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Biofuels and climate change mitigation : a CGE analysis incorporating land-use change

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  • Timilsina , Govinda R.
  • Mevel, Simon

Abstract

The question of whether biofuels help mitigate climate change has attracted much debate in the literature. Using a global computable general equilibrium model that explicitly represents land-use change impacts due to the expansion of biofuels, this study attempts to shed some light on this question. The study shows that if biofuel mandates and targets currently announced by more than 40 countries around the world are implemented by 2020 using crop feedstocks, and if both forests and pasture lands are used to meet the new land demands for biofuel expansion, this would cause a net increase of greenhouse gas emissions released to the atmosphere until 2043, since the cumulative greenhouse gas emissions released through land-use change would exceed the reduction of emissions due to replacement of gasoline and diesel until then. However, if the use of forest lands is avoided by channeling only pasture lands to meet the demand for new lands, a net increase of cumulative greenhouse gas emissions would occur but would cease by 2021, only a year after the assumed full implementation of the mandates and targets. The study also shows, contrary to common perceptions, that the rate of deforestation does not increase with the rate of biofuel expansion; instead, the marginal rate of deforestation and corresponding land-use emissions decrease even if the production of biofuels increases.

Suggested Citation

  • Timilsina , Govinda R. & Mevel, Simon, 2011. "Biofuels and climate change mitigation : a CGE analysis incorporating land-use change," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5672, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5672
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Martin Banse & Hans van Meijl & Andrzej Tabeau & Geert Woltjer, 2008. "Will EU biofuel policies affect global agricultural markets?," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 35(2), pages 117-141, June.
    2. Lee, Huey-Lin & Hertel, Thomas & Rose, Steven & Avetisyan, Misak, 2008. "An Integrated Global Land Use Data Base for CGE Analysis of Climate Policy Options," GTAP Working Papers 2603, Center for Global Trade Analysis, Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University.
    3. Govinda R. Timilsina & John C. Beghin & Dominique van der Mensbrugghe & Simon Mevel, 2012. "The impacts of biofuels targets on land‐use change and food supply: A global CGE assessment," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 43(3), pages 315-332, May.
    4. Searchinger, Timothy & Heimlich, Ralph & Houghton, R. A. & Dong, Fengxia & Elobeid, Amani & Fabiosa, Jacinto F. & Tokgoz, Simla & Hayes, Dermot J. & Yu, Hun-Hsiang, 2008. "Use of U.S. Croplands for Biofuels Increases Greenhouse Gases Through Emissions from Land-Use Change," Staff General Research Papers Archive 12881, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    5. Goldemberg, José & Coelho, Suani Teixeira & Guardabassi, Patricia, 2008. "The sustainability of ethanol production from sugarcane," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(6), pages 2086-2097, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Pogany, Peter, 2013. "Thermodynamic Isolation and the New World Order," MPRA Paper 49924, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Ronald D. Sands, Katja Schumacher, and Hannah Forster, 2014. "U.S. CO2 Mitigation in a Global Context: Welfare, Trade and Land Use," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Special I).
    3. Mochizuki, Junko & Coffman, Makena & Yanagida, John F., 2015. "Market, welfare and land-use implications of lignocellulosic bioethanol in Hawai'i," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 102-114.
    4. Cabalu, Helen & Koshy, Paul & Corong, Erwin & Rodriguez, U-Primo E. & Endriga, Benjamin A., 2015. "Modelling the impact of energy policies on the Philippine economy: Carbon tax, energy efficiency, and changes in the energy mix," Economic Analysis and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 222-237.
    5. Withers, Mitch R. & Malina, Robert & Barrett, Steven R.H., 2015. "Carbon, climate, and economic breakeven times for biofuel from woody biomass from managed forests," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 45-52.
    6. Junko Mochizuki & John F. Yanagida & Makena Coffman, 2013. "Market, Welfare and Land-Use Implications of Lignocellulosic Bioethanol in HawaiÔi," Working Papers 2013-10, University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization, University of Hawaii at Manoa.
    7. Marquez, Gian Powell B. & Santiañez, Wilfred John E. & Trono, Gavino C. & Montaño, Marco Nemesio E. & Araki, Hiroshi & Takeuchi, Hisae & Hasegawa, Tatsuya, 2014. "Seaweed biomass of the Philippines: Sustainable feedstock for biogas production," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 1056-1068.

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    Keywords

    Climate Change Mitigation and Green House Gases; Climate Change Economics; Energy and Environment; Environment and Energy Efficiency; Climate Change and Environment;

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