Resource efficiency of future EU demand for bioenergy

Policy Brief #15, January 2017. Greenhouse gas emissions from the land-use sector will be lower if the rising demand for bioenergy is met with worldwide protection for areas important for biodiversity and carbon storage, shows this IIASA policy brief.     

Policy Brief #15, cover

Policy Brief #15, cover

Increasing demand for bioenergy in the EU means that there is a pressing need to understand the impacts this might have on land use, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and biodiversity, both regionally and globally.

This brief explores a range of policy scenarios, showing that protecting biodiversity and carbon storage worldwide could lead to important GHG emissions savings from the land-use sector. In fact, global emissions are 10 metric megatons lower with protections than without. Emissions savings were even greater if the amount of high-quality wood that can be used directly for bioenergy is also capped: 15 metric megatons lower than without protections.

The scenario without forest protection but with the EU target of an 80% reduction in GHG emissions by 2050 leads to a rise in wood pellet imports, the amount of wood harvested from EU forests, and in the area of land used for fast-growing tree plantations.

These findings show clear synergies between conserving biodiversity, protecting forests, and reducing global GHG emissions from the land-use sector. 

IIASA Policy Briefs present the latest research for policymakers from IIASA—an international, interdisciplinary research institute with National Member Organizations (NMOs) in 24 countries in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, and Oceania. The views expressed herein are those of the researchers and not necessarily those of IIASA or its NMOs.

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Last edited: 24 May 2017


Nicklas Forsell

Senior Research Scholar Integrated Biosphere Futures Research Group - Biodiversity and Natural Resources Program


IIASA Global Forest Model (G4M)


International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
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