Biogenic Carbon Accounting: Considerations to a Revised Framework

Author(s): Christopher S. Galik

Published: November 2012

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This paper presents a revised accounting framework to track biogenic carbon emissions, or the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the production and use of biomass resources. It is designed to achieve three overarching principles: to be cost-effective, to be adaptive and responsive to changing conditions, and to provide incentives for continuous improvement. The revised framework achieves these three principles through a three-tiered system. The first tier consists of the establishment of regional default biogenic accounting factors (BAFs) for classes of feedstock. The second is the targeted exemption of individual feedstocks based on evidence of minimal net emissions associated with their use. The third and final tier provides the opportunity for individual feedstock producers to become certified under the framework, and in doing so, employ a BAF other than the feedstock default. Although biogenic carbon dioxide accounting is complicated, and any accounting framework will surely involve economic, scientific, and political tradeoffs, the paper looks to show that an intuitive and defensible system is nonetheless possible to construct.