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FAO/UNEP/UN-Energy Bioenergy Decision Support Tool -
MODULE 8: Impacts
• To what extent will bioenergy production lead to a decline in soil
To what extent will soil degradation due to bioenergy production lead to a
decline in nutrients and/or in nutrient quality?
Roy et al. 2003. Assessment of soil nutrient
balance - Approaches and Methodologies.
Will bioenergy production lead to a reduction in soil productivity?
• To what extent will this affect local food production?
• To what extent will this affect the food security of local communities?
Climate and Emissions
Below are the following impact categories:
• greenhouse gas (GHG) balance; and
• potential impacts on air quality.
Bioenergy has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, but actual reductions depend on how much land and energy
are used to produce bioenergy, whether process energy is generated from renewable resources and what co-products are to be
included in the analysis. Additionally, particulate air emissions are an important impact category as these air emissions are not just
often climate related but also affect health as well. It should be noted land use change GHG emissions can be direct or indirect; direct
emissions are more quantifable than indirect land-use change impacts, of which measurement remains part of an ongoing international
discourse. These questions and sub-questions refer only to the direct land-use related climate impacts. As the consensus emerges
about how to calculate indirect land-use change related emissions, further questions or impacts shall be added.
Greenhouse gas (GHG) balances
GBEP. 2010. GHG Methodologies Taskforce: LCA
Framework for Bioenergy.
IPCC, 2006.
RFA, 2010.
FAO, 2010, BEFS Analytical Framework, Techno-Economic
and Environmental Analysis: greenhouse gas emissions.
Will the GHG balance of bioenergy production and use be
positive or negative?
Hoefnagels et al (2010) Greenhouse gas footprints of
different biofuel production systems.
Emissions of CO2, CH4, N2O, HFCs, PFCs, SF6 and other
greenhouse gases from:
• direct land use changes, through:
• conversion of land with high carbon content
land conversion using fre
indirect land use changes (either nationally or internationally)
Fritsche et al, 2010.
Ecofys, 2010.
• biomass feedstock production, through:
• emissions from operating farm/forestry machinery
• emissions from energy used in irrigation
• emissions from energy used to prepare feedstocks (drying
grains, densifcation of biomass, etc.)
• emissions from energy used in transport of feedstocks
• CO2 emissions from lime/dolomite applications
• on farm N2O emissions from nitrogen fertilizers (direct,
volatilization, runoff/leaching)
• CH4 emissions from lands (especially wetlands)
• emissions from open-air burning of post-harvest agricultural
and/or forestry residues
• emissions embodied in inputs: