Direct land use
3.d GHG emissions from direct land use change shall be estimated using IPCC Tier 1 methodology and values. Better performance than IPCC default values can be proven through models or field experiments.
3.e GHG emissions from indirect land use change, i.e. that arise through macroeconomic effects of biofuels production, shall be minimized. There is no broadly-accepted methodology to determine them. Practical steps that shall be taken to minimize these indirect effects will include:
• Maximising use of waste and residues as feedstocks; marginal, degraded or previously cleared land; improvements to yields; and efficient crops;
• International collaboration to prevent detrimental land use changes; and
• Avoiding the use of land or crops that are likely to induce negative land use conversion.
Indirect land use change can have negative and/or positive impacts.
The direct effects can be addressed with existing tools reasonably well. The estimation of indirect effects is very uncertain.
All the land uses are interlinked. We should not focus just on biofuels. We should do with the worldwide market and market forces. The allocation has to been done at a worldwide level with all the products of land.
Direct land use change can be treated quantitatively relatively well. The concept of payback time is appropriate in this case. Transparency is a key issue.
Indirect land use change is linked with very high uncertainties. There are many factors at play, many of them of a societal and political nature so that the actual effects and their magnitudes are extremely difficult to predict or even to prove or disprove with any level of confidence.
There is general agreement on the use of IPCC default values and guidelines for best practices. However, it is important to remember that the IPCC methodology is revisited infrequently and that Tier 3 allows the use of factors based on comprehensive field sampling. Regulators have this way the possibility to make use of the latest research.
IPCC methodology can be used through the payback time system.
In principle, the RSB believes that general criteria should be established in addressing indirect land use changes of biofuel production from various feedstocks. That is, if sound, complete models are available, those models could be used to simulate potential indirect land use changes if biofuel feedstocks are to grow on different land types. The simulation of market-induced indirect land use changes requires general equilibrium models to take into account food supply, food demand, land availability by land type, yield increase responses to price increases of agricultural commodities, among many other factors.
In reality, the RSB realizes that in the near term, such models do not exist. For the time being, the RSB believes that the growth of biofuel feedstock can be categories into different land types. Based on the historical trends and the suitability of different land types, the RSB intuitively believe that growth of biofuel feedstocks in certain types of land may not result in meaningful indirect land use changes. These land types are specified below. In these cases, indirect land use changes may not need to be considered in evaluation of biofuel GHG effects.
We need to find urgently a way to assess quantitatively the indirect effects.
The use of residues and waste shall not compromise soil quality, in accordance with Principle 8. Careful definitions and guidelines for identifying preferred land (marginal, degraded, underutilized, etc.) will be needed. The RSB will work with international agencies and experts to assess the indirect impacts of biofuels production to give guidance to producers.
Waste products (defined by the IPCC as having no economic value) will have zero allocation of historical emissions. It is possible that the definition of ‘waste’ will be expanded beyond the IPCC definition.
Teleconference held on 3rd of June, 2008 Minutes Background paper Annex
The group has consensus that IPCC is the best science of reference for today, but we should also make sure to include references to the best available science in general and leave room for improvements. However, these should not fall outside of the scope of internationally-agreed consensus.
The IPCC definition of waste (no or negligible revenue) will be used critically to set up a list of “real” waste (like waste vegetable oil used for cooking) for which the focus should be only on processing, transport, and use. The secretariat is conscious that the list will be rather short.
Teleconference held on 18th of December, 2007 Background Paper Annex 1 Annex 2 Annex 3 Minutes