Systematic under- and overestimation of GHG reductions in renewable biomass systems
- 360 Downloads
This paper identifies a critical systematic error in greenhouse gas accounting in renewable biomass systems. While CO2 emissions from renewable biomass energy systems are generally considered to have a net impact of 0, no similar adjustment is made for carbon-based products of incomplete combustion, such as methane, in renewable systems. This results in an under- or overestimation of the impact of CH4 by 12.3% and CO by ∼478% in renewable systems. This error is propagated both in scientific studies and in carbon accounting policies. We advocate first for full-carbon accounting of biomass-derived emissions, but also provide adjusted global warming impacts for emissions from proven renewable systems.
KeywordsLife Cycle Assessment Clean Development Mechanism Global Warming Potential Biomass Fuel Life Cycle Assess
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- DeLuchi MA (1991) Emissions of greenhouse gases from the use of transportation fuels and electricity, vol 1: summary. Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, pp 77–78Google Scholar
- Forster PV, Ramaswamy V, Artaxo P, Berntsen T, Betts R, Fahey DW, Haywood J, Lean J, Lowe DC, Myhre G, Nganga J, Prinn R, Raga G, Schulz M, Van Dorland R (2007) Changes in atmospheric constituents and in radiative forcing. In: Solomon SD et al (eds) Climate change 2007: the physical science basis. Contribution of working group I to the fourth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 129–234Google Scholar
- Gold Standard (2010) Methodology for improved cook-stoves and kitchen regimes, vol 2. Geneva, SwitzerlandGoogle Scholar
- IPCC (2006) IPCC guidelines for national greenhouse gas inventories. National Greenhouse Gas Inventories Programme, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, Tokyo, JapanGoogle Scholar
- MacCarty N, Ogle D, Still D (2008) A laboratory comparison of the global warming impact of five major types of biomass cooking stoves. Energy Sustain Dev 12:5–14Google Scholar
- UNFCCC (2007) Grid-connected electricity generation using biomass from newly developed dedicated plantations. AM0042/version 02, sectoral scopes: 01 & 14, Clean Development Mechanism Executive Board 35Google Scholar
- UNFCCC (2009) Energy efficiency measures in thermal applications of non-renewable biomass. II.G./version 02, sectoral scope: 03, Clean Development Mechanism Executive Board 51Google Scholar
- Whitman TW (2010) Biochar as a carbon sequestration mechanism: decomposition, modelling, and policy. Unpublished master’s thesis, Cornell University, IthacaGoogle Scholar