This comes from is web page at Vantage Capital Partners, a company that makes 'substantial investments in energy innovation, energy efficiency', and where Mr Bulkin is an adviser:
Bernie retired from his role as Chief Scientist at BP (British Petroleum) in 2003. He spent 18 years at BP and its predecessor The Standard Oil Company, holding various positions in technology and business, including Chief Technology Officer. As BP’s Vice President for Environmental Affairs, he developed BP’s clean fuels strategy and led BP’s strategy and action plan on climate change. He helped to develop BP’s thinking about sustainability, what it means in an extractive company, and the organizational demands of sustainability in a large company. Bernie is a Professorial Fellow at Cambridge University, serves as a Commissioner for Energy and Transport at the UK Sustainable Development Commission and has been the host of the Environment on the Edge talk radio series. Bernie was recently appointed as Chair of the Office of Renewable Energy Deployment (ORED) in the United Kingdom
A fascinating dual role in my opinion.