The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change early this week released its "Bioenergy and Climate Change Mitigation: An Assessment" report, finding that biofuels production is beneficial, and Indirect Land Use Change modeling is unverifiable.
"Bioenergy projects can be economically beneficial, by raising and diversifying farm incomes and increasing rural employment through the production of biofuels for domestic or export markets," the report said.
It also touted job creation in Brazil: "Brazilian sugar cane ethanol production provides six times more jobs than the Brazilian petroleum sector and spreads income benefits across numerous municipalities."
According to the Global Renewable Fuels Association, the IPCC report's findings are consistent with a 2012 GRFA report which found that global ethanol production in 2010 supported nearly 1.4 million jobs in all sectors worldwide and contributed over $273 million to the global economy.
GFRA said the report also reinforces a recent study conducted by ABF Economics, which found that the U.S ethanol industry in 2013 created 86,503 jobs.
"Not only do biofuels, particularly ethanol, have the lowest CO2 abatements compared to any other renewable energy but the latest IPCC climate change mitigation report confirmed that they make significant contributions to economies," GRFA spokesman Bliss Baker said.
Indirect Land Use Change
Indirect Land Use Change modeling, which is used to predict future land use patterns globally, is not a good indicator of ethanol's impacts.
"These estimates of global LUC are highly uncertain, unobservable, unverifiable, and dependent on assumed policy, economic contexts, and inputs used in the modelling," the report said.
GRFA said ILUC relies on assumptions, not facts, to predict future land use patterns.
"The GRFA applauds the UN for recognizing that the ILUC theory has no ability to accurately predict future land use patterns and hopefully it can now focus on the real challenges to food security like rising crude oil prices and food waste," Baker said.