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Biofuels Affect on Climate Change [#101]
Submission to the Biofuel E-Forum of the Convention on Biological Diversity by Biofuelwatch (

General Comment:

We are concerned that the consultation questions are based on the presumption that large-scale biofuel production will mitigate global warming and bring other important benefits, and that there are likely to be solutions to the negative impacts.  There is strong evidence – which we summarise below – that the expansion of large-scale biofuel monocultures threatens to accelerate, not mitigate climate change.  We believe that there needs to be an open and genuine debate whether promoting large-scale biofuel production is desirable in the first place. 

We will concentrate in our response on the impacts of biofuel production on climate change, however, we are also deeply concerned about other impacts on biodiversity, food security, human and land rights, water supplies, and soil, air and water pollution. 

Both deforestation and accelerated climate change would have serious impacts on biodiversity, causing large-scale extinctions, hence this debate is extremely important within the context of the Convention on Biological Diversity. 

Questions 2 and 3: Biofuels and Climate Change

Background: Contribution of agriculture and land-use change to anthropogenic climate change:

Global warming is caused by human emissions of greenhouse gases, the three most important ones being carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide.  Fossil fuel burning accounts for most of those emissions, however, agriculture and deforestation together account for at least one third, according to the recent Stern Review1. The figures given for non-CO2 greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture and for deforestation are 14% and 18% respectively.

The Stern Review stresses that total emissions from land use will be greater, because there is no global estimate for soil carbon emissions as a result of agriculture and land-use change.  Furthermore, neither the Stern Review, nor any of the IPCC Assessment Reports published to date, estimates global emissions from peat oxidation and fires. We will look at the information about different types and sources of greenhouse gas emissions linked to agriculture and land-use change, and the impact of large-scale biofuel expansion below.

Large-scale biofuel expansion could reduce fossil fuel emissions by a small proportion, though any such gains will be more than wiped out if the global transport sector continues to grow at present and forecast rates.  The International Energy  Authority states that, at present, biofuels account for 1% of global transport fuel.  They forecast that they could account for 8% by 2030, but that, even so, the use of fossil fuel oil in global transport will still increase in absolute terms2 , because of overall growth in transport fuel use.  As long as energy use keeps rising, biofuels will not even be able to reduce fossil fuel use in absolute terms.  Those IEA figures, however, refer only to replacing mineral petrol and diesel.  They do not account for the fossil fuel use linked to biofuel production, i.e. the fossil fuels used in agricultural machinery and equipment, the manufacture of fertilizers, production of pesticides, transport, and during the distillery and refinery process.  Whilst biofuels will displace some fossil fuels, the total amount is likely to be small. 

Our concern is that this small reduction in greenhouse gas emissions fossil fuel use due to biofuel expansion will be at the expense of large increases in greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation, from other land-use change, nitrous oxide emissions, carbon emissions from the loss of soil organic carbon, peat fires and oxidation, and potentially the loss of major carbon sinks.  Our ability to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere and avoid the worst impacts of global warming depends on the ability of our ecosystems to continue functioning as carbon sinks, ie to continue absorbing large quantities of carbon from the atmosphere, including a considerable proportion of anthropogenic emissions.  If ecosystems are destroyed or degraded so that they can no longer function as carbon sinks, then we will lose our ability to stabilise the climate at all.

We are particularly concerned because there is strong evidence that the results of deforestation and ecosystem degradation will be non-linear, i.e. that both agricultural intensification and expansion could trigger large-scale, irreversible ecosystem changes and possible collapse which could then trigger equally irreversible climate feedbacks.  This is dealt with in detail below.  We are very concerned that there has been virtually no research into whether large-scale biofuel expansion might bring about ‘low-probability, high impact’ results – such as tipping all or part of the Amazon forest into an irreversible cycle of megafires and desertification, and if so, whether this is a high or a low probability.  The evidence that biofuels mitigate climate change is scarce and controversial, particularly when we look beyond the micro-level (see our discussion of life-cycle greenhouse gas assessments below).  On the contrary there is growing evidence that a shift to biofuels could greatly accelerate global warming.

