The ongoing Fit For 55 discussions aim to increase Europe’s ambition in the fight against climate change, including the role of land in contributing to these efforts. As part of a larger debate on the role of negative emissions to complement emissions reductions, Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) is being debated amongst European stakeholders.
BECCS has been a controversial concept since being added as a central negative emissions technology in IPCC scenarios. This reality has not change. Recently the European Science Academies has pointed to the flaws in relying so heavily on an unproven technology that could “cement in place an unsustainable energy system”.
To break down these problem Fern has updated our briefing on the “Six problems with BECCS” to explain why BECCS:
- produces significant emissions
- has technical barriers and is expensive
- would require a huge amount of land and push up the price of food
- would harm biodiversity
- would take a huge amount of water and threaten planetary boundaries
- is a barrier to the energy transition
In deciding Europe’s path to low emissions, it is important to judge the risks and technical limitation of all decarbonization options. With the climate and biodiversity crises raging simultaneously, betting on BECCS risks incurring a debt we can never pay back.