Climate Change Effects of Biomass and Bioenergy Systems

Dubrovnik, Croatia 2007

Joint IEA Bioenergy Task 29, Task 38 and Task 40 Expert Consultation

Task 29 – Socio-Economic Drivers in Implementing Bioenergy Projects
Task 38 – Greenhouse Gas Balances of Biomass and Bioenergy Systems
Task 40 – Sustainable International Bioenergy Trade: Securing Supply and Demand

Dubrovnik Palace Hotel, Dubrovnik, Croatia
Thursday, 25th October 2007

Scope and objectives

IEA Bioenergy Tasks 29, 38 and 40 organized a joint expert consultation on “Sustainable Bioenergy” in Dubrovnik, 25-25 October 2007.

The use of biomass in Europe and other places is strongly increasing due to policies, such as the EU Bio-electricity directive, liquid biofuels directive, EU Emissions Trading System etc. One of the reasons for these policies is the attempt to meet the GHG targets in the Kyoto Protocol. These and other policies trigger an increase in biomass use in developing countries (CDM), and in industrialized countries. The latter obtain their biomass both from domestic, as well as use biomass that is traded internationally.

The issue of sustainability (including CO2 neutrality and non-GHG aspects) of biomass energy is a hot topic, both where biomass is traded, as well where it is used locally (CDM, increasingly also in industrialized countries). Increasingly, the impact of biomass on land use and land-use change is questioned. Examples include the spreading of oil-palm plantations in SE Asia, at the cost of natural forest ecosystems. Other impacts of increased biomass use could include increased agricultural commodity prices (soybean price increases observed recently, maize prices in Mexico).

On the other hand, biomass can offer many of the already well recognised social and economic benefits like employment and income generation, support to rural development and traditional industries, increased security of energy supply, reduced regional trade balance, and many others

Sustainable biomass is definitely not a new question and it also concerns biomass for pulp and paper, timber, and other purposes. Sustainable bioenergy will probably not be able to re-invent the wheel, but will have to be dealt with in a broader context of material and energy uses of biomass. Also, some of the existing tools, like FSC certification, CCBA, and others, may have to be used in ensuring and implementing sustainable biomass use.

The Expert Consultation has been organized in such a way that after a sequence of presentations for stimulation of the discussions, large space has been given to interactive discussions in 2 working groups, one on Global GHG sustainability and the other one on local environmental and socio-economic sustainability. The meeting ended with a plenary session, in which each working group presented their results and their proposals for further cooperations between involved IEA Bioenergy Tasks.

As output of this meeting a joint statement on sustainability of bioenergy is under preparation and will be documented here as soon as it is available.



Session 1: Global GHG sustainability

Global potential of sustainable biomass. – Andre Faaij, Utrecht University, The Netherlands

LCA tools/methodologies for GHG calculations in the RSB working group. – Marcel Gauch, EMPA, Switzerland

How the CDM deals with renewable and non-renewable biomass. – Bernhard Schlamadinger, Joanneum Research, Austria

Ensuring biofuels sustainability for the EU. – Ariane de Dominicis, European Commission

Biofuels certification and global potentials – Florian Kraxner, IIASA, Austria

GHG-sustainability of biomass and bioenergy: implications of system boundaries, uncertainties and dynamics. – Kim Pingoud, Sampo Soimakallio, VTT, Finland, and Leif Gustavsson Mid Sweden University, Sweden

Introducing RE-Impact: A new EuropeAid funded project to study the global and local impacts of bioenergy use in China, India, South Africa and Uganda. – Neil Bird, Joanneum Research, Austria

Session 2: Local environmental and socioeconomic sustainability

Do current forest certification schemes ensure sustainable woodfuel harvesting? – Inge Stupak, Forest and Landscape Denmark

The relevance of certification to managing for ecologically sustainable woodfuel production – Brenna Lattimore, Toronto University, Canada.

UNIDO and sustainable bioenergy: Industrial development perspective. – Fatin Ali Mohamed, UNIDO, Austria

Bioenergy and people in a modern society. – J. Domac, Energy Insitute Hrvoje Pozar, Croatia, and Keith Richards, TV Energy Ltd.,UK

Assessing socio-economic drivers for bioenergy and biomass supply. – Bill White, Natural Resources Canada, and Biljana Kulisic, Energy Insitute Hrvoje Pozar, Croatia

Views of the Irish bioenergy industry on targets, barriers, pitfalls and solutions. – Clifford Guest, Tipperary Institute, Thurles, Ireland

WWF view on the sustainability of biomass production. – Jean-Philippe Denruyter, WWF European Policy Office, Belgium

Meeting of the Working Groups

Working group 1 on Global GHG sustainability
Aims: collecting the state of knowledge and at answering the following questions:

  • In what terms can sustainability be defined on global level? What tools are there to ensure global sustainable biomass: certification, etc.?
  • Aspects of global GHG sustainability: carbon stock changes, efficient land use, transport emissions with biomass trade, emissions from fertilizers, all LCA aspects, JI/CDM projects.

Working group 2 on Local environmental and socio-economic sustainability
Aim: collecting the state of knowledge and at answering the following questions:

  • In what terms can sustainability be defined on local level? What tools are there to ensure local sustainable biomass certification, etc.?
  • Aspects of local environmental sustainability: biodiversity, water, nutrients, leaching, desertification
  • Aspects of local socio-economic sustainability: local jobs, competitio with local uses of biomass in case of exports, child labor, rural development, etc.



List of participants (PDF)