Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-2021-72
https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-2021-72

  21 Sep 2021

21 Sep 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ESD.

Impact of bioenergy crops expansion on climate-carbon cycle feedbacks in overshoot scenarios

Irina Melnikova1,2, Olivier Boucher1, Patricia Cadule1, Katsumasa Tanaka2,3, Thomas Gasser4, Tomohiro Hajima5, Yann Quilcaille6, Hideo Shiogama3, Roland Séférian7, Kaoru Tachiiri3,5, Nicolas Vuichard2, Tokuta Yokohata3, and Philippe Ciais2 Irina Melnikova et al.
  • 1Institut Pierre-Simon Laplace (IPSL), Sorbonne Université / CNRS, Paris, France
  • 2Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement (LSCE), IPSL, Commissariat à l’énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives (CEA/ CNRS/ UVSQ), Université Paris-Saclay, Gif-sur-Yvette, France
  • 3Earth System Division, National Institute for Environmental Studies (NIES), Tsukuba, Japan
  • 4International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Vienna, Austria
  • 5Research Institute for Global Change, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, Kanazawa-ku, Japan
  • 6Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science, ETH Zürich, Switzerland
  • 7CNRM, Université de Toulouse, Météo-France, CNRS, Toulouse, France

Abstract. Stringent mitigation pathways frame the deployment of second-generation bioenergy crops combined with Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) to generate negative CO2 emissions. This Bioenergy with CCS (BECCS) technology facilitates the achievement of the long-term temperature goal of the Paris Agreement. Here, we use five state-of-the-art Earth System models (ESMs) to explore the consequences of large-scale BECCS deployment on the carbon cycle and carbon-climate feedback under the CMIP6 SSP5-3.4-OS overshoot scenario, keeping in mind that all these models use generic crop vegetation to simulate BECCS crops. We show that an extensive cropland expansion for BECCS causes ecosystem carbon loss that drives the acceleration of carbon turnover and affects the estimates of the absolute values of the global carbon-concentration β and carbon-climate γ feedback parameters. Both parameters decrease so that global β becomes less positive, and γ – more negative. Over the 2000–2100 period, the land-use change (LUC) for BECCS leads to an offset of the β-driven carbon uptake by 12.2 % and amplifies the γ-driven carbon loss by 14.6 %. A human choice on land area allocation for energy crops should take into account not only the potential amount of the bioenergy yield but also the LUC emissions, and the associated loss of future potential change in the carbon uptake via the β and γ feedbacks. The dependency of the estimates of β and γ on LUC is very strong after the middle of the 21st century in the SSP5-3.4-OS scenario but it also affects other SSP scenarios and should be taken into account by the integrated assessment modelling teams and accounted for in mitigation policies so as to limit the reductions of the CO2 fertilization effect where BECCS or land use expansion of short vegetation is applied.

Irina Melnikova et al.

Status: open (until 08 Nov 2021)

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Irina Melnikova et al.

Irina Melnikova et al.

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Short summary
The deployment of bioenergy crops for capturing carbon from the atmosphere facilitates global warming mitigation via generating negative CO2 emissions. Here, we explored the consequences of large-scale energy crops deployment on the land carbon cycle. The land-use change for energy crops leads to carbon emissions and loss of future potential increase in carbon uptake by natural ecosystems. This impact should be taken into account by the modelling teams and accounted for in mitigation policies.
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