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Latest outlooks on biofuels

by Emily Jack-Scott, Aspen Global Change Institute

September 2020 Quarterly Research Review

Looking to the future, most scenarios that curb climate change to less than 2°C by 2100 rely heavily upon rapid scaling up of biofuels to offset emissions, especially within the transportation sector (including hard-to-decarbonize aviation and long-distance transport like trucking) as well as in the industry sector. Advocates point out that large bioenergy systems have the potential to not only displace fossil fuel emissions but sequester carbon in soils of feedstock crops, biochar, or when coupled with carbon capture and sequestration (BECCS). Critics, however, point out that bioenergy at scale is land intensive, which will likely bring it into competition with food production (even with increasing crop yields), as well as habitat conservation and restoration priorities.

Two recent publications investigate questions about when and how biofuels and bioenergy can be sustainably deployed in the coming decades.

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Published Date: 
September 15, 2020
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