An Analysis of iLUC and Biofuels
Regional quantification of climate-relevant land use change and options for combating it.
The reason for this study is the EU Commission’s report on the impact of the EU biofuels policy which must be submitted by the end of 2010. To fight climate change, the EU has set its sights on further expanding the use of biomass in its policies – not just for the transport sector. In terms of the effects of EU biofuel policy, the question arises as to whether indirect land use change associated with biofuels should be combated through regulation and, if so, how. Direct land use change brought about by biofuels has already been addressed in the Renewable Energies Directive (2009/28).
This study concludes that land use change (LUC) – or converting natural forest, grazing land or fallow land to cropland – continues to be a major problem in some regions of the world, not only for climate protection. The effects of land use change can be direct (dLUC) or indirect (iLUC). If the original use of the land was carbon-rich in the vegetation or in the soil (for example, forest) and the subsequent use is carbon-poor (pastures or crops), LUC increases the amount of carbon dioxide released and thus adversely affects the climate.