Particulate matter more serious than CO2

Particulate matter more serious than CO2

I would like to add to the letter by Mr. Fred Oud in your March 22 issue.

Firstly I am sitting in my house warmed by electricity from an hydro electric plant, not from Alberta thermal plants. Secondly, I like the smell of wood smoke and have no problem with wood burning.

That being said I take issue with wood burning being a carbon neutral process in some way superior to coal or oil burning. Burning of all fuels releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, along with particulate matter.

Fuels, wood, coal, oil, gas or biomass all depend upon the conversion of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and sulphur in some cases into heat, products of combustion and ash.

Those fuels with the lowest calorific value, wood and biomass, require more fuel to produce the same heat as those with higher calorific value.

CO2 in the atmosphere is taken up by plants and reconverted into carboniferous material, wood or biomass that is true, as it is also true for coal , oil and gas although the process takes much longer.

The combustion products are always, CO2 or CO if the fuel air ratio in incorrect, and it usually is in wood stoves, SO2 and N2, H2O and ash; the byproduct is heat.

The aim of the anti fuel burning cabal is the reduction of CO2. I personally believe the ash or particulate matter is the more deleterious product causing respiratory problems, which are on the increase. The cabal should focus on the reduction of particulates before focusing on the CO2 level.

In the 1930s some British scientist determined that the CO2 percentage in the atmosphere was 3.1 per cent or thereabouts, and the population was two billion persons. Now the population is seven billion. Do the math; each person expels about two litres of CO2 each breath, times 20 breaths per minute, times 60 per hour times 24 per day times 365 days per year, times 7,000,000,000 times 80 years. This comes to quite a lot of litres. ( 1,177,344 x 10 the 19th power.) The CO2 percentage these days is about 3.7 per cent. Perhaps we should pop off a few people — but perhaps I am being facetious .

Fuel burning is not the problem if the CO2 level is really a problem and not just an excuse to tax.

J. Shipp

Ladysmith