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David Laborde and Hugo Valin
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David Laborde: International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Market Trade and Institutions Division, 2033 K Street NW, Washington DC, USA

Climate Change Economics (CCE), 2012, vol. 03, issue 03, 1-39

Abstract: Evaluation of indirect land-use changes due to biofuels has been very controversial over the past few years, as doubts have arisen about the environmental benefits of growing crops for use as a substitute for fossil fuels. This paper presents an overview of the MIRAGE-BioF CGE modeling approach to biofuel policies assessment. Our framework introduces new innovative features that strengthen the relevance of the methodology. In particular, a more detailed and consistent database has been developed to represent the sectors and substitution mechanisms at play. Moreover, the model used has been improved in several important ways to better reproduce the agricultural supply function and land-use change. However, we also emphasize the critical uncertainties that prevent us from being able to provide a precise two-digit figure on the extent of land-use change and associated emissions. We illustrate these efforts with the case of EU biofuel mandates implications. We show that emissions from the current national targets in the EU could lead to an indirect effect of land-use expansion ranging from 1 ha per TJ consumed to 12 ha per TJ with a median value of 3.4 ha per TJ. The associated emissions in a 20-year period would range from 10gCO2/MJ to 115gCO2/MJ, with a median value of 38gCO2/MJ. These results seriously question the sustainability of the current EU biofuels policy and emphasize the even more dramatic effect of a biodiesel-oriented EU biofuel program, which was found to emit two times more than an EU ethanol-oriented program.

Keywords: Biofuels; indirect land-use change; computable general equilibrium; EU agricultural policies (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2012
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DOI: 10.1142/S2010007812500170

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