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Title: On the global limits of bioenergy and land use for climate change mitigation

Across energy, agricultural and forestry landscapes, the production of biomass for energy has emerged as a controversial driver of land-use change. We present a novel, simple methodology, to probe the potential global sustainability limits of bioenergy over time for energy provision and climate change mitigation using a complex-systems approach for assessing land-use dynamics. Primary biomass that could provide between 70 EJ year -1 and 360 EJ year -1, globally, by 2050 was simulated in the context of different land-use futures, food diet patterns and climate change mitigation efforts. Our simulations also show ranges of potential greenhouse gas emissions for agriculture, forestry and other land uses by 2050, including not only above-ground biomass-related emissions, but also from changes in soil carbon, from as high as 24 GtCO 2eq year-1 to as low as minus 21 GtCO 2eq year -1, which would represent a significant source of negative emissions. Based on the modelling simulations, the discussions offer novel insights about bioenergy as part of a broader integrated system. As a result, there are sustainability limits to the scale of bioenergy provision, they are dynamic over time, being responsive to land management options deployed worldwide.
ORCiD logo [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [2] ;  [2] ;  [2]
  1. Harvard Univ., Cambridge, MA (United States); Imperial College, London (United Kingdom)
  2. Imperial College, London (United Kingdom)
  3. National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 1757-1693
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Global Change Biology. Bioenergy
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 9; Journal Issue: 12; Journal ID: ISSN 1757-1693
Research Org:
National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Bioenergy Technologies Office (EE-3B)
Country of Publication:
United States
09 BIOMASS FUELS; biomass; biofuels; food security; GCLUC model; Global Calculator; system dynamics
OSTI Identifier: