chapter  8
24 Pages

Biomass energy and competition for land


Biomass energy can be used to avoid greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels by providing equivalent energy services: electricity, transportation fuels and heat if a significant amount of fossil fuel is not used in its production (IPCC, 2000). In 2001, global biomass energy use for cooking and heating was 39 exajoules (EJ), or 9.3 per cent of the global primary energy use, and biomass energy use for electricity and fuel generation was 6 EJ, or 1.4 per cent of global primary energy use (IEA, 2001; Smeets and Faaij, 2007). The estimates of the global bioenergy production potential vary substantially from a low estimate of 350 EJ/year (Fisher and Schrattenholzer, 2001) to as much as 1,300 EJ/year (IEA, 2001) to 2,900 EJ/year (Obersteiner et al., 2002; Hall and Rosillo-Calle, 1998). Because global demand for food is also expected to double over the next 50 years (Fedoroff and Cohen, 1999), increased biofuel production competes with agricultural land needed for food production.