The World Biogas Association (WBA) and the UK Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association (ADBA) have welcomed recommended actions outlined in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) latest report.
The Climate Change and Land report, which was released on 8 August, revealed that better land management is needed to address climate change and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from all sectors, particularly from food waste, is essential.
WBA and ADBA support the acknowledgement that future land use will need to support bioenergy to ensure that global warming is limited to 1.5°C. The organisations agreed that this would need to be integrated alongside reforestation, afforestation, reduced deforestation and a reappraisal of the food system globally.
“This latest IPCC report illustrates how important it is to address climate change across multiple sectors,” said David Newman, president of the WBA, “and this is where anaerobic digestion (AD) and biogas can play a significant role.
“Our recent research shows that AD and biogas can help reduce global GHG emissions by 10-13% and in some of the hardest to decarbonise sectors: agriculture, transport and heat. We’re currently only processing 2% of the organic feedstock available into green energy and bio-fertilisers.”
While biomass has great potential as a sustainable energy source, the way in which the feedstock is sourced is not always environmentally viable. Using organic waste such as manure, food waste or wood waste is a sustainable way of generating renewable energy. However, many large companies source biomass in the form of wood pellets, which are formed from clean-cut forests. The pellets are then shipped long distances to reach facilities all over the world, resulting in further carbon emissions.
Charlotte Morton, chief executive of ADBA and a founding member of WBA, said: “On-farm AD is a key growth area in the UK and an essential part of achieving the UK’s net zero emissions target by 2050.
“It enables the development of a sustainable farming model in which organic wastes are recycled into natural fertilisers, to restore our depleted soils, and biogas to generate power for electricity or biomethane for the hard-to-decarbonise transport and heat sectors.
“We are feeding in our views to help shape the UK’s Agriculture Bill, among other policies, to ensure the UK can take the lead in revolutionising farming, food waste and sustainable land use. This IPCC report is welcome in emphasising the very urgent need to do so.”