Publication: Consequences of Brazilian biofuels expansion on land use, water and the economy until 2030 under climatic change

Summary

The expansion of Brazilian biofuels is at the center of a debate on the overall sustainability of the sector. This debate has been initially linked to disagreements on the true potential of biofuels to contribute to mitigation of greenhouse emissions (GHG), but is today based on a broader conflicting views in relation to social and environmental impacts, e.g., the case of the possible displacement of Brazil’s agricultural frontier towards the Amazon forest, impacts of biofuels expansion on the availability of water resources, or their contribution to social objectives as in the case for poverty reduction. The impact of climate change by 2030 can further strengthen potential trade-offs between different sectors. On the other hand, there continues to be an expectation that the sustainable production of biofuels could contribute to a transition towards a low carbon economy. In order to identify and quantify possible synergies or trade-offs between biofuels’ relevant sectors – i.e., energy, land use, macroeconomics and water resources – in this research by CLIMA we sought to develop an integrated modeling framework for analysis, using a set of socioeconomic, climatic and energy scenarios by 2030.

The paper presents a first attempt to summarize the results of CLIMA’s research, showing that the sustainability of biofuels can only be understood within a sectorially integrated analysis that includes the analysis of agriculture, conservation needs, and sustainable development.

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Obermaier, M., Wills, W., King, C.W., Moreira, M.M., Rodriguez, R.d.G., Kimura, W., Harfuch, L., Bachion, L.C. (2017). Consequências da expansão de biocombustíveis no Brasil sobre uso da terra, água e a economia até 2030 sob mudanças climáticas. XVII Congresso Brasileiro de Energia, PPE/COPPE/UFRJ, Rio de Janeiro. (Only in Portuguese.)

Photo credit: Lian-Pin-Koh (via Flickr)

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