I’m feeling a bit guilty, having read an article from New Scientist about the pollution that may be caused by wood burning stoves. I’ve been thinking that it might be time to get a new car but diesels are off the list because of the particulates they emit (and also because we don’t presently do enough miles to give a diesel engine enough running to warm up and run efficiently). Now it turns out that the wood burning stove we had put in a couple of years ago may also be less environmentally friendly than assumed. I’d seen similar headlines elsewhere but this was my first time to read in more detail.
I will have to watch how this story develops. The saving grace may be balance. All the wood I burn is locally sourced, unpainted and properly dried over time by the process of splitting and stacking. If you transport your wood from far-off forests (transport costs and carbon importing), use painted wood (more nasty chemicals going up the chimney) and kiln-dried (massive prior energy inputs) or wet (lots more smoke) logs it is worse. I also get plenty of exercise from sawing and chopping – all by hand. Still, something to be mindful of next time I want to criticise someone with a gas guzzling car or other habit that I’d more comfortably identify as having environmental downsides.