Biofuels and Climate Change Mitigation: A CGE Analysis Incorporating Land-Use Change

29 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by Govinda R. Timilsina

Govinda R. Timilsina

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

Simon Mevel

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Date Written: June 1, 2011


The question of whether biofuels help mitigate climate change has attracted much debate in the literature. Using a global computable general equilibrium model that explicitly represents land-use change impacts due to the expansion of biofuels, this study attempts to shed some light on this question. The study shows that if biofuel mandates and targets currently announced by more than 40 countries around the world are implemented by 2020 using crop feedstocks, and if both forests and pasture lands are used to meet the new land demands for biofuel expansion, this would cause a net increase of greenhouse gas emissions released to the atmosphere until 2043, since the cumulative greenhouse gas emissions released through land-use change would exceed the reduction of emissions due to replacement of gasoline and diesel until then. However, if the use of forest lands is avoided by channeling only pasture lands to meet the demand for new lands, a net increase of cumulative greenhouse gas emissions would occur but would cease by 2021, only a year after the assumed full implementation of the mandates and targets. The study also shows, contrary to common perceptions, that the rate of deforestation does not increase with the rate of biofuel expansion; instead, the marginal rate of deforestation and corresponding land-use emissions decrease even if the production of biofuels increases.

Keywords: Climate Change Mitigation and Green House Gases, Climate Change Economics, Energy and Environment, Environment and Energy Efficiency, Climate Change and Environment

Suggested Citation

Timilsina, Govinda R. and Mevel, Simon, Biofuels and Climate Change Mitigation: A CGE Analysis Incorporating Land-Use Change (June 1, 2011). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 5672. Available at SSRN:

Govinda R. Timilsina (Contact Author)

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG) ( email )

1818 H Street NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Simon Mevel

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) ( email )

1201 Eye St, NW,
Washington, DC 20005
United States

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