Staff blog

Report reviewing the science and modelling of the indirect effects of biofuels, primarily indirect land use change (#iLUC). Includes review of work by #CARB, #E4tech, #EPA, #ICONE, #IFPRI, #Oko-Institut, #Searchinger et al. Lots of useful insights, the ICONE critique in particular seems a valuable addition to the literature.
Using the 2010 National Academy of Sciences report to assess 2025 technologies and costs introduces a fundamental bias that skews the analysis.
Results of a study by Ecometrica/E4tech on possible regional level iLUC avoidance actions. Includes case studies of SE Asian palm oil and European OSR/wheat. The focus is on regional approaches to yield improvement and waste reduction. The paper stops short of trying to define policy approaches, and implementation would require addressing potential baseline/additionality issues.
A few weeks ago, the IEA published a roadmap for biofuels in transportation. This argues that 27% of transport energy needs worldwide could be met with biofuels by 2050, saving a cumulative 20 billion tonnes (Gt) of carbon dioxide emissions over the next 40 years – all without affecting food security. The headline messaging for the report has been broadly represented (,, as a call for continuation and expansion of existing biofuel mandates. By 2050, the roadmap assumes 32 exajoules of biofuel production, split 50:50 between crop-based and waste-based fuels, and that the crops will require 70 million hectares (Mha) of land to grow.
Kim and Dale in ‘Biomass and Bioenergy’ propose a no-iLUC conclusion by asserting that iLUC cannot have happened in any region where overall arable area is shrinking. Many in the field would dispute this interpretation.
Recent trends in specific CO2 emissions from new passenger cars registered in Europe highlight the significant difference that mandatory emissions performance standards can make.