ExCo74 - Bioenergy: land use and mitigating iLUC - Summary and Conclusions

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IEA Bioenergy held its biannual workshop in Brussels on the 23rd October 2014 in conjunction with the Executive Committee meeting (ExCo74). The workshop on ‘ Bioenergy: land use and mitigating iLUC ’ was prepared in close collaboration with DG ENER of the European Commission. Main conclusions included:

  • Food-versus-fuel reports that initiated the work on sustainability and iLUC in particular, which were not scientifically robust, should no longer be part of the general discourse.
  • Even though research has come a long way, the current iLUC models still cover only part of the full picture: they do not include uncertainty (where weak assumptions are treated as though they are facts in a model) nor do they take into account improvement through evolving agricultural practice.
  • Agricultural land for food and crop production has also to be taken into account. Creation of iLUC is independent of the use of the product of the land. If iLUC is to be mitigated, all agricultural production has to be included and it is important to remember that biofuel production accounts for only a small percentage of this.
  • A holistic approach, which covers the whole biomass chain, including food wastage (according to FAO still one third of all food is wasted) and the ongoing global change in diet (less meat consumption means less iLUC), is mandatory.
  • If the current trend of growth intensification in the industrialized world through improved crop yield and double cropping can be extended to developing countries, there is considerable scope for iLUC free bioenergy or other biomass production.
  • The most important factors in mitigating iLUC are:
    - Increasing value chain efficiency
    - Bringing under-utilized land into production
IEA Bioenergy
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