LAND, Biofuels & ILUC

“Brussels is currently engulfed in a hot debate about indirect land- use change caused by energy crops when they displace food production, leading to forests being converted to farm land. The Commission is required to produce a report by the year's end to assess whether action needs to be taken to address the issue.
The magnitude of its impact is still uncertain, but many studies have suggested that indirect land-use change could release significant amounts of CO2 from carbon sinks, offsetting at least partially the emissions reductions biofuels achieve compared to fossil fuels.” (Source: EU capitals miss deadline for renewables action plans, Published: 01 July 2010, deadline-renewables-action-plans-news-495772)

The Joint Research Centre of the EU will publish a report comparing five studies (5 models Assessment) on ILUC (Draft Final report of the contract n. 070307/2008/517067/C3). It conclude that:
- “All the models predicted that marginal increases in biofuel demand would have significant ILUC effects.”
 - In all the scenarios of consumption of biodiesel projection in the EU, the largest share of land use change would occur outside the EU.

The article by Pete Harrison (Reuters), drawing on land use and land demand from agrofuels, based on documents he's seen from the commission - "EU biofuel thirst threatens area equal to Denmark" - says:

  1. 4.5m ha of land (the size of Denmark) will be needed for biofuels to fulfil 7% of transport fuels by 2020 - according to an average of 15 computer models in a report by Ispra Italy.
  2. EU biofuels targets imply an increase in consumption for biodiesel of 6.3 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe) between now and 2020 and for bioethanol of 6.08 Mtoe. This would lead to an ILUC impact of 2.15m ha from biodiesel, and 2.35m ha from bioethanol.

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