Biofuels play an important role in the context of climate change. Limiting global warming by 2100 to +1.5°C to +2°C, as agreed at COP21 last year in Paris, will require ambitious actions in the land use and forest sectors (e.g. deforestation reduction in tropical forests) and energy (e.g. transitions to sustainable biofuels).
In this context, a question is whether it will be possible to increase the production and use of biofuels (including a likely increase in the area of agriculture for this production) without adversely affecting other uses and services (e.g. food production, water security or pressures on the agricultural frontier). Brazil has taken a proactive role in the negotiations on a new UNFCCC international agreement and legal framework, and the country’s INDCs has marked the first time that a developing country committed to an absolute goal to reduce GHG emissions. But the fact that the Brazilian economy should recover in the near future may lead to possible conflicts for the production of biofuels and related sectors within the nexus of water resources – food – energy under climate change.
This short commentary by Martin Obermaier and William Wills discusses the importance of analyzing the key areas affected in this nexus using sound science, with the objective to support adaptation and mitigation planning. The article has been originally published as a scientific contribution to the annual report of the Permanent Joint Commission on Climate Change (CMMC) of the Brazilian National Congress.
Obermaier, M.; Wills, W. (2015). Produção sustentável de biocombustíveis no Brasil, e necessidades de pesquisa para um desenvolvimento sustentável sob mudanças climáticas. Em: CMMC “Relatório de Atividades – 2015”, Comissão Mista Permanente sobre Mudanças Climáticas (CMMC), Congresso Nacional, pp. 150-159.