Congress is
in Action

New legislation could raise or lower the cost of wood pellets by as much as $50/ton.

The Alliance for Green Heat is an independent non-profit environmental organization working for you and other homeowners with biomass heating systems.

Skip Navigation LinksHome - For Our Globe - Climate Change

Why are wood pellets carbon neutral?

To some, it is not initially clear why wood pellets are a carbon neutral fuel, but they are indeed recognized as such by the Kyoto Protocol and by renewable energy policies in the United States.

Why is this? It is because all above ground carbon returns to the atmosphere through decomposition if not through combustions. In other words, if the proverbial ‘tree falls in the forest’, normal decomposition of the log will return the carbon from the log to the atmosphere. When wood pellets are burned in a pellet stove, pellet boiler or pellet furnace, the same carbon returns to the atmosphere. But unlike a propane, electric or oil heating system, no fossil fuels are brought up from underground to accelerate climate change.

In fact, it is actually true that combustion in a modern pellet appliance is cleaner than organic decomposition in a forest, in that normally rotting wood gives off significant amounts of methane, which is more than 25 times as potent as carbon dioxide, from the perspective of global warming.

Learn why it is important that forests are harvested sustainably