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The Impacts of Biofuels Targets on Land-Use Change and Food Supply: A Global CGE Assessment

The Impacts of Biofuels Targets on Land-Use Change and Food Supply: A Global CGE Assessment


Author:     GOVINDA R. TIMILSINA, Senior Research Economist, Development Research Group

Time:       Tuesday, Sept. 21, 3:00-4:30 PM

Location:  MC8-100

Abstract: 
This study analyzes the long-term impacts of large-scale expansion of biofuels on land-use change, global food supply and prices of agricultural commodities. A global computable general equilibrium model augmented with an explicit land-use module and detailed biofuel sectors has been developed for the study. The model accounts for a detail allocation of land among various food, feed, and feedstock crops, forest land, and pasture and their interdependence and estimates land-use mix at national, regional, and global levels under a baseline case and two expansion scenarios of biofuels penetration in the global energy supply mix for road transportation. The study finds that an expansion of biofuel production to meet the existing or even higher targets in various countries would have significant land allocation effects with notable decreases in forest and pasture lands in a few countries. Our results also suggest that expansion of biofuels would cause drops in food supply. Although the magnitude of the impacts on food supply at the global level might not be as big as perceived earlier, it would be significant in developing countries like India and Sub-Saharan Africa. Agricultural commodities such as sugar, corn and oil seeds, that serve as the main biofuel feedstocks, would experience 2% to 9% increase in their prices in 2020 as compared to that in the baseline due to the expansion of biofuels to meet the existing targets.

Presenter's Biography:
GOVINDA R. TIMILSINA, Senior Research Economist, Development Research Group
Dr. Timilsina has joined the Development Research Group of the World Bank in May 2007. He has more than 15 years experience across a board range of energy and climate change economics at international level.  His key expertise includes economic modeling (e.g., general equilibrium and input-output modeling); climate change policy analysis (e.g., project based mechanisms under the Kyoto Protocol, climate change science, impacts and mitigation; GHG market); energy sector modeling (e.g., NEMS, EFOM, MARKAL, LEAP, ENPEP), renewable energy (e.g., biofuels, solar, wind) and electricity economics & planning. Prior to joining the Bank, Dr. Timilsina was a Senior Research Director at the Canadian Energy Research Institute, Calgary, Canada where he was engaged mainly on climate change policy analysis, economic impacts assessment and electricity issues. Currently, Dr. Timilsina is working on economic and environmental impacts of biofuels; urban planning and climate change mitigation; clean energy technologies and low carbon economic growth.




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