Bioenergy production and sustainable development: science base for policy-making remains limited

Carmenza Robledo-Abad, H.J. Althaus, G. Berndes, Simon Bolwig, E. Corbera, F. Creutzig, J. Garcia-Ulloa, A. Geddes, Jay Sterling Gregg, H. Haberl, S. Hanger, R.J. Harper, C. Hunsberger, R. K. Larsen, Ch. Lauk, S. Leitner, J. Lilliestam, H. Lotze-Campen, B. Muys, M. Nordborg & 7 others M. Ölund, B. Orlowsky, A. Popp, J. Portugal-Pereira, J. Reinhard, L. Scheiffle, P. Smith

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    Abstract

    The possibility of using bioenergy as a climate change mitigation measure has sparked a discussion of whether and how bioenergy production contributes to sustainable development. We undertook a systematic review of the scientific literature to illuminate this relationship and found a limited scientific basis for policy-making. Our results indicate that knowledge on the sustainable development impacts of bioenergy production is concentrated in a few well-studied countries, focuses on environmental and economic impacts, and mostly relates to dedicated agricultural biomass plantations. The scope and methodological approaches in studies differ widely and only a small share of the studies sufficiently reports on context and/or baseline conditions, which makes it difficult to get a general understanding of the attribution of impacts. Nevertheless we identified regional patterns of positive or negative impacts for all categories – environmental, economic, institutional, social and technological. In general, economic and technological impacts were more frequently reported as positive, while social and environmental impacts were more frequently reported as negative (with the exception of impacts on direct substitution of GHG emission from fossil fuel). More focused and transparent research is needed to validate these patterns and develop a strong science underpinning for establishing policies and governance agreements that prevent/mitigate negative and promote positive impacts from bioenergy production.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalGCB Bioenergy
    Volume9
    Issue number3
    Pages (from-to)541–556
    ISSN1757-1693
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2017

    Cite this

    Robledo-Abad, C., Althaus, H. J., Berndes, G., Bolwig, S., Corbera, E., Creutzig, F., ... Smith, P. (2017). Bioenergy production and sustainable development: science base for policy-making remains limited. GCB Bioenergy, 9(3), 541–556. https://doi.org/10.1111/gcbb.12338
    Robledo-Abad, Carmenza ; Althaus, H.J. ; Berndes, G. ; Bolwig, Simon ; Corbera, E. ; Creutzig, F. ; Garcia-Ulloa, J. ; Geddes, A. ; Gregg, Jay Sterling ; Haberl, H. ; Hanger, S. ; Harper, R.J. ; Hunsberger, C. ; Larsen, R. K. ; Lauk, Ch. ; Leitner, S. ; Lilliestam, J. ; Lotze-Campen, H. ; Muys, B. ; Nordborg, M. ; Ölund, M. ; Orlowsky, B. ; Popp, A. ; Portugal-Pereira, J. ; Reinhard, J. ; Scheiffle, L. ; Smith, P. / Bioenergy production and sustainable development: science base for policy-making remains limited. In: GCB Bioenergy. 2017 ; Vol. 9, No. 3. pp. 541–556.
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    title = "Bioenergy production and sustainable development: science base for policy-making remains limited",
    abstract = "The possibility of using bioenergy as a climate change mitigation measure has sparked a discussion of whether and how bioenergy production contributes to sustainable development. We undertook a systematic review of the scientific literature to illuminate this relationship and found a limited scientific basis for policy-making. Our results indicate that knowledge on the sustainable development impacts of bioenergy production is concentrated in a few well-studied countries, focuses on environmental and economic impacts, and mostly relates to dedicated agricultural biomass plantations. The scope and methodological approaches in studies differ widely and only a small share of the studies sufficiently reports on context and/or baseline conditions, which makes it difficult to get a general understanding of the attribution of impacts. Nevertheless we identified regional patterns of positive or negative impacts for all categories – environmental, economic, institutional, social and technological. In general, economic and technological impacts were more frequently reported as positive, while social and environmental impacts were more frequently reported as negative (with the exception of impacts on direct substitution of GHG emission from fossil fuel). More focused and transparent research is needed to validate these patterns and develop a strong science underpinning for establishing policies and governance agreements that prevent/mitigate negative and promote positive impacts from bioenergy production.",
    author = "Carmenza Robledo-Abad and H.J. Althaus and G. Berndes and Simon Bolwig and E. Corbera and F. Creutzig and J. Garcia-Ulloa and A. Geddes and Gregg, {Jay Sterling} and H. Haberl and S. Hanger and R.J. Harper and C. Hunsberger and Larsen, {R. K.} and Ch. Lauk and S. Leitner and J. Lilliestam and H. Lotze-Campen and B. Muys and M. Nordborg and M. {\"O}lund and B. Orlowsky and A. Popp and J. Portugal-Pereira and J. Reinhard and L. Scheiffle and P. Smith",
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    Robledo-Abad, C, Althaus, HJ, Berndes, G, Bolwig, S, Corbera, E, Creutzig, F, Garcia-Ulloa, J, Geddes, A, Gregg, JS, Haberl, H, Hanger, S, Harper, RJ, Hunsberger, C, Larsen, RK, Lauk, C, Leitner, S, Lilliestam, J, Lotze-Campen, H, Muys, B, Nordborg, M, Ölund, M, Orlowsky, B, Popp, A, Portugal-Pereira, J, Reinhard, J, Scheiffle, L & Smith, P 2017, 'Bioenergy production and sustainable development: science base for policy-making remains limited', GCB Bioenergy, vol. 9, no. 3, pp. 541–556. https://doi.org/10.1111/gcbb.12338

    Bioenergy production and sustainable development: science base for policy-making remains limited. / Robledo-Abad, Carmenza; Althaus, H.J.; Berndes, G.; Bolwig, Simon; Corbera, E.; Creutzig, F.; Garcia-Ulloa, J.; Geddes, A.; Gregg, Jay Sterling; Haberl, H.; Hanger, S.; Harper, R.J.; Hunsberger, C.; Larsen, R. K.; Lauk, Ch.; Leitner, S.; Lilliestam, J.; Lotze-Campen, H.; Muys, B.; Nordborg, M.; Ölund, M.; Orlowsky, B.; Popp, A.; Portugal-Pereira, J.; Reinhard, J.; Scheiffle, L.; Smith, P.

    In: GCB Bioenergy, Vol. 9, No. 3, 2017, p. 541–556.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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    T1 - Bioenergy production and sustainable development: science base for policy-making remains limited

    AU - Robledo-Abad, Carmenza

    AU - Althaus, H.J.

    AU - Berndes, G.

    AU - Bolwig, Simon

    AU - Corbera, E.

    AU - Creutzig, F.

    AU - Garcia-Ulloa, J.

    AU - Geddes, A.

    AU - Gregg, Jay Sterling

    AU - Haberl, H.

    AU - Hanger, S.

    AU - Harper, R.J.

    AU - Hunsberger, C.

    AU - Larsen, R. K.

    AU - Lauk, Ch.

    AU - Leitner, S.

    AU - Lilliestam, J.

    AU - Lotze-Campen, H.

    AU - Muys, B.

    AU - Nordborg, M.

    AU - Ölund, M.

    AU - Orlowsky, B.

    AU - Popp, A.

    AU - Portugal-Pereira, J.

    AU - Reinhard, J.

    AU - Scheiffle, L.

    AU - Smith, P.

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    N2 - The possibility of using bioenergy as a climate change mitigation measure has sparked a discussion of whether and how bioenergy production contributes to sustainable development. We undertook a systematic review of the scientific literature to illuminate this relationship and found a limited scientific basis for policy-making. Our results indicate that knowledge on the sustainable development impacts of bioenergy production is concentrated in a few well-studied countries, focuses on environmental and economic impacts, and mostly relates to dedicated agricultural biomass plantations. The scope and methodological approaches in studies differ widely and only a small share of the studies sufficiently reports on context and/or baseline conditions, which makes it difficult to get a general understanding of the attribution of impacts. Nevertheless we identified regional patterns of positive or negative impacts for all categories – environmental, economic, institutional, social and technological. In general, economic and technological impacts were more frequently reported as positive, while social and environmental impacts were more frequently reported as negative (with the exception of impacts on direct substitution of GHG emission from fossil fuel). More focused and transparent research is needed to validate these patterns and develop a strong science underpinning for establishing policies and governance agreements that prevent/mitigate negative and promote positive impacts from bioenergy production.

    AB - The possibility of using bioenergy as a climate change mitigation measure has sparked a discussion of whether and how bioenergy production contributes to sustainable development. We undertook a systematic review of the scientific literature to illuminate this relationship and found a limited scientific basis for policy-making. Our results indicate that knowledge on the sustainable development impacts of bioenergy production is concentrated in a few well-studied countries, focuses on environmental and economic impacts, and mostly relates to dedicated agricultural biomass plantations. The scope and methodological approaches in studies differ widely and only a small share of the studies sufficiently reports on context and/or baseline conditions, which makes it difficult to get a general understanding of the attribution of impacts. Nevertheless we identified regional patterns of positive or negative impacts for all categories – environmental, economic, institutional, social and technological. In general, economic and technological impacts were more frequently reported as positive, while social and environmental impacts were more frequently reported as negative (with the exception of impacts on direct substitution of GHG emission from fossil fuel). More focused and transparent research is needed to validate these patterns and develop a strong science underpinning for establishing policies and governance agreements that prevent/mitigate negative and promote positive impacts from bioenergy production.

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    DO - 10.1111/gcbb.12338

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    SP - 541

    EP - 556

    JO - GCB Bioenergy

    JF - GCB Bioenergy

    SN - 1757-1693

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    ER -