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 serious concerns that need to be addressed. Analysis applying the concept of ‘ecosystem carbon payback time’ is useful to identify the right options for converting land to biofuel production.
From collection: Biofuels Vital Graphics - Powering Green Economy
Riccardo Pravettoni, UNEP/GRID-Arendal