Previous studies have projected a significant role for bioenergy in decarbonizing the global economy and helping realize international climate goals such as limiting global average warming to 2 ˚C or 1.5 ˚C. However, with substantial variability in bioenergy results and significant concerns about potential environmental and social implications, greater transparency and dedicated assessment of the underlying modeling and results and more detailed understanding of the potential role of bioenergy are needed. Stanford University’s Energy Modeling Forum (EMF) initiated a 33rd study (EMF-33) to explore the viability of large-scale bioenergy as part of a comprehensive climate management strategy. This special issue presents the papers of the EMF-33 study—a multi-year inter-model comparison project designed to understand and assess global, long-run biomass supply and bioenergy deployment potentials and related uncertainties.
Using a novel scenario design with independent biomass supply and bioenergy demand protocols, EMF-33 separately elucidates and explores the modeling of biomass feedstock supplies and bioenergy technologies and their deployment—revealing, comparing, and assessing the modeling that is suggesting that bioenergy could be a key climate containment strategy.
This introduction provides an overview of the EMF-33 study design and the overview, thematic, and individual modeling team papers and types of insights that make up this special issue. By providing enhanced transparency and new detailed insights, we hope to inform policy dialogue about the potential role of bioenergy and facilitate new research.