Environmental, Social & Economic Impacts projects

Indirect Land Use Implications of Biofuels Programs - Completed

An accurate assessment of indirect land use change (ILUC) impacts is very important for regulatory analysis. This project team produced land conversion vectors in order to assess the Greenhouse Gas impacts of biofuels under a variety of scenarios currently under consideration by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). The Berkeley staff selected the GTAP (Global Trade Analysis Project), an open-source modeling framework with international coverage, as the preferred path forward toward better modeling of ILUC.  The model looked at effects on ILUC of U.S.-based corn ethanol and biodiesel, as well as impact of imports of sugarcane-based ethanol on ILUC.

project Highlights

2009 Highlights

GTAP modelers Thomas Hertel and Berkeley's David Roland-Holst modeled two important current biofuel pathways, research essential to implementing the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS). Hertel reported and analyzed corn and the team provided soybean biodiesel estimates to the California Air Resources Board to be included in its current rulemaking for the LCFS. In both cases, the O’Hare group’s work indicates that field crop-based biofuels, at least those made from seeds, are not less GHG-intensive than fossil fuels and further supports the importance of cellulosic feedstocks not competing with food for land in sustainable biofuel systems.



Published in 2010

Effects of U.S. Maize Ethanol on Global Land Use and Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Estimating Market-Mediated Responses, Thomas Hertel, Alla Golub, Andrew Jones, Michael O'Hare, Richard Plevin, Daniel Kammen, BioScience, 60(3): pp. 223-231, March 2010.

Accounting for the Water Impacts of Ethanol Production, Kevin Fingerman, Margaret Torn, Michael O'Hare, Daniel Kammen, Environmental Research Letters, 5(1), January-March 2010.



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