Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Correspondance re Wood heating

Email from a first post I am with you with wrappings. I feel so guilty about them. Actually, not just presents, but everything.I remember when I was a little boy my mother always carried a shopping bag made of some cloth. Nowadays in Japan, grocery stores encourages customers to bring their own bags,but most of the time, it is forgotten. Also my kids' favorite restaurant - McD's. Everything is used only once and gets thrown away. Where we live in Tokyo, garbage collection is very tidious - we have collection every day, but we must separate paper, plastics, non-burnables, recyclables, etc., etc. (I do not knowthe details for Susan does it). We must cut open the milk cartons and wash them and recycle at grocery stores. These are really pain in the butt - however, I think we mustreally be careful about not much as possible. We had record number of typhoons hit us last year. Very unusual heat in summer and unusual storm in winter. I thinkthis is all due to humans messing with the nature too much. But, you have to realize that the US emits over 1/3 of all CO2 made in the globe. If the Americans do not start doingwhat we do, it does not matter how much the Japanese and Europeans saves. Do you know that your country is practically the only one that is not signing the Kyoto Protocol( Even Mr. Putin signed it recently. S. fell in love with the idea of wood stove when we lived in Utsunomiya (100 km up north from here). Her friend had it and she decided it was very wonderful and must have it. As she wrote in the Christmas card, we are getting our house face lifted. I think the room in which we will be installing the woodstove will be done in March, so we won't be able to enjoy it until next winter. We may not cook things inside it, but we will definitely use it toheat water (which will keep the house with humidity) and probably dry wet things so I don't have to feel too guilty about geopardizing the CO2 emission.By the way, you live in the vicinity of Boston? If so, then maybe we can get together when I visit it next time. Cheers, Tadahiro Here is my reply... If you do get a wood stove, you can run it guilt-free. Firewood comes usually from forestry waste: The wood which is not suitable for lumber or paper would either be burned or would rot on the ground. Either way the carbon ends up in the atmosphere. Of course, it is not as if you would leave your house cold--anything you heat with will put carbon into the air. (Except for electric when it is generated from nuclear power plants.) Concerning carbon: The figures I have seen are that the USA contribues about 25% of global carbon-- which is about in line with our share of global gdp. This does not take into account the carbon we are currently impounding due to the reforestation of the Eastern half of the country. Before modern transportation, almost all of the land in this part of the country was cleared and farmed--even though the land and climate are not very good. Now we get our agricultural products from the great plains or from overseas and the Eastern farms are abandoned and returning to forest land. This reforestation is sequestering millions of tonnes of carbon per year. It is certainly the case that [CO2] has been increasing in the last 100 years. What is less clear is how this will effect our planet. It may be that this bit of extra carbon is currently staving-off the next ice age (which is due about now) It is also possible that increased CO2 is what causes ice ages--we do not know. What seems most practical is to continue to research the issue and take no action untill we are sure it is the right action. Recycling for us is not too much of a problem--everything goes in one bin. Cardboard is just a hassle since the pieces are always too big to fit into the bin and have lots of bulk and angles. If your wood stove will be ready next winter, now is the time to start >laying-in fuel: If you are doing remodeling, the wood construction scrap makes excellent kindling for starting fires. If you have trees on your land that have fallen or need to be thinned, that is a good source of fuel and the wood will need the time to dry out. Best regards, dbp