There are some very peculiar, repeated, arguments in ekathimerini (the Greek generally pro government news source) about the 'health dangers' of burning wood to keep warm, e.g.:
…Democratic Left, for its part, issued a series of suggestions for reducing the smog and making heating oil more accessible. These include conducting a public awareness campaign of the health risks of increased air pollution and making more households eligible for a state subsidy for heating oil.
…and they have the cheek to cite 'scientific' evidence. They contrast this to using their favorite fuel, oil and electricity (electricity is a carrier not a source of energy, electricity is often generated by oil or other fossil fuel power stations). Not only are these reports incorrect in a sly way (they only report half the data that could be available) they also, perniciously, pile even more pressure upon the suffering Greeks who need to keep warm in the winter and who cannot afford the endless tax rises, by trying to make them guilty. We suspect the paper is government biased and connected with the fuel oil/electricity industry. Perhaps some more of Papaconstaninou's relatives are on the boards of the electricity companies, you might think they would be more careful with their propaganda after this scandal, one of them removed from the Lagarde list was on the board for privatizations, and what does that tell us?
Wood burning is clean energy. It is sustainable. Growing trees is good for the environment; it produces oxygen that we breathe and reduces carbon dioxide and combats the effects of global warming. More trees are good; more forests are good. If you have proper wood stoves the air pollution is extremely minimal, and the ash can be used in the garden for growing more good things, like food. This report claims thick smog is the result of the burning of wood. But it is burning fossil fuel that causes these problems. I happen to live in an area of big forests in France where logs are a main source of winter heating. It is managed excellently. The danger to these forests is the acid rain that comes from German industry, making cars that also pollute, and which kills the trees.
The amount of money you can save by burning wood instead of fossil fuels depends on several factors but the savings typically pay off the new wood burning stove or boiler within a year or two. In addition to lowering your expenses for heating such as electricity prices, you will also help reduce carbon dioxide emissions and subsequently help combat the climate change.
The financial and environmental benefits are probably good enough reasons to switch to wood fuel but large scale replacement of fossil fuels by wood fuel would bring a number of benefits for the country as a whole as well. Despite the fact that the UK is one of the least forested countries in the European Union, the Forestry Commission has estimated that additional 2 million tonnes of wood could be harvested by year 2020 which is approximately one half of unharvested wood in England.
Despite the fact that wood burning emits carbon dioxide as well it does not increase the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere nor the greenhouse effect. The amount of carbon dioxide that is released during wood burning simply equals the amount of carbon dioxide that was absorbed during the tree growth which makes wood fuel carbon neutral. In addition, wood fuel can be regrown in few years. Carbon dioxide that is released during fossil fuel burning cannot be recaptured, while all fossil fuels are non renewable energy sources which means that one day we will simply run out.
Wood as fuel certainly has to be managed properly to get the best sustainable results, and burning logs is best after they are stacked to dry for at least two years, although it depends on the type of wood. Is Greece in an alternative universe where these things do not apply?
The downside to using logs is that the stoves require some attention, even those that are continuous fires and which will burn on overnight, you have to remove the ash and stoke them sometimes. But what is also quite funny is how some wood burning cookers and fires are in fact luxury items, extremely expensive, and obviously bought by the rich, who enjoy the ambience of a real fire.
For instance here: