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Title: Transatlantic wood pellet trade demonstrates telecoupled benefits

European demand for renewable energy resources has led to rapidly increasing transatlantic exports of wood pellets from the southeastern United States (SE US) since 2009. Disagreements have arisen over the global greenhouse gas reductions associated with replacing coal with wood, and groups on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean have raised concerns that increasing biomass exports might negatively affect SE US forests and the ecosystem services they provide. We use the telecoupling framework to test assertions that the intended benefits of the wood pellet trade for Europe might be offset by negative consequences in the SE US. Through a review of current literature and available data sets, we characterize the observed and potential changes in the environmental, social, and economic components of the sending and receiving regions to assess the overall sustainability of this renewable energy system. We conclude that the observed transatlantic wood pellet trade is an example of a mutually beneficial telecoupled system with the potential to provide environmental and socioeconomic benefits in both the SE US and Europe despite some negative effects on the coal industry. We recommend continued monitoring of this telecoupled system to quantify the environmental, social, and economic interactions and effects in the sending,more » receiving, and spillover systems over time so that evidence-based policy decisions can be made with regard to the sustainability of this renewable energy pathway.« less
Authors:
ORCiD logo [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ; ORCiD logo [4]
  1. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States); Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (United States). Bredesen Center
  2. Michigan State Univ., East Lansing, MI (United States). Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability
  3. Michigan Technological Univ., Houghton, MI (United States). School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science
  4. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States); Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
AC05-00OR22725
Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Ecology and Society
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 23; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 1708-3087
Publisher:
Resilience Alliance
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Bioenergy Technologies Office (EE-3B)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; 32 ENERGY CONSERVATION, CONSUMPTION, AND UTILIZATION; bioenergy; biopower; climate change; ecosystem services; Europe; forest management; renewable energy; Southeast US; sustainability; wood pellets
OSTI Identifier:
1424462

Parish, Esther S., Herzberger, Anna J., Phifer, Colin C., and Dale, Virginia H.. Transatlantic wood pellet trade demonstrates telecoupled benefits. United States: N. p., Web. doi:10.5751/ES-09878-230128.
Parish, Esther S., Herzberger, Anna J., Phifer, Colin C., & Dale, Virginia H.. Transatlantic wood pellet trade demonstrates telecoupled benefits. United States. doi:10.5751/ES-09878-230128.
Parish, Esther S., Herzberger, Anna J., Phifer, Colin C., and Dale, Virginia H.. 2018. "Transatlantic wood pellet trade demonstrates telecoupled benefits". United States. doi:10.5751/ES-09878-230128. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1424462.
@article{osti_1424462,
title = {Transatlantic wood pellet trade demonstrates telecoupled benefits},
author = {Parish, Esther S. and Herzberger, Anna J. and Phifer, Colin C. and Dale, Virginia H.},
abstractNote = {European demand for renewable energy resources has led to rapidly increasing transatlantic exports of wood pellets from the southeastern United States (SE US) since 2009. Disagreements have arisen over the global greenhouse gas reductions associated with replacing coal with wood, and groups on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean have raised concerns that increasing biomass exports might negatively affect SE US forests and the ecosystem services they provide. We use the telecoupling framework to test assertions that the intended benefits of the wood pellet trade for Europe might be offset by negative consequences in the SE US. Through a review of current literature and available data sets, we characterize the observed and potential changes in the environmental, social, and economic components of the sending and receiving regions to assess the overall sustainability of this renewable energy system. We conclude that the observed transatlantic wood pellet trade is an example of a mutually beneficial telecoupled system with the potential to provide environmental and socioeconomic benefits in both the SE US and Europe despite some negative effects on the coal industry. We recommend continued monitoring of this telecoupled system to quantify the environmental, social, and economic interactions and effects in the sending, receiving, and spillover systems over time so that evidence-based policy decisions can be made with regard to the sustainability of this renewable energy pathway.},
doi = {10.5751/ES-09878-230128},
journal = {Ecology and Society},
number = 1,
volume = 23,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {1}
}