BellonaBrief: The carbon negative solution – incentivising Bio-CCS in Europe


Authors: Marika Andersen

Publisher: Bellona Europa

The latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC 5AR, 2014) issued a stark warning: to stand a reasonable chance of avoiding disastrous climate change, we have to remain within a ‘safe’ level of CO2 emissions so that average global temperature rise is limited to 2°C. Doing so will require carbon negative solutions like Bio-CCS/BECCS.

Half of the CO2 ‘budget’ that allows us to remain within this threshold has already been used, and at current rates the remainder will be exhausted within the next 25 years. There are already far more proven reserves of fossil fuels than can be safely burned. Overshoot could lead to uncontrollable and deeply destructive climatic changes.

The IPCC’s scenarios therefore now rely on negative emissions to keep temperature rise below 2°C.

Negative emissions are achieved when excess CO2 is removed from the atmosphere. This is attainable through the combination of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) and conversion of sustainable biomass into energy or products, so-called Bio-CCS (or BECCS, Bio-Energy with CCS, when limited to the energy sector).

The message from the IPCC cannot be misunderstood: Bio-CCS is going to be a critical safeguard against disastrous climate change; we must act now to assure its two components, CCS and sustainable biomass supply, are incentivised and widely deployed.

This brief aims to outline how Bio-CCS works in practice and how it can be incentivised.

BellonaBrief The carbon negative solution