Comment on CCC land use and biomass reports

Commenting on reports released today (15 November) by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) on land use and biomass, Richard Black, Director of the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU), said, on land use: “The report makes clear that bringing climate change into farming can generate real win-win options. In particular, increasing agricultural productivity to levels seen in France and the Netherlands would increase food output while also freeing up land for trees and energy crops.

“This in turn would begin to make negative emissions a reality, allowing the UK to move down the road to delivering a net zero economy and ending its contribution to climate change. But it is also clear that this will not happen without leadership from Government, with Defra playing a central role in combining policies on food, nature and climate change.”

On biomass, Dr Jonathan Marshall, Head of Analysis at the ECIU said:

"Increasing woodland cover in the UK opens the door to sourcing biomass domestically, cutting down on process emissions and giving the technology more rights to use the term ‘low carbon’. With the UK in a good position to lead the charge on BECCS – in which biomass burning is linked with carbon capture, resulting in net-negative emissions – this potential should not be overlooked.

“The potential for biofuels beyond the electricity sector is also set to grow as the UK heads towards a net-zero emissions economy. However, with uncertainty over the true sustainability of biomass currently burned in the UK, it is vital that environmental criteria are met, and that food crops are not displaced."