Why LULUCF cannot ensure that bioenergy reduces emissions

As part of work to produce a climate and energy package for 2030, the European Commission is currently reviewing the sustainability of all uses and sources of bioenergy for the period after 2020. The European Commission will also propose a new policy on how to include the land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) sector in the EU’s 2030 climate and energy framework. EU policy currently treats bioenergy as a carbon-neutral energy source. This claim that there are net zero carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions from bioenergy production is based on two main assumptions: CO₂ emissions from bioenergy combustion will be fully compensated by future growth of biomass; and emissions from biomass harvest are fully accounted for in the LULUCF sector. The European Commission’s own research has shown the first assumption to be false. This briefing explains that the second assumption also comes with large caveats. Many NGOs are seeking to improve LULUCF policy, but LULUCF in itself isn’t a sufficient policy tool to ensure that bioenergy use delivers robust and verifiable greenhouse gas savings’.