This study analyses the likely impacts on land use and greenhouse gas emissions of biofuel use by 2020, as projected in recently published National Renewable Energy Action Plans in 23 EU member states. The analysis includes evidence on size and impacts of ‘indirect land use change’ (ILUC) resulting from biofuel use.
It is the most comprehensive study to date to quantify these eff ects. The study reveals that the EU’s plans for biofuels will result in the conversion of up to 69 000 square kilometers (km2) of land to agricultural use due to ILUC. This will potentially put forests, other natural ecosystems, and poor communities at risk. Land conversion on such a scale will lead to the release of carbon emissions from vegetation and soil, making biofuels more damaging to the climate than the fossil fuels they are designed to replace.