BioEnergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS): A Dangerous Distraction from Meaningful Climate Action

A briefing from Biofuelwatch and Friends of the Earth Scotland (June 2020)

Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) is proposed by some as a way of drawing carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. However, BECCS is unproven, unjust and a dangerous distraction from the urgent task of reducing emissions at source.

The Scottish Government is currently developing an update to the Climate Change Plan, and proposes to develop BECCS in Scotland in order to reach negative emissions in the electricity sector. The government is also developing its recovery from Covid-19, and has stated that a green recovery will be at the core. A climate plan or economic recovery plan which relies on BECCS is simply not credible, and would likely result in climate targets being missed.

This briefing sets out a number of key issues with BECCS:
● There are no known examples of functioning or scaleable BECCS projects involving biomass combustion.
● BECCS is not inherently carbon- neutral or carbon- negative.
● Proposed BECCS plants in Scotland would require building new, unevidenced and large biomass plants that would be extremely expensive.
● BECCS requires significant land and agrochemical inputs which would have negative impacts on agriculture and biodiversity.
● BECCS distracts from the urgent transformation needed and diverts policy support and finance away from readily available solutions that have been proven to reduce emissions.