Indirect Land Use Change from increased biofuels demand - Comparison of models and results for marginal biofuels production from different feedstocks

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This study is performed under the request of DG CLIMA, in support to the preparation of the policy proposal on the assessment of the effects of Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC) and to the Commission’s internal debate on how to address ILUC emissions in legislation. Until this initiative was launched, different modellers modelled different biofuels policy scenarios, describing different mixes of different amounts of biofuels in different regions. That made it almost impossible to make meaningful comparisons between the models. In this initiative, we persuaded different modellers to report the crop area changes for a marginal change in demand for particular biofuels in particular regions.

This study compares the ILUC results produced by different economic models for marginal increases in biofuel production from different feedstocks. The work is the result of a survey of marginal calculations launched by the JRC-IE during 2009, involving some of the best known models worldwide. The partial and full equilibrium models compared in this study are:

  • CARD (from FAPRI-ISU)
  • IMPACT (from IFPRI)
  • G-TAP (from Purdue University)
  • LEI-TAP (from LEI)
  • CAPRI (from LEI)

The modellers were requested by JRC-IE to run scenarios corresponding as closely as possible to the following specification (e.g. marginal runs against existing baseline of the following scenarios):

A marginal extra ethanol demand in EU
marginal extra biodiesel demand in EU
C marginal extra ethanol demand in US
D marginal extra palm oil demand in EU (for biodiesel or pure plant oil use)
Other additional relevant scenarios (e.g. marginal extra ethanol from Brazilian sugar cane) could also be included.

The results from the different models and various scenarios are compared in this report in terms of hectares of ILUC, because all of the models produced data at that level. To enable direct comparison of the results reported by the modellers JRC-IE standardised the results to kHa per Mtoe biofuels (Million tonnes of oil equivalent).

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