Biofuels can Reduce GHG Emissions but to Plunge the Tropical Forests

Bogor, August 5, 2008

Biofuels can help reduce GHG emissions. However, the carbon payback time or 'carbon payback time' refers to the annual rate, which is a consequence of time required to compensate for the reduced emissions by replacing fossil fuels with biofuels and conversion of forests to grow biofuel crops, such as palm oil, sugar cane, and soybeans.

In the journal Environmental Research Letters, Gibbs and Jonathan Foley, writer, doing research on the carbon payback time on biofuel crops. The results showed changes require 30-300 years rainforests as carbon payback time for the entire crop feedstocks, even when taking into account the major changes in agricultural technology and energy. If biofuel crops are produced at the expense of tropical forests, then there will be no changes can be expected in the agricultural and energy technologies that can achieve significant carbon benefits.

However, agricultural production of sustainable biofuels on degraded lands and are not suitable for food production can provide immediate environmental benefits. The results showed that the production of biofuels in the tropics-in degraded lands, former agricultural land, and others-clearly as possible, and can provide substantial benefits to the environmental, economic, and social.

Other research by RRI (Rights and Resources Initiative), estimates that about 515 million acres needed to meet the needs for food, bioenergy and wood products by 2030. And 315 million of which came from tropical forests, especially in Southeast Asia and the Amazon. On the other hand, the loss of forests will be more severe, which may lead to more conflict, and carbon emissions, so that climate change will be felt, and lowering the prosperity of all people.

In Indonesia, oil palm plantations will grow from 6.5 million ha now be 16.5-26 million ha in 2025. However, changes in forest land can lead to conflict because many rural land ownership is unclear, especially in developing countries. Only 27 percent of forests in developing countries are clearly owned by the community or the general forest ditujukkan to the community. Until now, the government still controls much of the forest, while the forest land demands by the industry rose sharply, with the production of biofuels and other reasons.

In the RRI report also mentions that the REDD mechanism for forest carbon offsets can exacerbate conflicts over land rights in the area of land ownership has not been determined.

Source: (15&22-0708)