Systematic under- and overestimation of GHG reductions in renewable biomass systems
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
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