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Title: Assessing the interactions among U.S. climate policy, biomass energy, and agricultural trade

Energy from biomass is potentially an important contributor to U.S. climate change mitigation efforts. However, an important consideration to large-scale implementation of bioenergy is that the production of biomass competes with other uses of land. This includes traditionally economically productive uses, such as agriculture and forest products, as well as storage of carbon in forests and non-commercial lands. In addition, in the future, biomass may be more easily traded, meaning that increased U.S. reliance on bioenergy could come with it greater reliance on imported energy. Several approaches could be implemented to address these issues, including limits on U.S. biomass imports and protection of U.S. and global forests. This paper explores these dimensions of bioenergy’s role in U.S. climate policy and the relationship to these alternative measures for ameliorating the trade and land use consequences of bioenergy. It first demonstrates that widespread use of biomass in the U.S. could lead to imports; and it highlights that the relative stringency of domestic and international carbon mitigation policy will heavily influence the degree to which it is imported. Next, it demonstrates that while limiting biomass imports would prevent any reliance on other countries for this energy supply, it would most likely alter themore » balance of trade in other agricultural products against which biomass competes; for example, it might turn the U.S. from a corn exporter to a corn importer. Finally, it shows that increasing efforts to protect both U.S. and international forests could also affect the balance of trade in other agricultural products.« less
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Resource Type:
Journal Article
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Journal Name: The Energy Journal, 35(Special Issue)
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
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Country of Publication:
United States