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BECCS capability of dedicated bioenergy crops under a future land-use scenario targeting net negative carbon emissions

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Abstract

Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) is a key component of mitigation strategies in future socioeconomic scenarios that aim to keep mean global temperature rise below 2°C above preindustrial, which would require net negative carbon emissions in the end of the 21st century. Because of the additional need for land, developing sustainable low-carbon scenarios requires careful consideration of the land-use implications of deploying large scale BECCS. We evaluated the feasibility of the large-scale BECCS in RCP2.6, which is a scenario with net negative emissions aiming to keep the 2°C temperature target, with a top-down analysis of required yields and a bottom-up evaluation of BECCS potential using a process-based global crop model. Land-use change carbon emissions related to the land expansion were examined using a global terrestrial biogeochemical cycle model. Our analysis reveals that first-generation bioenergy crops would not meet the required BECCS of the RCP2.6 scenario even with a high-fertilizer and irrigation application. Using second-generation bioenergy crops can marginally fulfill the required BECCS only if a technology of full postprocess combustion CO2 capture is deployed with a high-fertilizer application in the crop production. If such an assumed technological improvement does not occur in the future, more than doubling the area for bioenergy production for BECCS around 2050 assumed in RCP2.6 would be required; however, such scenarios implicitly induce large-scale land-use changes that would cancel half of the assumed CO2 sequestration by BECCS. Otherwise, a conflict of land use with food production is inevitable.

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