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Forest Carbon Sequestration Forest Carbon Sequestration
Converting land for biofuel production can cause biodiversity impacts in the short-term, but such conversion also aects the future resilience of natural ecosystems. In an extreme case, complete deforestation reduces the ability of forestland to regenerate and absorb carbon in the future.
01 Mar 2012 - by Riccardo Pravettoni, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Impact of land conversion on biodiversity Impact of land conversion on biodiversity
The impacts of land conversion on biodiversity may be significant. The degree of impact relates to many factors, including where and how the bioenergy product is cultivated. This figure represent the short-term impacts of land conversion.
01 Mar 2012 - by Riccardo Pravettoni, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Biodiversity in forests and oil palm plantations, South East Asia Biodiversity in forests and oil palm plantations, South East Asia
01 Oct 2012 - by Riccardo Pravettoni, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Biofuels crops and biodiversity Biofuels crops and biodiversity
Biofuels pose several environmental and social risks. Therefore, to be truly a part of the green economy, biofuels need to comply with a set of safeguards along the entire production chain. Any bioenergy development strategy must integrate such safeguards at all levels, from policy to investments and the project itself. As impacts can be significant, they need to be assessed from a number of angles, including: • Direct and indirect lan...
08 Mar 2012 - by Riccardo Pravettoni, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Bioenergy from agriculture: factors related to biodiversity Bioenergy from agriculture: factors related to biodiversity
The use of Genetically Engineered Crops (GECs) carries both potential benefits and risks. While it is recognised that they can help to introduce useful traits and increase productivity, there are also concerns about adverse ecological impacts. The balance between risks and benefits is likely to vary according to the different conditions of individual countries. It is advisable that comprehensive biosafety risk assessments are conducted bef...
29 Feb 2012 - by Nieves Lopez Izquierdo
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Biofuels in China: crop production and water scarcity Biofuels in China: crop production and water scarcity
In 2009 China produced 2 billion litres of biofuels, ranking the country third behind Brazil and the USA. The Chinese government has set ambitious targets seeing biofuels as not only contributing to the country’s rapidly expanding energy needs, but also as a way of providing rural employment. With China having 20 percent of the world’s population but only seven percent of its arable area, biofuels production is clearly constrained by land...
29 Feb 2012 - by Riccardo Pravettoni, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Nitrogen runo Nitrogen runo
Fertiliser and pesticides used to cultivate feedstocks, as well as contaminated effuents discharged from conversion plants, can cause increasing levels of pollution to waterways. This may constrain the growth of biofuels production in developed and developing countries with already high agricultural production levels. An example illustrates the level of nitrogen persistent in various regions of the United States and agrochemical use for di...
01 Mar 2012 - by Riccardo Pravettoni, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Agriculture in the Mississippi River Basin Agriculture in the Mississippi River Basin
Fertiliser and pesticides used to cultivate feedstocks, as well as contaminated effuents discharged from conversion plants, can cause increasing levels of pollution to waterways. This may constrain the growth of biofuels production in developed and developing countries with already high agricultural production levels. Graphic illustrates agriculture in Mississippi river basin, an area known as the country’s corn and ethanol belt. Agricultu...
01 Mar 2012 - by Riccardo Pravettoni, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Agrochemical use in US agriculture Agrochemical use in US agriculture
01 Oct 2012 - by Riccardo Pravettoni, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Average water requirement for biofuels Average water requirement for biofuels
The figure shows average water requirement for biofuels. Underlying data need to be interpreted in context. For example, rainfed jatropha is produced in Mali as a biofuel, which means that it receives less water than in many comparable contexts, but also with somewhat lower output of biofuel. India in contrast, has been irrigating jatropha to achieve commercially acceptable yields. The two contexts will produce different water footprint measurem...
01 Mar 2012 - by Riccardo Pravettoni, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Variation in blue water footprints for selected energy crops Variation in blue water footprints for selected energy crops
Figure compares the water necessary to produce, transport, and convert a given crop into a fuel in two different regions. This shows important variations, and points to the need for careful matching of energy crops and production and conversion systems with available water supplies. The global trade in biofuel crops has created a ‘virtual water exchange’ where some countries with low water resources ‘export’ their water in the form of bio...
