International Scientists and Economists Statement on Biofuels and Land Use

A letter to the European Commission

When land used for food or feed production is turned over to growing biofuel crops, agriculture has to expand elsewhere. This often results in new deforestation and destruction of other ecosystems, particularly in tropical regions in the developing world.

The resulting heat-trapping emissions from clearing new land can be significant and may outweigh any emissions savings from the use of biofuels.

Numerous scientific studies have warned about the unintended climate consequences of the indirect land use changes associated with increased demand for biofuels and the need to address the issue by changing existing biofuel policies.

More than 200 scientists and economists with Ph.D.s and expertise related to climate, energy, and land use have signed on to the International Scientists and Economists Statement on Biofuels and Land Use to urge the European Commission to recognize and account for indirect land use change impacts as a part of the lifecycle analyses of heat-trapping emissions from biofuels.

Many of the signers of the International letter were part of letters to the Environmental Protection Agency (PDF) and the California Air Resources Board (PDF) arguing that these bodies should include the impacts of indirect land use change emissions in biofuels policies for the United States and California. In both of cases the final regulations accounted for these indirect emissions.

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