Nitrous oxide emissions from agriculture:

Nitrous oxide (N2O) is the third most important greenhouse gas responsible for anthropogenic global warming.  Its global warming potential is around 296 times as great as that of carbon dioxide, and it has a long atmospheric life-time, of around 120 years.  Atmospheric concentrations of N2O have increased by 17% since the industrial revolution.  According to a 2006 report by the United States Environmental Protection Agency3, annual global anthropogenic emissions of N2O are the equivalent of 3.114 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions (which is equivalent to 849.55 million tonnes of carbon), with agricultural nitrous oxide emissions accounting for the equivalent of 2.616 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide.

around 11.2 million tonnes per year – the equivalent of 3.32 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide (or 904.15 million tonnes of carbon equivalent).  Around 87% of those emissions come from agriculture, mostly from soil emissions linked to the use of nitrate-fertilisers. 

According to the Stern Review, total agricultural emissions (not including deforestation) increased by 10% in the 1990s and are expected to increase by a further 30% between now and 2020 – not taking account of an increase in biofuel production.  Most of this increase is due to the greater use of fertilizers, particularly in the tropics, i.e. to practices mainly associated with intensive monoculture production. In Asia alone, nitrous oxide emissions have grown by 250%4.  Adding the same amount of fertilizer to a hectare of tropical soils is linked to 10-100 times the amount of N2O emissions as doing the same in temperate soils.5 Increasing intensive monoculture production, even without deforestation, will push those emissions up yet higher, particularly if it happens in the tropics.  Yet it is widely expected that intensive monocultures will provide the bulk of the growing biofuel production globally.  The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation has clearly stated that rising crop yields are linked directly to both irrigation and greater fertilizer use6.  Indeed, all the optimistic scenarios for increasing global biomass production for bioenergy hinge on a rise in yields, which inevitably means higher N2O emissions.   Rising N2O emissions from agriculture due to the planned expansion of biofuel production have not been factored into any emissions scenarios, but are clearly likely to be of global significance. 

Biodiversity and secondary climate impacts from increased use of nitrate fertilizers:

The full consequences of increased nitrate fertilization are not yet known.  Humans have doubled the amount of biologically available nitrogen worldwide, and there is growing evidence that this is having disastrous impacts on biodiversity: Terrestrial ecosystems suffer as rain carries nitrogen-compounds over large areas and adding more nitrogen to soils leads to declines in plant species adapted to low-nitrogen environments.  Freshwater ecosystems suffer from eutrophication, and UNEP have warned that hypoxic ‘dead zones’ in oceans are increasing rapidly in size and number and are to a large extent linked to agricultural nitrate run-offs and the use of nitrate fertilizers.7

Because scientists do not know the full impact of nitrogen overloading on ecosystems, it is impossible to predict how this will impact on ecosystems’ ability to absorb and sequester carbon from the atmosphere.  One recent study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests that higher levels of nitrogenous compounds in rain is causing peat bogs to emit more carbon dioxide, thus adding to global warming.8 The author warns: “Now there are signs that indicate that nitrogenous compounds in the air make peat bogs start to give off more carbon dioxide than they bind, and that they may tip over from being a carbon trap to being a carbon source, thereby aggravating the greenhouse effect instead.”  Also, whilst soil nitrous oxide emissions linked to fertilizer input can be measured, less is known about similar soil emissions over larger areas fertilized not directly but indirectly, through rainfall. 

We are very concerned that replacing a growing proportion of fossil fuels with bioenergy will accelerate agricultural intensification worldwide: All optimistic scenarios for global bioenergy production presume that this will happen.9  We fear that the consequences for the global nitrogen cycle could have major impacts both on biodiversity and on the global climate.  Many of these impacts are not yet fully understood. This is a very dangerous strategy to follow.  What is known, however, is that large-scale biofuels will increase the amount of nitrogen available to the biosphere.  This will have serious consequences for biodiversity, for global nitrous oxide emissions and, according to the study quoted above, increase carbon dioxide emissions from peat bogs.  Nobody can predict the full scale of those impacts, but enough is known to merit extreme caution about adopting large-scale monocultures for biofuels as a way of mitigating climate change – even if large-scale deforestation or peat degradation could be avoided.

