Accounting for indirect land-use changes in GHG balances of biofuels

  • Gnansounou E
  • Panichelli L
  • Dauriat A
 et al. 
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Increased demand for biofuels is expected to produce changes in the present land-use configuration. Furthermore there is a growing concern about the effect of land-use change on biodiversity, food supply, soil and water quality. Biofuels production on current land and use of biomass in a given region can induce displacement of activities and land-use changes elsewhere. This effect is known as indirect land-use change (ILUC). Due to changes in the carbon stock of the soil and the biomass, indirect land-use change has consequences in the GHG balance of a biofuel. A review of reference Life cycle assessments (LCA) of biofuels production (Gnansounou et al., 2008) has shown that indirect land-use change has not been assessed till now and its effect on GHG emissions has not been included until present in this type of evaluation. The reason is that the degree of inaccuracy is still too high. Due to the potential significance of ILUC emissions on the GHG balance of a biofuel pathway, different authors have stated the need for further research works (Cramer Commission 2007a, Cramer Commission 2007b, E4Tech 2006, Delucchi 2004, Turner et al. 2007, Reinhardt et al. 2007, Farrel and O’Hare 2008, Kloverpris et al. 2008, Hellman and Verburg, 2008, Searchinger et al. 2008). The USA and EU governments have also expressed the need for studying this effect. (EC 2007).

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  • E Gnansounou

  • L Panichelli

  • Arnauld Dauriat

  • Juan David Villegas

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