Climate vs Energy Security: Quantifying the Trade-offs of BECCS Deployment and Overcoming Opportunity Costs on Set-Aside Land
Keywords: Field Data, Modeling
Blanc-Betes, E., Gomez-Casanovas, N., Hartman, M.D., Hudiburg, T.W., Khanna, M., Parton, W.J., DeLucia, E.H. Nov. 7, 2023. “Climate vs Energy Security: Quantifying the Tradeoffs of BECCS Deployment and Overcoming Opportunity Costs on Set-Aside Land.” Environmental Science and Technology. DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.3c05240.
Bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) sits at the nexus of the climate and energy security. We evaluated trade-offs between scenarios that support climate stabilization (negative emissions and net climate benefit) or energy security (ethanol production). Our spatially explicit model indicates that the foregone climate benefit from abandoned cropland (opportunity cost) increased carbon emissions per unit of energy produced by 14–36%, making geologic carbon capture and storage necessary to achieve negative emissions from any given energy crop. The toll of opportunity costs on the climate benefit of BECCS from set-aside land was offset through the spatial allocation of crops based on their individual biophysical constraints. Dedicated energy crops consistently outperformed mixed grasslands. We estimate that BECCS allocation to land enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) could capture up to 9 Tg C year–1 from the atmosphere, deliver up to 16 Tg CE year–1 in emissions savings, and meet up to 10% of the US energy statutory targets, but contributions varied substantially as the priority shifted from climate stabilization to energy provision. Our results indicate a significant potential to integrate energy security targets into sustainable pathways to climate stabilization but underpin the trade-offs of divergent policy-driven agendas.
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