The output of this project is a policy brief, published by CEPS in the CEPS Policy Insights series on 19 August 2020, titled “Biomass and Climate Neutrality”.
The paper explores the role of sustainable biomass in meeting the 2030 target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as well as the objective of climate neutrality by 2050 in the European Green Deal. Biomass can fulfil a plethora of purposes, as a source of renewable energy and material substitution and as a carbon sink. It can even work towards negative emissions with the use of carbon capture and storage. To better understand the degree to which an uptake in biomass would be feasible and desirable, the paper analyses some of the barriers that may restrict its availability and usage. These include the policy and regulatory environment, as well as the many trade-offs associated with the use of biomass and its impact on, among others, greenhouse gas emissions, the environment, biodiversity, land use and food security. Recognising the complexity of these issues, the paper concludes that it will be beneficial to assess biomass use distinctively based on type and end use, especially when it comes to woody biomass, which is associated with some of the most intricate trade-offs. Ultimately, the desirability of further biomass deployment will be determined by a mix of economic, political and technological aspects.