Soil carbon emissions from agriculture:

No global estimate for annual soil carbon emissions exists, however, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimate that soil carbon emissions have historically accounted for 55 billion tonnes of carbon.  Soil carbon emissions vary according to soil type, climate and agricultural methods.  One study estimates that, when land in temperate zones is converted from natural vegetation to crop land, emissions from the loss of soil organic carbon are around 3 tonnes per hectare, but far higher on peaty soils10

The 2006 Wells-to-Wheels study by the Joint Research Council of the European Union, together with EUCAR and CONCAWE11 states: “We already warned that increase of arable area would cause loss of soil organic carbon from grassland or forest: we assume it will not be allowed. “  The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), however, say that biofuel expansion may well lead to crop expansion, particularly in North America and Western Europe12

Some current claims being made about a large potential for biofuel crops worldwide actually involve large-scale ploughing up of pasture land, For example 2006 ‘Quickscan of global bio-energy potentials to 2050 study13 says:  "A key factor was the area of land suitable for crop production, but that is presently used for permanent grazing." As the Well-to-Wheels study, quoted above warns, any ploughing up of longstanding pasture can result in a large carbon emissions. 

Although no-till agriculture has been suggested as a way of increasing soil organic carbon content on land, a recent study of no-till soya production in the Argentina’s Pampa shows that the additional nitrous oxide emissions linked to this cultivation method could outweigh any benefits in terms of soil organic carbon storage and lead to overall increased greenhouse gas emissions14.  This is because, without tillage, large quantities of pesticides need to be used which kill the microbes which would otherwise make soil nitrogen available to soya plants.  Large amounts of nitrate fertilizers are therefore required, leading to increased nitrous oxide emissions.  The same study also found that benefits in terms of soil organic carbon storage were considerably smaller than suggested by the IPCC.  This study is very relevant in this context, because most of the soya grown in Argentina, Brazil, Chile and other countries is cultivated with non-till methods, and large-scale soya expansion for biofuels is expected and, in some countries, like Argentina and Paraguay, has already begun. 

Finally, using land for biofuel production should be compared with the alternative, which is allowing natural vegetation to regenerate.  Renton Righelato suggests that taking plantation land in Brazil out of production and allowing for natural forest regeneration (where possible), would sequester 20 tonnes of carbon dioxide per hectare over the next 50-100 years15.  An study by Macedo et al16, which does not take account of emissions from land use change, finds that CO2 savings compared to equivalent petrol use are 13 tonnes per hectare.  This means that, even where no land-use change is involved, soil carbon sequestration from allowing natural vegetation to regrow would be almost twice as effective for climate change mitigation than using the land for sugar cane ethanol production.

Carbon emissions from peat degradation:

Around 550 billion tonnes of carbon - 30% of all terrestrial carbon – are stored in global peatlands17.  Draining the peat leads of oxidation, whereby the carbon in the peat, which was previous water-logged and thus not exposed to the atmosphere,  reacts with oxygen in the air to form atmospheric carbon dioxide.  Drained peat is often susceptible to fires, which can greatly speed up those carbon emissions.  Peat cutting, drainage and ‘conversion’ is a problem all over the world, partly due to agricultural expansion.  Peat destruction is most rapid and extensive in south-East Asia, with Indonesia alone holding 60% of all tropical peatlands in the world.  Palm oil expansion is particularly rapid in the peatland areas of both Indonesia and Malaysia, and scientists expect that nearly all of the peat will be drained, mostly for plantations, in coming years or decades.  This will eventually lead to the emission of virtually all the carbon held in South-east Asia’s peat – up to 50 billion tonnes.  The Biofuelwatch factsheet ‘South-east Asia’s Peat Fires and Global Warming’ should be considered as part of our submission to the biofuels e-forum.  You can find the factsheet at  The Indonesian government is planning a 43-fold increase in palm oil production, largely in response to the growing global demand for biofuels, with around 20 million hectares more land to be converted to oil palm plantations, as well as further concessions for sugar cane and jatropha for biofuels.
A recent study by Wetlands International, Delft Hydraulics and Alterra18 estimates that one tonne of biodiesel made from palm oil from South-east Asia’s peatlands is linked to the emission of 10-30 tonnes of carbon dioxide.  Once emissions from peat fires and the  loss of carbon sink capacity are taken into account, we estimate that one tonne of palm oil biodiesel from South-east Asia would therefore have 2-8 times the life-cycle carbon emissions of the amount of mineral diesel it replaces19. 