01 Mar 2012 - by Riccardo Pravettoni, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Estimated costs and benefits of restoration projects in different biomes Estimated costs and benefits of restoration projects in different biomes
Biodiversity is the basis for any development; it is the natural capital, the stock of natural ecosystems, which provide services for any human activity. As pointed out above, the main immediate threat to biodiversity from biofuel production is through changes in land use, but longer-term threats may come from the spread of invasive species and uncontrolled use of genetically modified (GM) organisms. The environmental and social costs o...
01 Mar 2012 - by Riccardo Pravettoni, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Value of ecosystem services Value of ecosystem services
Biodiversity is the basis for any development; it is the natural capital, the stock of natural ecosystems, which provide services for any human activity. As pointed out above, the main immediate threat to biodiversity from biofuel production is through changes in land use, but longer-term threats may come from the spread of invasive species and uncontrolled use of genetically modified (GM) organisms. The environmental and social costs of losi...
01 Oct 2012 - by Riccardo Pravettoni, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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CO2 emissions from land conversion for energy crops CO2 emissions from land conversion for energy crops
The conversion of high carbon-storage ecosystems, such as tropical forest, savannah and peatland into biofuel plants, can neutralise any GHG emission reductions achieved by replacing fossil fuels with biofuels, and even lead to a net increase in CO2 emissions. Biofuels, in the use phase, emit the carbon that has been previously absorbed during plant growth. Inputs during cultivation and conversion need to be accounted for. However, the b...
01 Mar 2012 - by Nieves Lopez Izquierdo
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Ecosystem carbon payback time Ecosystem carbon payback time
The ‘carbon debt’ of biofuels is the number of years it can take to offset the carbon emissions generated by converting land for biofuels. It can take decades or centuries for some pathways to bounce back, depending on the type of land that was converted. Particularly challenging is when crops are grown on converted peatland or forest, or areas with underground carbon storage. The figures are disputed, but even lower figures still raise seri...
01 Mar 2012 - by Riccardo Pravettoni, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Key factors of the Brazilian biofuel sector Key factors of the Brazilian biofuel sector
Brazil has gradually developed and established an ethanol industry and growing biodiesel sector, offering an example of how countries can develop ‘home-grown’ renewable energy sectors. This development has been facilitated by long-term policies to address the entire supply chain, including the introduction of ‘flex-fuel’ vehicles which run on any blend of petrol and ethanol. Social and environmental safeguards were developed to address ...
01 Mar 2012 - by Nieves Lopez Izquierdo
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Brazilian biofuels: infrastructure and crops Brazilian biofuels: infrastructure and crops
Brazil has gradually developed and established an ethanol industry and growing biodiesel sector, offering an example of how countries can develop ‘home-grown’ renewable energy sectors. This development has been facilitated by long-term policies to address the entire supply chain, including the introduction of ‘flex-fuel’ vehicles which run on any blend of petrol and ethanol. Social and environmental safeguards were developed to address ...
01 Mar 2012 - by Nieves Lopez Izquierdo
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From seed and soil to end use From seed and soil to end use
As with every other energy source, biofuels entail some risks and should be assessed over their entire lifecycle. This graphic, From seed and soil to end use, tracks the lifecycle of liquid biofuels for use in the transport sector – most of the available analysis has focused on this part of the sector, but it is increasingly recognised that biofuels are more than just transport fuels – from the moment land is converted for the purpose of growing...
29 Feb 2012 - by Riccardo Pravettoni, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Differentiation between crops, land-use and end-use efficiency Differentiation between crops, land-use and end-use efficiency
The energy gain from biofuels is often expressed as a ratio of biofuel energy output to fossil energy input. However, when considering which biofuels are the most efficient using this metric, allowance must also be made for whether or not co-products such as animal feed and other forms of energy or biomass production are involved. Economically, the value of co-products is also critical; and together with various subsidies and tax incentiv...
01 Mar 2012 - by Nieves Lopez Izquierdo
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World biofuels production trends World biofuels production trends
Production trends indicate that the supply of both ethanol and biodiesel is steadily increasing, although the global ethanol market is more than four times larger than the global biodiesel market. Markets for both are increasing, not only in established, traditional markets such as the European Union, Brazil and the United States, but also in countries such as China, India and Argentina. The latter countries are beginning to see the ec...
01 Mar 2012 - by Riccardo Pravettoni, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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