Skip to main content

Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Sequestration (BECCS): The Distracting Injustice of an Infeasible and Unlikely Technofix

Abstract

In their constant attempt to avoid responsibility, polluters promote technological innovation as the ‘true’ solution to global warming. This article, through the case of BECCS, illustrates all that is faulty with such reasoning, and how indulging such diversion from addressing the environmental crisis with science-backed solutions violates human rights and the SDGs, and evidently, deepens the crisis and postpones the responsibility of making inconvenient changes to future generations.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Notes

  1. https://www.cslforum.org/cslf/sites/default/files/documents/Publications/BECCS_Task_Force_Report_2018-04-04.pdf.

  2. https://www.biofuelwatch.org.uk/2015/beccs-report/.

  3. Corn ethanol refineries use fermentation, which releases some carbon in a relatively pure and easily captured form. However, doing so is by no means a ‘carbon negative’ process since only a small portion of carbon is captured, and refineries generally run on fossil fuels, emitting far more carbon than what is captured.

  4. https://globalnews.ca/news/4100577/carbon-capture-operation-and-maintenance-costs-grow-by-nearly-15m-in-four-years/.

  5. https://www.desmogblog.com/2017/08/08/southern-company-fraud-allegations-kemper-clean-coal-project.

  6. https://thinkprogress.org/clean-coal-isnt-real-eda3e2841060/.

  7. Reviewed in: Last ditch climate option or wishful thinking? Biofuelwatch report, 2015.

  8. https://www.fhi.no/en/publ/2011/co2-capture-health-effects-of-amine/.

  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19900885.

  10. https://www.nature.com/articles/srep15991.

  11. https://www.biofuelwatch.org.uk/biomass-resources/resources-on-biomass/.

  12. https://www.dropbox.com/s/l8sx5bl0h02x395/UPDATE%20800%20signatures_Scientist%20Letter%20on%20EU%20Forest%20Biomass.pdf?dl=0.

  13. https://www.desmog.co.uk/2019/07/17/comment-policymakers-shouldn-t-trust-drax-s-bizarre-tree-burning-climate-solution.

  14. https://www.dogwoodalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/NRDC_2014-2017Booklet_DigitalVersion-resize.pdf.

  15. https://www.drax.com/press_release/europes-first-bioenergy-carbon-capture-storage-pilot-now-underway/.

  16. https://www.drax.com/press_release/drax-help-keep-fizz-drinks-sector/.

  17. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10584-012-0682-3.

  18. https://www.biofuelwatch.org.uk/2012/biomass_myth_report/.

  19. http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2013/01/02/1213163110.

  20. https://www.grain.org/article/entries/4653-land-grabbing-for-biofuels-must-stop.

  21. http://biofuelwatch.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/eucalyptus-plantations-for-energy-online.pdf.

  22. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/309383829_Biofuels_and_the_hazards_of_land_grabbing_Tenure_insecurity_and_indigenous_farmers%27_investment_decisions_in_Ghana.

  23. http://portal.unesco.org/en/ev.php-URL_ID=13178&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html.

  24. http://www.biofuelwatch.org.uk/2015/beccs-report/.

  25. https://energypost.eu/17433-2/.

References

  • Aha, Bismark, and Jonathan Z. Ayitey. 2017. Biofuels and the hazards of land-grabbing: Tenure (in)security and indigenous farmers’ investment decisions in Ghana. Land Use Policy 60: 48–59.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Anderson, Kevin. 2015. Talks in the City of Light Generate More Heat. Nature 528: 437.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Fuss, Sabine, Josep G. Canadell, Glen P. Peters, Massimo Tavoni, Robbie M. Andrew, Philippe Ciais, Robert B. Jackson, Chris D. Jones, Florian Kraxner, Nebosja Nakicenovic, Corinne Le Quéré, Michael R. Raupach, Ayyoob Sharifi, Pete Smith, and Yoshiki Yamagata. 2014. Betting on negative emissions. Nature Climate Change 4: 850–853.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Goncalves de Souza, Ivonete and Winfridus Overbeek. 2013. Eucalyptus Plantations for Energy. Case study. Biomass: The Chain of Destruction, 1-20.  Biofuelwatch report.

  • Hansen, J., et al. 2017. Young people’s burden: Requirement of negative CO2 emissions. Earth System Dynamics 8(577–616): 2.

    Google Scholar 

  • Smith, Lydia J., and Margaret S. Torn. 2013. Ecological limits to terrestrial carbon dioxide removal. Climatic Change 118: 89–103.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Tollefson, Jeff. 2015. The 2 °C dream. Nature 527: 436–438.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Rachel Smolker.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Smolker, R. Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Sequestration (BECCS): The Distracting Injustice of an Infeasible and Unlikely Technofix. Development 62, 13–18 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41301-019-00213-4

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/s41301-019-00213-4

Keywords

  • BECCS
  • Bioenergy
  • Carbon capture
  • Carbon negative
  • Environment
  • Sequestration
  • SDGs