South-east Asia’s peatlands are one of the largest single carbon sinks worldwide, and their destruction is one of the largest single sources of carbon emissions worldwide – with the emission of up to 2.57 billion tonnes of carbon having been released in the worst fire season so far (1997/98)20.

The planned expansion of biofuel production from South-east Asian peatlands makes the destruction of this large carbon sink virtually inevitable.  Even if all other types of biofuels produced CO2 savings (which is far from the case), those could hardly compensate for what is the equivalent of over 6 years of global fossil fuel emissions and the permanent loss of one of the vital terrestrial carbon sinks.  The evidence from South-east Asia is the most immediate evidence for biofuel expansion accelerating global warming.

Biofuels, deforestation and global warming:

FAO figures confirm that agricultural expansion is happening  at the expense of natural habitats, including forests, particularly in Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa and south-East Asia21.  Given that monoculture expansion, much of it for soya, palm oil and sugar cane, is already happening at the expense of forests and other vital ecosystems so far, it seems very likely that further monoculture expansion in the global South will accelerate deforestation and ecosystem destruction - as well as the destruction of biodiverse traditional farming systems, on which millions of people rely for their livelihoods and food security.

In September 2006, NASA published a study which showed that the rate of Amazon deforestation correlates with the price of soya22.  Biofuel expansion is likely to push up the price of soya, as we will discuss in our response to question 4, and NASA’s evidence suggests that this will trigger accelerated destruction of the Amazon.  The Amazon forest holds an estimate 90 billion tonnes of carbon, and if it was destroyed or died back, it would dramatically increase global warming.  There is strong evidence that old growth forests continue to sequester carbon from the atmosphere23.  Our ability to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere depends on ecosystems remaining capable of sequestering carbon: If ecosystems collapse or are destroyed on a large scale, then there would be no way of stopping greenhouse warming from running out of our control.  In this context, recent evidence about the vulnerability of the Amazon forest, and its crucial role in regulating rainfall patterns over large parts of the Northern Hemisphere, is particularly worrying: The Amazon forest ‘recycles’ 50-80% of its annual rainfall via evapo-transpiration, i.e. it sustains its own hydrological cycle.  Deforestation, and in particular conversion to cropland, are proven to have a significant regional warming and drying effect, worse even than conversion to pasture24.  Here is a quote from the Woods Hole Research Institute, which has been at the forefront of studying the Amazon carbon cycle, hydrological cycle, and vulnerability to logging and climate change:

“The risk of fire and drought is enhanced by logging, which opens the forests, and by farmers and ranchers who use fire to replace rainforests with crops and pastures. A brutal downward spiral of drought, forest fire, and further drought could expand across much of the Amazon, replacing the species-rich rainforest with savanna like vegetation.”25
Feedback mechanisms have already been demonstrated by NASA: Aerosols from forest fires suppress precipitation completely from some clouds, causing further drought and larger fires.  Several studies suggest that the ratio between evapo-transpiration and rainfall is key to determining tropical vegetation, and that “vegetation change can be uannounced, catastrophic and persistent”, with the possibility of large parts of the Amazon rapidly drying up, burning, and turning into savannah.26

Not all the processes are fully understood, hence it is impossible to say how close the Amazon is to a threshold beyond which large-scale die-back becomes inevitable, or how vulnerable different parts of the Amazon forest are.  It is particularly concerning that rainfall has been abnormally low over much of the Amazon for the past 2 ½ years now.  Amazon die-back.  As Dr Philip Fearnside of Brazil’s National Institute of Amazonian Research has said: “With every tree that falls we increase the probability that the tipping point will arrive." 27

There is evidence that Amazon deforestation causes drying over a large region, as far as northern Mexico and Texas, and a forest die-back, it is widely feared, could devastate agriculture over much of Latin America and the southern US.  Deforestation in Central Africa, on the other hand, has been linked to reduced rainfall in much of the US Midwest, whilst forest loss in South-east Asia appears to alter rainfall in China and the Balkan peninsula28, with drastic consequences for agriculture over very large areas. 

