Due to the biogenic differences between fossil fuels and biomass, they are categorized differently in national inventories. Emissions of CO2 from the combustion of biomass are reported for informational purposes, but not included in national totals. This is because any net additions of CO2 to the atmosphere resulting from biomass combustion should be captured by analyzing land-use, land-use change activities and their associated effects on terrestrial biomass carbon stocks. In other words, the “emissions” are counted when the trees are cut, not when they are burned. If, at the national level, biomass harvests exceed growth and regeneration, the resultant depletion of national biomass stocks result in a net “emission” (flux to the atmosphere).
When reporting corporate-level greenhouse gas inventories, the accounting of terrestrial carbon stock changes associated with harvesting and combustion of biomass may fall within the organizational boundaries of different companies, i.e., the wood being burned is not cut on land owned by the company. Recognizing this situation, and considering the national inventory practices, the Corporate Standard requires that CO2 emissions from biomass combustion be reported separately from the other scopes in a memo item.
When calculating emissions from the burning of biomass by electricity providers, the amount of CO2 emissions would reflect the amount of biomass they use, i.e., if they burn only biomass, their emission factor would be zero. Unlike CO2 emissions, the combustion of biomass does in all cases result in net additions of CH4 and N2O to the atmosphere, and therefore emissions of these two greenhouse gases as a result of biomass combustion should be accounted for in emission inventories under Scope 1.