THE CLIMATE BENEFITS OF INCREASED FOREST BIOENERGY USE IN SWEDEN: EVALUATION AT DIFFERENT SCALES
Paper in proceedings, 2014
Forest bioenergy has gained attention as an alternative to replace fossil fuels and mitigate climate change; however, in recent years its climate benefit has been questioned. The aim of this paper is to (i) present results from an assessment of the carbon (C) balance for Swedish bioenergy systems that use forest biomass from long-rotation forestry as feedstock; (ii) show how methodological choices and assumptions influence the outcome of the assessment; and (iii) discuss the climate effect of increasing forest harvest for energy use in Sweden. To achieve this purpose, an assessment framework is developed which consists of two linked models: the first one is the Q model, used to quantify the biogenic C balances associated with forest management and the second one is the CAfBio, used to account for forest product flows up to the point when the C is released into the atmosphere. Modeling results depend on many factors, with some important ones being harvest intensity, changes in forest management and the emissions intensity of the baseline scenario, which determines the C savings from using forest products. However, the results of the study support the conclusion that increased use of forest biomass for bioenergy can deliver substantial C savings.