IEA Bioenergy Releases Report on Bioenergy and Land Use Change

January 2011: International Energy Agency's (IEA) Bioenergy Task has published a report for policy makers titled “Bioenergy, Land Use Change and Climate Change Mitigation,” which addresses how the climate change mitigation from the use of bioenergy can be influenced by greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions arising from land-use change.

The report considers biofuels for transport and biomass use for heat and power, as well as present and prospective fossil fuel substitution patterns. The reports discusses the difficulties in quantifying greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions generated by most bioenergy production and consumption due to direct and indirect land use change. It discusses ways to avoid the need to include land use within emissions calculations by using of post-consumer organic residues and by-products from the agricultural and forest industries as bioenergy feedstock.

The report further provides that the use of second generation technologies, as well as marginal or degraded lands, can mitigate climate-related effects of land use change. Noting that although some land use change may be immediately negative, the report underscores that when long term views are taken, these immediate concerns seem less alarming if policy is designed and implemented in a way that land use change is adequately controlled. The report therefore concludes that bioenergy can have a place in low carbon energy systems. [Publication: Bioenergy, Land Use Change and Climate Change Mitigation]