Friday, January 25, 2013

The Washington Post Gets Black Carbon Story Wrong - Again

A prominent story by Juliet Eilperin that ran in the Washington Post on Jan. 15, 2013 said "wood-fired stoves" were one of the biggest contributors to black carbon. The author, a top-notch energy reporter, did not intend to refer to wood stoves used for heating, but that is exactly what many readers thought. She was covering a report about black carbon that talked about open burning of biomass and traditional cookstoves as primary sources of black carbon.

A year ago, the Washington Post made the same error. On January 12, 2012, a story co-written by Eilperin referred to "eliminating wood-burning stoves" as one way to reduce black carbon and help slow global climate change. Again, she was analyzing a study that talked about the impact of wood cookstoves in the developing world.

The two issues could hardly be more opposite. One is a cause of black carbon and climate change (not to mention rampant deforestation, etc.) and the other can be an excellent renewable energy source that reduces fossil fuel use and mitigates climate change.

An EPA study found that only about 3% of all the black carbon emitted from the U.S. comes from wood stoves, and those are mainly the older, non-EPA certified appliances. Modern wood and pellet stoves emit virtually no black carbon.

(The Alliance for Green Heat contacted Ms. Eilperin and had a very productive dialogue. She urged the editors to publish our letter to the editor, but they did not do so.)

No comments:

Post a Comment