Indirect Land Use Change: data not confirming theory, says MSU group

May 25, 2011 |

In Michigan, more detail emerged on a new study by the Michigan State University branch of the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, which concluded that, based on data from 2002 to 2007, biofuel production “is not significantly correlated with changes in croplands for corn (coarse grain) plus soybean in regions of the world which are… trading partners of the United States.”

Another study late last year, conducted by Oak Ridge National Laboratory on behalf of the US Department of Energy, found that the impact of ethanol expansion over the past decade has had a “minimal to zero” impact on land use changes.

The theory of indirect land use change – which claimed that increased demand for biofuel feedstocks like corn and soybeans has led to land use changes around that world, which ultimately result in greater greenhouse gas emissions – was first substantially raised in 2008 based on modeling data. Since then, indirect land use change has featured in both EPA and CARB biofuels lifecycle emissions calculations. However, independent studies looking at hard data have been generally unable to confirm the theory to date.

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Category: Research

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