Policy Lessons: The Role of Policy Regimes in Maximising GHG Savings in Bioenergy Systems

Patricia Thornley*, Paul Adams

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputChapter


Bioenergy systems are being encouraged by global policy regimes and targets to support the development of renewable energy systems. A key driver for this is the desire to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions to avert the most damaging consequences of climate change. Therefore, any bioenergy systems that are incentivised under policy mechanisms should deliver actual global greenhouse gas reductions. Nonetheless, evaluating the net greenhouse gas reductions achieved by bioenergy systems can be challenging and results are often disputed because of variations in scope of system, data inputs, emission factors, or methodological approaches. This chapter reviews the key issues that must be taken into account in developing effective policy instruments to encourage bioenergy systems that reduce net greenhouse gas emissions. The issues are so diverse that many are not best incentivised through energy generation and consequently an alternative approach that values the ecosystem impacts rather than simply the energy provision is required. Additionally, the scope of system commonly used by many policy instruments (system boundary definition) is shown to be inappropriate to deliver the key objective of maximising actual greenhouse gas savings. An alternative scope of system for policy mechanisms is recommended to ensure that future bioenergy provision achieves real emissions savings while maximising other wider socio-economic and environmental benefits.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGreenhouse Gas Balances of Bioenergy Systems
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9780128094587
ISBN (Print)9780081010365
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Dec 2017


  • Bioenergy
  • Effective policy
  • Emissions
  • Environmental
  • Global, Greenhouse Gas
  • Policy
  • Renewable Energy


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