Equal Opportunity for Biomass in Greenhouse Gas Accounting of CO2 Capture and Storage: A Step Towards More Cost-Effective Climate Change Mitigation Regimes
Carbon dioxide capture and permanent storage (CCS) is one of the most frequently discussed technologies with the potential to mitigate climate change. The natural target for CCS has been the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil energy sources. However, CCS has also been suggested in combination with biomass during recent years. Given that the impact on the earth's radiative balance is the same whether CO2 emissions of a fossil or a biomass origin are captured and stored away from the atmosphere, we argue that an equal reward should be given for the CCS, independent of the origin of the CO2. The guidelines that provide assistance for the national greenhouse gas (GHG) accounting under the Kyoto Protocol have not considered CCS from biomass (biotic CCS) and it appears that it is not possible to receive emission credits for biotic CCS under the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, i.e., 2008–2012. We argue that it would be unwise to exclude this GHG mitigation alternative from the competition with other GHG mitigation options. We also propose a feasible approach as to how emission credits for biotic CCS could be included within a future accounting framework.