CCC urges more work on bioenergy and CCS

The highly influential Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has urged the Government to back bioenergy and carbon capture in a new report.

In Bioenergy Review, released today (December 7), the CCC claims boosting bioenergy to 10% share of all energy across the UK ‘could be required’ to meet 2050 emission targets.

However, current levels are only 2% and the CCC says any increase would need to be coupled with Carbon Capture and Storage (CSS).

In the report the committee makes five key recommendations to the Government:

·Regulatory frameworks should be strengthened to ensure sustainability of bioenergy.

·CCS should be demonstrated as a matter of urgency.

·Government should regard targets on biofuels and biomass as flexible and should delay setting any new targets.

·Subsidies should not be provided to new large scale biomass power generation under the Renewables Obligation.

·Other low carbon options should be developed.

The report also states the role of bioenergy in climate change mitigation is ‘controversial’ and also illustrates what it calls the ‘significant uncertainties’ around its use.

But, taking these into account, the committee assessed where bioenergy might best be used to support the UK.

CCC chief executive, David Kennedy, said: “The extent to which bioenergy should contribute to economy decarbonisation is highly controversial.

“Our analysis shows there is a crucial role for bioenergy in meeting carbon budgets, but within strict sustainability limits – and trade-offs with wider environmental and social objectives may be needed.

“Strengthening of regulatory arrangements is required both here and in Europe to provide confidence that bioenergy used over the next decade is sustainable.

“CCS should be demonstrated and demonstration projects commenced given the crucial role of this technology when used with bioenergy to meet carbon budgets.

The Government should change its approach to supporting new biomass power generation, which as proposed could raise costs with limited carbon benefits.”

The findings of the bioenergy review will feed in to the Government’s new bioenergy strategy and to the Committee’s advice on the inclusion of international aviation and shipping in carbon budgets which will be published in spring 2012.

Read the full report here.

Luke Walsh

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