Combining bioenergy with CCS: reporting and accounting for negative emissions under UNFCC and the Kyoto Protocol

Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) is a carbon reduction technology that offers permanent net removal of CO2 from the atmosphere. The benefits inherent within this technology are currently receiving increased attention from policy makers. To facilitate the development of appropriate policy incentives, this paper reviews the treatment of such 'negative emissions' under current and planned international carbon accounting frameworks. It finds that, while current frameworks provide limited guidance, proposed and revised guidelines could provide an environmentally sound reporting framework for BECCS. However, the paper also notes that, as they currently stand, new guidelines do not tackle a critical issue that has implications for all biomass energy systems, namely the overall carbon footprint of biomass production and use. It recommends that, to the best extent possible, all carbon impacts of BECCS are fully reflected in carbon reporting and accounting systems under the UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol.