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Bioethanol production results in a co-product, distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS), that is used in the animal feed industry. It has been generally assumed that DDGS will replace both soya and cereals in animal feeds and this assumption, together with the ratio ascribed, has been used to predict land use and other factors. In Europe, it has generally been expected that replacing more soya and less cereals would have a beneficial effects on emissions, by reducing the risk of Amazon deforestation. It is therefore important for estimating indirect land use change impacts from biofuels that the correct ratios should be modeled.
The European Commission recently released updated results of modelling by the International Food Policy Research Institute of the likely indirect effects of the EU’s biofuels mandate. We critically assess this work, concluding that while there are inevitably areas that could be improved with further development it is a robust study and representative of best practice in the field of CGE modelling of iLUC. We note that in several areas criticisms made by the European Biodiesel Board do not appear to be well supported.
The European Renewable Energy and Fuel Quality Directives require the European Commission to propose, based on the best available data, a methodology to control indirect land use change emissions due to biofuels expansion. To support its impact assessment of ILUC policy options, the commission asked the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) to update its modeling of ILUC emissions from European biofuel mandates. The new IFPRI-MIRAGE study is an important and detailed contribution to the EU biofuels debate.
Argues that studies of the effects of palm oil plantation expansion in SE Asia have significantly underestimated GHG emissions from palm oil grown on peatland, and therefore underestimate the indirect land use change emissions from many biofuels.
Technical note on crop yield-price and land-price elasticities, key determinants of indirect land use change.
Calculates the fraction of biomass carbon removed from disturbed or cleared forests that is retained in wood products (not emitted to the atmosphere).