The Biofuels Thematic Programme for 2009 will focus on he definition,
analysis, testing of sustainability criteria for biofuels production and
use. The work will concentrate on sensitive area of the production
systems which require specific attention from a scientific but also
policy point of view. Of particular relevance will be the definition of
applicable (e.g. verifiable in compliance schemes) criterias which can eventually support certification systems.
Questions of land use and indirect land use changes (ILUC) associated
with biofuel production (all production pathways of relevance to Europe)
and associated green-house gas (GHG) emissions will have priority
(through modeling, observations and experimental measurements). Soil
erosion and degradation, maintenance of biodiversity, impact on water
resources will be included in the analysis. (Package 1, Objectives 1 to 9)
Three Steps are necessary for Modelling and evaluation of Indirect GHG Emissions:
1. Model the increase in crop production in all producer regions of the
world, which result from a given increment of demand for biofuels.
Suitable global agro-economic models are usually based on partial
equilibrium economic modelling. The effects of each "biofuels" scenario
are evaluated with respect to a reference scenario. The results of this
first step are the effect of the change in biofuels demand on production per crop per region.
2. Convert extra production per region per crop into an estimate of how
much extra land would be planted with crops in each region, as a result
of the change in biofuels demand, and what land use would be replaced.
The result of this step is expressed in hectares of land converted to cropping from pasture, forest, or natural land.
3. Convert the land use changes into an estimate of extra GHG emissions
resulting from the given change in biofuel demand. This may be done in a
rough way using agro-environmental zoning, or more precisely by:
- locating the likely areas of cropland expansion on a map.
- estimating land use change emissions on the basis of soil maps and climate
- ideally, estimating also the annual GHG emissions from farming in the
new areas (from tractor diesel, fertilizer production, N2O etc.).
The results of this step are total one-off GHG emissions from land-use
change, plus (ideally) the marginal annual farming emissions from the newly-planted areas.
Technological developments in industrial production systems will be
integrated in a revision of the well to wheel study focusing on
biofuels. Technological foresight will provide insights on possible
developments. Fuel compatibility will be also assessed. (Package 2, Obectives 10 and 11)
Social criteria and economic analysis on the "food vs fuels" debate will
only be partially covered by JRC; existing documentation on associated
issues will be assembled and additional studies about impact on food in developing countries might be incorporated in future.