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Sensitivity of Carbon Emission Estimates from Indirect Land-Use Change

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Abstract

We analyze the sensitivity of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from land-use change to modifications in assumptions concerning crop area, yield, and deforestation. For this purpose, we run a modified version of the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) Agricultural Outlook Model, which was used previously to assess the impacts of energy price increases and biofuel policy changes on land conversion. To calculate the GHG implications of agricultural activity, we use GreenAgSiM, a model developed to evaluate emissions from land conversion and agricultural production. Both models are applied to scenarios that lead to higher US ethanol production. The results are contrasted with the findings of Searchinger et al., and we explain the role of model assumptions to elucidate the differences. We find that the payback period of corn ethanol's carbon debt is sensitive to assumptions concerning land conversion and yield growth and can range from 31 to 180 years.

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  • Jerome Dumortier & Dermot J. Hayes & Miguel Carriquiry & Fengxia Dong & Xiaodong Du & Amani Elobeid & Jacinto F. Fabiosa & Simla Tokgoz, 2009. "Sensitivity of Carbon Emission Estimates from Indirect Land-Use Change," Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) Publications 09-wp493, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University.
  • Handle: RePEc:ias:cpaper:09-wp493
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    1. Simla Tokgoz & Amani Elobeid & Jacinto F. Fabiosa & Dermot J. Hayes & Bruce A. Babcock & Tun-Hsiang (Edward) Yu & Fengxia Dong & Chad E. Hart & John C. Beghin, 2007. "Emerging Biofuels: Outlook of Effects on U.S. Grain, Oilseed, and Livestock Markets," Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) Publications (archive only) 07-sr101, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University.
    2. Hayes, Dermot J. & Babcock, Bruce A. & Fabiosa, Jacinto F. & Tokgoz, Simla & Elobeid, Amani E. & Yu, Tun-Hsiang (Edward) & Dong, Fengxia & Hart, Chad E. & Chavez, Eddie C. & Pan, Suwen & Carriquiry, M, 2009. "Biofuels: Potential Production Capacity, Effects on Grain and Livestock Sectors, and Implications for Food Prices and Consumers," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Southern Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 41(2), April.
    3. Du, Xiaodong & Hayes, Dermot J., 2009. "The impact of ethanol production on US and regional gasoline markets," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(8), pages 3227-3234, August.
    4. Xiaodong Du & Dermot J. Hayes, 2008. "Impact of Ethanol Production on U.S. and Regional Gasoline Prices and on the Profitability of the U.S. Oil Refinery Industry, The," Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) Publications 08-wp467, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University.
    5. Jerome Dumortier & Dermot J. Hayes, 2009. "Towards an Integrated Global Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Model: Greenhouse Gases from Agriculture Simulation Model (GreenAgSiM)," Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) Publications 09-wp490, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University.
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    Keywords

    biofuel; crop yield; greenhouse gas emissions; indirect land-use change.;

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