Authors: Richard Bridle & Vivek Voora
A key component of the U.S. and EU responses to climate change concerns was the introduction of a target for the inclusion of biofuels in the road transport sector to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. As biofuel consumption rose, so too did concern that the use of agricultural land to produce its feedstocks could lead to a reduction in available land for food production, potentially leading to increased food price volatility and the conversion of natural land, such as forests, grasslands or peatlands (Ecofys, 2013). The displacement of food crops by fuel crops motivated research on the indirect land-use change (ILUC) impacts of biofuel production. It was found that factoring in potential GHG emissions associated with the conversion of natural lands for food production can increase emissions associated with the production of biofuels significantly (Searchinger, et al., 2008). These findings led to the eventual incorporation of ILUC considerations in U.S. and EU biofuel consumption policies (European Parliament, 2015a; Schnepf & Yacobucci, 2010).