We have focused on the Amazon forest, because of the strong evidence that further conversion to cropland risks triggering disastrous and irreversible climate feedback mechanisms.  The expansion of soya, palm oil and sugar cane, however, is also linked to deforestation in many parts of Asia, Latin America and Africa, with disastrous consequences in terms of carbon emissions, loss of carbon sinks, and regional drying and warming trends.  Soya expansion is linked to deforestation in the Pantanal, South America’s Atlantic Forest and a portion of the Paranaense forest in Paraguay and North of Argentina. In Argentina, more than 500000 ht of forest land were converted to soya plantations between 1998 to 200229.  Sugar cane expansion is impacting on many forests, including the Amazon, the Pantanal, South America’s Atlantic Forest, rainforests in Uganda, and in the Philippines.  Palm oil is linked to large-scale deforestation in South-east Asia, Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil, Central America, Uganda, Cameroon and elsewhere.

The above-soil carbon held in a mature oil palm plantation is only a small fraction of what old growth forests store: Primary forests in Indonesia have been found to hold 306 tonnes of carbon per hectare, whereas mature oil palm plantations hold 63 tonnes per hectare, but are not expected to survive more than 25 years at the most.30

We believe that, as long as there are no proven safeguards that biofuel expansion will not trigger further deforestation or ecosystem destruction anywhere in the world, the risks involved are far too high.  Small-scale ‘greenhouse gas savings’ which can be measured in micro-studies do not outweigh the very real risk of triggering catastrophic forest die-back in the Amazon and elsewhere, which could cause massive carbon releases, trigger other irreversible climate feedbacks, and potentially disrupt rainfall patterns and thus agriculture over very large areas. 

Predictions for Biofuel Supplies and Climate Change

We are concerned that many of the studies which suggest that biofuel production can be increased significantly, particularly in Latin America, Asia, and Africa, without impacting on ecosystems or food supplies take no account of climate change projections.31  Those studies project current climate conditions and crop trends for the past twenty years well into the middle of this century.  We believe that policy decisions must not be based on studies which predict future agricultural trends without taking account of IPCC climate change predictions.  The 2007 IPCC Summary for Policymakers32 predicts significant drying over large parts of northern and southern Africa, most of Brazil and parts of neighbouring countries, Chile and Argentina, Central America, large parts of Australia, the Middle East, Europe and Central Asia, with seasonal drying over much of South and South-east Asia.  Together with temperature rises, those drying trends will inevitably reduce agricultural production in the very countries where monoculture expansion for biofuels is being promoted most strongly.  Recent results from a climate modeling study for Brazil suggest that climate change will make cultivation of soya, corn and coffee impossible in large parts of Brazil, particularly in the north33.  Predictions made for continuing yield increases in those countries clearly conflict with the results of climate change models. 

In Europe, per hectare yields of oilseed rape have been falling for three years running because of ‘extreme weather impacts’34.  Climate change is expected to intensify those extreme weather trends.  Falling per hectare yields will either lead to the expansion of cropland into land under natural vegetation, or to reduced output, or both.

Life-cycle greenhouse gas assessments: What can they tell us?

Much of the ‘evidence’ presented for biofuels reducing greenhouse gas emissions is based on life-cycle greenhouse gas assessments, which look at emissions linked to biofuel production within very close parameters, generally ignoring the larger picture of ‘land use change’, and often ignoring soil organic carbon emissions and, in some cases, nitrous oxide emissions.  Only a limited number of life-cycle assessments have been peer-reviewed, and there is a complete lack of peer-reviewed evidence for some feedstocks such as palm oil or jatropha. 

Many life-cycle assessments point to significant uncertainties, particularly with regard to the attribution of byproducts, and soil nitrous oxide emissions35.
Corn ethanol is one of the biofuels for which most research evidence is available.  An evaluation of six different analyses by Alexander Farrell et al, published in Science in January 200636 reveals a wide range of methods used and different results reached.  The authors of this article conclude that corn ethanol brings small greenhouse gas savings of 13% compared to petrol, but only if soil erosion and land conversion are ignored.  This study, in turn has been criticized some scientists37.  Alexander Farrell and his colleagues said in response to this criticism: “Including incommensurable quantities such as soil erosion and climate change into a single metric requires an arbitrary determination of their relative value.”  Yet soil erosion implies the loss of soil organic carbon and a need to use further energy and fertilizer input (with more nitrous oxide emissions) to be able to farm the land.  We do not believe that studies which ignore climate change impacts and soil erosion should be the basis for policy making.

