Climate change refers to the long-term shifts in temperature and weather patterns. This is supposed to be normal, however, since the 1800s, human activities such as burning fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gas, and some other activities have become the main reason for these abnormal changes.
In general, human activities have produced heat-trapping gases called greenhouse gases. These gases in the atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide, trap heat similar to the glass roof of a greenhouse. And, the trapping of heat is called the greenhouse effect, which has caused concerns over global warming.
Listed below are some of the factors causing climate change, and later on, we’ll discuss which is worse than the other.
Main causes of climate change:
- Fossil fuels
- Increasing livestock farming
- Fertilizers containing nitrogen
- Fluorinated gases
And unknown to many, the next on the list is also a factor that causes climate change.
- Burning wood
Burning fossil fuels vs burning wood – which is worse for climate change?
Burning is one of the major contributors to climate change. So, let’s compare burning fossil fuels, as the first on the list, and burning wood, to know which is worse than the other.
Burning fossil fuels
There are three types of fossil fuels – coal, oil, and gas. What is their impact on our planet? When these fossil fuels are burned, they release large amounts of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, into the air. Greenhouse gases trap heat in our atmosphere, causing global warming. Emissions from fossil fuels are the dominant cause of global warming and coal is the dirtiest of the fossil fuels. Oil releases a huge amount of carbon when burned, and gas accounts for a fifth of the world’s total carbon emissions.
Additionally, fossil fuels also release nitrogen oxides when burned which contribute to the formation of smog and acid rain. They also pollute the environment and can be dangerous. The bottom line – the harmful effects on the environment make it the main driver of climate change.
Wood — unlike oil, coal, and natural gas — is not considered a fossil fuel. But decomposing trees do give off carbon dioxide, and so does burning firewood. Though some promote that burning wood is more naturally friendly, burning wood is not a solution to climate change. In fact, burning wood is bad for the climate.
What makes it harmful? First, burning wood emits more carbon dioxide than burning fossil fuels. Therefore, burning wood instead of fossil fuels will increase atmospheric carbon dioxide for decades, exactly when we need to be cutting emissions rapidly and dramatically. The problem gets worse if the scale of wood-burning is increased, as the forest products industry proposes.
Burning wood isn’t carbon neutral either. Burning wood for energy puts far more carbon dioxide into the air immediately than it removes, even if the wood displaces coal, the most carbon-intensive fossil fuel.
As mentioned above, emissions from fossil fuels contain large amounts of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, into the air, but burning wood emits more carbon dioxide, and that generally, makes it worse than burning fossil fuels. The verdict – even though most people believe that burning woods is the better option of the two, the truth is that burning is actually worse than using coal and gas.
By now, we all know that we can help our environment. From our form of transportation to the electricity we use, and even the food that we consume, by investing in energy efficiency and using energy sources that are carbon-free, instead of burning wood, these are some ways to stop these abnormal changes in the atmosphere.