Discourage or encourage the use of trees, forest waste, and agricultural crops to create energy. Bioenergy is energy produced from the burning, or combustion, of living organic material as solids (e.g., wood pellets), liquids (e.g., ethanol), or gas (e.g., methane from decomposition). There are a variety of sources, some of which can be sustainable and others which can be worse than burning coal.
- Public information campaigns that criticize sources of bioenergy that are not sustainable and raise public concerns about the downsides of bioenergy.
Government incentives and/or targets to convert land into growing feedstocks that provide the plant material and biomass needed to produce bioenergy.
Research, development, and investment into new technologies that can produce new forms of biofuels, and vehicles and industry that can use or support these biofuels.
- Bioenergy is not a high leverage response to climate change – while it uses a renewable resource, it still emits large amounts of carbon dioxide and faces supply constraints with scale up.
As bioenergy is subsidized or taxed, notice that the temperature changes very little and demand does not change as much as other energy sources do. The main constraint on bioenergy is the amount of biomass that is available each year to be turned into energy. This limitation means that there are only small changes to other energy sources, if bioenergy is subsidized.
Bioenergy is only zero-carbon if the biomass is regrown to account for the carbon emitted. This is not guaranteed, and in some areas, bioenergy is produced from trees, which take decades to regrow to make up for the carbon released when burned.
Bioenergy carbon capture and storage (BECCS BECCS: Bioenergy with carbon capture and storage. An experimental method of energy generation and technological carbon dioxide removal. BECCS entails burning biomass for energy, capturing the CO2 emissions, storing the emissions long-term, and successfully re-growing any used biomass to result in a process that stores more carbon than it releases. BECCS relies on the success of emerging technologies and availability of sustainable sources of biomass.) is proposed as a way to remove additional carbon from the atmosphere. For this to benefit the climate, the biomass used would need to be fully regrown and the emissions captured when the biomass is burned to produce energy. This has yet to be proven feasible at large scales. BECCS can be controlled under the “Technological Carbon Removal” sliders and assumptions.
Potential Co-Benefits of Discouraging Bioenergy🔗
- Crops and arable land are freed for other uses, such as food production, when bioenergy is discouraged.
- Leaving sources of biomass biomass: Organic (carbon-based) material that comes from living organisms such as plants and can be used as fuel. Examples include wood, corn, or crop residues such as the stalks left after harvesting. intact, like forests, enables biodiversity to be preserved.
- A reduction in biomass burning can improve indoor and outdoor air quality from reduced soot and particulates.
- Bioenergy can accelerate deforestation deforestation: The clearing of trees, transforming a forest into cleared land, often through burning and removing forests to make land available for crops like soybeans, corn, or palm oil. through dependence on wood for fuels or through the expansion of bioenergy crops, particularly in the tropics. Less deforestation has many benefits including additional carbon sequestration.
- Land used for bioenergy crops can reduce land availability for food production and compromise food security.
- Farmer livelihoods can be severely impacted by shifting agriculture markets, so steps should be taken to help workers and farmers transition to shifting crop demands.
The Bioenergy slider is divided into 5 input levels: highly taxed, taxed, status quo, subsidized, and highly subsidized. Each of the energy supply sliders (Coal, Oil, Natural Gas, Bioenergy, Nuclear, and Renewables) is set to reflect a similar percentage cost increase or decrease for each input level. The following table displays the numerical ranges for each input level of the Bioenergy slider:
|highly taxed||taxed||status quo||subsidized||highly subsidized|
|Change in price per barrel of oil equivalent (boe)||+$30 to +$15||+$15 to +$5||+$5 to -$5||-$5 to -$15||-$15 to -$30|
|Cost increase or decrease||+60% to +30%||+30% to +10%||+10% to -10%||-10% to -30%||-30% to -60%|
- This sector tracks several stages of bioenergy installations, or energy supply capacity including: capacity under development, under construction, and actually producing energy, as well as the delays between each stage.
- Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) is controlled separately under the Technological Carbon Removal slider. However, a large breakthrough cost reduction in bioenergy can result in BECCS increasing as it becomes cost competitive with other sources.
- Future modeling in this sector will add more refinement to the ways the bioenergy supply is characterized and include stronger links to the amount of available land.
Please visit support.climateinteractive.org for additional inquiries and support.