Environmental and Resource Economics

, Volume 55, Issue 1, pp 1-19

First online:

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

  • Govinda R. TimilsinaAffiliated withEnvironment and Energy Unit, Development Research Group, The World Bank Email author 
  • , Simon MevelAffiliated withEconomic Affairs Officer, Trade and International Negotiations Section, Regional Integration, Infrastructure & Trade Division, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa

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The question of whether or not 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, our study attempts to shed some light on this question. Our 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 net release of GHG emissions to the atmosphere until 2043 as the GHG emissions released through land-use change exceeds the reduction of emissions due to replacement of gasoline and diesel. On the other hand, if the use of forest lands is avoided by channeling only pasture lands to meet the demand for new lands, the net release of GHG emissions would cease by 2021, a year after the full implementation of the mandates and targets.


Biofuels Climate change mitigation Computable general equilibrium analysis Deforestation Land-use change