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The Role of Irrigation in Determining the Global Land Use Impacts of Biofuels

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  • Taheripour, Farzad
  • Thomas Hertel
  • Jing Liu

Abstract

In recent years there has been a flurry of activity aimed at evaluating the land use consequences of biofuels programs and the associated carbon releases. In this paper we argue that these studies have tended to underestimate the ensuing land use emissions, because they have ignored the role of irrigation, and associated constraints on cropland expansion. In this paper, we develop a new general equilibrium model which distinguishes irrigated and rainfed cropping industries at a global scale. Using the new model we evaluate the implications of land use change due to US ethanol programs, in the context of physical constraints on the expansion of irrigated cropland. We find that models which mingle irrigated and rainfed areas underestimate the global land use changes induced due to the US ethanol expansion by about 5.7%. They tend to underestimate the corresponding land use emissions by more than one fifth.

Suggested Citation

  • Taheripour, Farzad & Thomas Hertel & Jing Liu, 2011. "The Role of Irrigation in Determining the Global Land Use Impacts of Biofuels," GTAP Working Papers 3743, Center for Global Trade Analysis, Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University.
  • Handle: RePEc:gta:workpp:3743
    Note: GTAP Working Paper No. 65
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    File URL: https://www.gtap.agecon.purdue.edu/resources/res_display.asp?RecordID=3743
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    Cited by:

    1. Catherine L. Kling & Raymond W. Arritt & Gray Calhoun & David A. Keiser & et al., 2016. "Research Needs and Challenges in the FEW System: Coupling Economic Models with Agronomic, Hydrologic, and Bioenergy Models for Sustainable Food, Energy, and Water Systems," Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) Publications 16-wp563, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University.

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