Life-cycle assessments (LCAs) generally take no account of land-use change, which accounts for the greatest carbon emissions linked to biofuel production (see above).  LCAs cannot take account of the indirect effects on deforestation and ecosystem destruction: One can measure emissions linked to the production of corn ethanol, but that corn may be grown at the expense of soya and, as a result, soya plantations in South America might be expanding and might cause more deforestation, resulting in very large carbon emissions.38  Alternatively, one can measure emissions from soya plantations which displace traditional farmland, without then measuring emissions from deforestation which may result from the displacement of local communities.  Given that  LCAs do not measure those wider impacts, we cannot rely on them giving us an idea of the full climate change impact of biofuel production. 

Nor can LCAs account for the uncertainties over secondary climate impacts from nitrogen fertilization, or feedback mechanisms from deforestation. 


We are very concerned that biofuel expansion is accelerating climate change through deforestation, ecosystem destruction, peat drainage, soil organic carbon losses, and the wider effects of increased nitrate fertilization.  We do not believe that life-cycle greenhouse gas assessments, which look at the micro-level only, can capture those wider impacts.  Even at the micro-level, there is little scientific consensus, and there are large uncertainties. 

We are concerned that biofuel strategies are being developed without any proper risk analysis having been done: The impacts from the ‘worst case scenarios’ such as the complete destruction of South-east Asia’s peatlands, or the irreversible die-back of the Amazon forest are of such magnitude that they clearly are not ‘risks worth taking’.  We fear that policies are being developed based on micro-studies, whilst the wider impacts on the global climate and on ecosystem have been ignored and risks of potentially catastrophic impacts, however high or low the probabilities might be, have not been looked at.

Question 4: Solutions and recommendations to reduce negative impacts and promote benefits:

It is essential that a full risk analysis is done, before one can even discuss measures to ‘reduce negative impacts’.

There is a proven link between monoculture expansion and deforestation, and we know that further deforestation can result in non-linear feedbacks which would be impossible to stop and which could, in the worst case, push global warming beyond human control and devastate agriculture and the lives of hundreds of millions of people.  As we have said, those are not risks which we can afford to take.

Those are not simply ‘negative impacts’ which can be reduced – they are not comparable to limited pollution over a small area, for example, which could be mitigated. 

There are several proposals for certification, though it is not clear how they would be enforced, and there is no agreement what should be included and how compliance would be audited. 

None of those proposals, however, deal with the macro impacts of biofuel production, as mentioned above: The impacts of deforestation will be the same whether biofuels are grown directly at the expense of primary forests, or whether they displace other types of agriculture into those forests.  There is an established link between commodity prices and deforestation rates, and there are no credible proposals as to how this link can be broken.  Nor can certification make monoculture expansion sustainable or ‘climate friendly’. 

In the absence of proven safeguards which would address not just immediate impacts of biofuel production, but the wider macros/displacement impacts, too, we believe that the risks of promoting large-scale biofuel expansion based on monocultures remain unacceptably high.


