Negative emissions research

The negative emissions research of the Ecosystems Services and Management (ESM) Policy and Science Interface (PSI) group was further developed building on several past collaborations and previous biomass and carbon capture and storage (BECCS) workshops at IIASA, in Indonesia, Brazil, and Tokyo.

© Jarous | Dreamstime

© Jarous | Dreamstime

A BECCS workshop/session was co-organized and carried out in the framework of the 4th International Conference on Biomass Energy Technologies and the 8th World Bioenergy Symposium on 17-19 October 2014 in Changsha, China. A UN Development Programme policy recommendation paper is being prepared as one outcome of the workshop.

A direct outcome of the Global Carbon Project (GCP) Negative Emissions meeting in Japan (December 2013) was a 2014 initiative “Managing Global Negative Emissions Technologies” (MaGNET) was initiated. PSI is contributing substantially to its design.

PSI is co-authoring a concept paper on further research to address the existing uncertainties with negative emissions, published in Nature Climate Change in 2014 [1]. The article concluded that the needed development of consistent negative emissions narratives should not necessarily be seen as a call for large-scale BECCS deployment, but a call to carefully and quickly assess all dimensions of its use for climate stabilization. The top priority should be to determine how safe it is to bet on negative emissions in the second half of this century to avoid dangerous climate change [1] (see Figure 1).  

Figure 1: Carbon dioxide emission pathways until 2100 and the extent of net negative emissions and bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) in 2100. Historical emissions from fossil fuel combustion and industry (black) come primarily from the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center. They are compared with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) Working Group III emissions scenarios (pale colors) and to the four Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs) used to project climate change in the IPCC Working Group I contribution to AR5 (dark colours) [1] (click on image to enlarge).

BECCS research was also extended to East Asia, and a national study based on an assessment with the PSI Model BeWhere was carried out. The paper has been presented at the 6th International Conference on applied Energy – ICAE2014 [2]. The article concludes that by further developing the renewable energy pathway, Japan could substantially add to a more resilient and domestic resources-based energy sector. There is limited potential for direct negative emissions from bioenergy, but some of the coastal regions appear suitable for carbon storage. A higher potential could be achieved through off-shore carbon storage and enhanced cross-border collaboration, for example, with South Korea (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Decentralized 10 MW Bioenergy scenario for optimized green-field biomass plant locations in Japan. Geographically explicit locations without BECCS shown in red color. In-situ BECCS unit locations indicated in blue color on light yellow background (geologically suitable formation for CS) [2] (click on image to enlarge).


[1] Fuss S, Canadell JG, Peters GP, Tavoni M, Andrew RM, Ciais P, Jackson RB, Jones CD, Kraxner F, Nakicenovic N, Le Quere C, Raupach MR, Sharifi A, Smith P, Yamagata Y (2014). Betting on negative emissions. Nature Climate Change, 4(10):850-853 (October 2014) (Published online 21 September 2014).

[2] Kraxner F, Leduc S, Fuss S, Aoki K, Kindermann G, Yamagata Y (2014). Energy resilient solutions for Japan - a BECCS case study. Energy Procedia, 61:2791-2796 (2014) (Published online 12 January 2015).

[3] Kraxner, F., Aoki K, Leduc S, Kindermann G, Fuss S, Yang J, et al. (2014). BECCS in South Korea – Analyzing the negative emissions potential of bioenergy as a mitigation tool. Renewable Energy 2012

[4] Kraxner, F., Nordström, E.-M., Obersteiner, M., Havlík, P., Gusti, M., Mosnier, A., Frank, S., Valin, H., Fritz, S., McCallum, I., Kindermann, G., See, L., Fuss, S., Khabarov, N., Böttcher, H., Aoki, K. and Máthé, L. (2013). Global bioenergy scenarios - Future forest development, land-use implications and trade-offs. Biomass and Bioenergy (2013),

[5] Kraxner F., Nilsson S., Obersteiner M. (2003). Negative Emissions from BioEnergy Use, Carbon Capture and Sequestration (BECS): The Case of Biomass Production by Sustainable Forest Management from Semi-natural Temperate Forests. Biomass and Bioenergy, 24(4-5):285-296


International Energy Agency (IEA)

Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons & Climate Change, (MCC), Germany

Hunan Academy of Forestry, China

Tsinghua-UFRJ China –Brazil Center for Climate Change and Energy Technology Innovation

Global Carbon Project National Institute for Environmental Studies

UN Industrial Development Organization

International Energy Agency

UN Development Programme

Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) Sweden

University of Sao Paolo, Brazil

Hunan Academy of Forestry, China

Bandung Institute of Technology, Indonesia

Ministry Of Energy And Mineral Resources, Amman, Jordan

President's Delivery Unit for Development Monitoring and Oversight, Indonesia

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Last edited: 12 May 2015


Florian Kraxner

Deputy Program Director

Ecosystems Services and Management

T +43(0) 2236 807 233

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International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
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