Climate Change Effects of Biomass and Bioenergy Systems

Brussels, Belgium 2010

Greenhouse gas emissions from bioenergy systems: impacts of timing, issues of responsibility

Brussels, Belgium, March 8th – 10th, 2010

Jointly organised by

Task 38 – Greenhouse Gas Balances of Biomass and Bioenergy Systems

Scope and objectives of the conference

The IEA Bioenergy Task38 conference on Greenhouse gas emissions from bioenergy systems: impacts of timing, issues of responsibility consists of two days of presentation and discussion on issues including

  • How can indirect land use change due to bioenergy be quantified and managed?
  • What is the impact of timing of GHG emissions from land use change, and emission reductions and sequestration associated with bioenergy systems?
  • Who should take responsibility for GHG emissions due to land use change associated with bioenergy?
  • Can policy mechanisms be used to recognize impacts of timing, and issues of responsibility?

The goals of the conference were:

  • Share knowledge and increase understanding of the impacts of timing and issues of responsibility for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from bioenergy systems.
  • Draft a summary document including recommendations, that will be circulated broadly, and presented to the IEA Bioenergy Executive Committee.
  • Convey the key points and recommendations in a briefing paper for policy-makers, to inform negotiations toward the post-2012 climate change agreement.
  • Enhance an informal alliance of researchers interested in these topics, currently known as the “Graz Group”, that will continue to discuss these issues and work together to draft journal papers and briefing papers for policy-makers

Final workshop summary (PDF-file 97kB)



Session 1: Introduction, background, methodological issues

Keynote address: Adding when to the what, where, if and why of biofuels’ indirect climate effects – and adding others to the list of usual suspects. – Michael O´Hare, University of California at Berkeley, USA

Is bioenergy carbon neutral? An overview of the work of IEA Bioenergy Task 38 on GHG balances of biomass and bioenergy systems. – Annette Cowie, IEA Bioenergy Task 38 Management, National Centre for Rural Greenhouse Gas Research, Australia

Session 2: Issues of Responsibility

The net-benefit of bioenergy for climate change mitigation. – Alexander Popp, Potsdam-Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany

Better use of biomass for energy. IEA RETD / IEA Bioenergy Position Paper. – Uwe Fritsche, Oeko Institute, Germany

Preserving the world’s tropical forests: A price on carbon may not do. – Martin Persson, Chalmers University, Sweden

Global Bioenergy Partnership: Version zero of the methodological framework for GHG LCA of bioenergy. – Horst Fehrenbach, Institut für Energie- und Umweltforschung IFEU, Germany

The EU Renewable Energy Directive and its implementation, including addressing indirect land use change. – Catherine Bowyer, Institute for European Environmental Policy, United Kingdom

Methodological issues on GHG emission calculations. – Paul Hodson, European Commission, DG TREN, Brussels

Intensification of agriculture for bioenergy: Impacts on GHG emissions and biodiversity. – Jan Ros, Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, The Netherlands

Opportunities and complications in the transition towards a sustainable bio-based economy. – Leen Gorissen, VITO, Belgium

Sustainable biomass imports – Challenges for GHG LCA methodology implementation within an operational verification procedure. – Chrystelle Verhoest, Laborelec, Belgium

Session 3: Impacts of timing

Invited address: Reassessing optimal climate-change mitigation strategies through more explicit consideration of the role of time in impact assessments. – Miko Kirschbaum, Landcare Research, New Zealand

On the timing of greenhouse gas emissions. – Neil Bird, IEA Bioenergy Task 38 Management, Joanneum Research, Austria

CO2 perturbation and associated global warming potentials following emissions from biofuel based on wood. – Glen Peters, Center for International Climate and Environmental Research, Norway

Radiative forcing effects of forest fertilization and biomass substitution. – Roger Sathre, Leif Gustavsson, Mid Sweden University, Sweden

Improved time accounting in the estimation of GHG emissions from indirect land use change. – Jesper Hedal Kløverpris, Novozymes A/S, Denmark

Future Bioenergy and Sustainable Land Use. The vision of the German Advisory Council on Global Change. – Michael Sterner, Fraunhofer IWES, University of Kassel, Germany

Excursion Wednesday, 10 March 2010

The full day study tour took participants to


List of Participants

List of Participants (PDF)

Click on thumbnails to enlarge pictures