1) Stern Review Report on the Economics of Climate Change, 2006,
2) Global Oil Outlook: Demand and Supply, Claude Mandil, Executive Director, International Energy  Authority, 12th February 2007,
3) Global Anthropogenic Non-CO2 Greenhouse Gas Emissions: 1990-2020, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2006, Table 1-2.,
4) Mosier, A. R. and Zhu, Z. L. (2000) ‘Changes in patterns of fertiliser nitrogen use in Asia and its consequences for N2O emissions from agriculture systems’, Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems, vol 57, no 1, pp107-117
5) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis, Chapter 4,,
6) Livestock’s Long Shadow: Environmental Issues and Options, published by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, p.50
7) See UNEP Press release “Dead Zones Emergin as Big Threat to 21st Century Fish Stocks”, UNEP News Release 2004/14,
8) Nitrogen rain makes bogs contribute to climate change, Håkan Rydin, 2006,  
9) see for example Andre Faaij, Global Potential for Biofuels, presentation to the IEA and the United Nations Foundation, June 2005, where he says:  “Most optimistic scenario: intensive agriculture concentrated on better quality soils”; and also ‘Biofuels for Transportation: Global Potential and Implications for Sustainable Agriculture and Energy in the 21st Century’, 
10) Jenkinson, D.S. et al (1987) Modelling the turnover of organic matter in long-term experiments at Rothamsted. INTECOL Bulletin 15, 1-8. Abstract:
11) Wells-to-Wheels Report 2006, JRC-IES, download from
12) see (6), p.51.
13) A quickscan of global bioenergy potentiasl to 2050, Published in Progress in Energy and Combustion Science (2006, in press)
Edward M.W. Smeets, André P.C. Faaij, Iris M. Lewandowski and Wim C. Turkenburg 2006,
14) Changes in Soil Organic Carbon Contents and Nitrous Oxide Emissions after Introduction of No-Till in Pampean Agroecosystems Haydée S. Steinbach* and Roberto Alvarez, Published in J Environ Qual 35:3-13 (2006), ].  
15) see:   
16) Macedo, Copersucar Technological Centre, Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Avoided Emissions in the Production and Utilization of Sugar Cane, Sugar and Ethanol in Brazil: 1990-1994
17) see Policies and practices in Indonesian wetlands, Wetlands International, 2005,'06.pdf
18) "Peat CO2, Assessment of CO2 emissions from drained peatlands in SE Asia",  Hooijer, Silvius, Wösten and Page, 2006
20) Page, S.E., F. Siegert, J. O. Rieley, V. Boehm Hans-Dieter, A. Jaya, and S. Limin. 2002. The
amount of carbon released from peat and forest fires in Indonesia during 1997. Nature 420: 61. 65
21) see(6), p. 90
22) Cropland expansion changes deforestation dynamics in the southern Brazilian Amazon, Douglas C. Morton et al, PNAS 2006 103: 14637-14641 ,
23) see for example Old-Growth Forests Can Accumulate Carbon in Soils, Guoyi Zhou et a;, Science 1 December 2006:, Vol. 314. no. 5804, p. 1417, DOI: 10.1126/science.1130168#
24) same as (22)
25) Amazon Scenarios, Woods Hole Research Centre,
26) for example Climatic variability and vegetation vulnerability in Amazonia
L. R. Hutyra et al, GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 32, L24712, doi:10.1029/2005GL024981, 2005 and also
A new climate-vegetation equilibrium state for Tropical South America Marcos Daisuke Oyama and Carlos Alfonso Nobre, GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 30, NO. 23, 2199, doi:10.1029/2003GL018600, 2003
28) see
29) UNEP Press Release, 29th November 2005,
30) Carbon Sequestration and Trace Gas Emissions in Slash-and-Burn and Alternative Land Uses in the Humid Tropics, Alternatives to Slash And Burn Working Group, October 1999, see
31) see (13)
32) Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis, Summary for Policy Makers, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change,
33) see
34) Commodity Intelligence Report,  21st June 2006, U.S. Department of Agriculture and Foreign Agricultural Service,
35) Note: A European study, on the other hand, “Energy and greenhouse gas balance for Europe - an update” by CONCAWE ad hoc group on Alternative Fuels, Report 2/02  [] suggested that uncertainties were such that it was impossible to say whether greenhouse gas savings from rapeseed methyl esther were 7% or 58%, neither figure including soil organic carbon losses.
36) “Ethanol can contribute to energy and environmental goals” by Alexander Farrell et al, Science Vol 311, 27.1.2006. Source:
37) LETTERS Energy Returns on Ethanol Production 
Cutler J. Cleveland, Charles A. S. Hall, Robert A. Herendeen;, Nathan Hagens, Robert Costanza, Kenneth Mulder;, Lee Lynd, Nathanael Greene, Bruce Dale, Mark Laser, Dan Lashof, Michael Wang, Charles Wyman;, Robert K. Kaufmann;, Tad W. Patzek;, Alexander E. Farrell, Richard J. Plevin, Brian T. Turner, Andrew D. Jones, Michael O'Hare, and Daniel M. Kammen (23 June 2006)
Science 312 (5781), 1746. [DOI: 10.1126/science.312.5781.1746
38) The FAO Food Outlook No. 2, December 2006 states: "The price depressing effect of large stocks could be offset by continued strength in feed grain prices, which, eventually should stimulate oilmeal demand. The futures market tends to point into this direction: by late November 2006, the CBOT March contract for soybeans was about US$50 per tonne (or 23 percent) higher than the corresponding value of 2005 and, since September 2006, the development of soybean futures prices has been strongly influenced by maize futures."
posted on 2007-03-09 10:45 UTC by Mr Ian Lander, Biofuelwatch

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