Bioenergy production and sustainable development: science base for policy-making remains limited
Reviewartikel, 2017

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.




sustainable development

food security



C. Robledo-Abad

Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation

Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich (ETH)

H.J. Althaus

Lifecycle Consulting Althaus

Foundation for Global Sustainability (ffgs)

Göran Berndes

Chalmers, Energi och miljö, Fysisk resursteori

S. Bolwig

Danmarks Tekniske Universitet (DTU)

E. Corbera

Institut de Ciencia i Tecnologia Ambientals (ICTA)-UAB

F. Creutzig

Technische Universität Berlin

J. Garcia-Ulloa

Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich (ETH)

A. Geddes

Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich (ETH)

J. S. Gregg

Danmarks Tekniske Universitet (DTU)

H. Haberl

Alpen-Adria Universitaet (AAU)

S. Hanger

Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich (ETH)

Internationales Institut fuer Angewandte Systemanalyse

R. Harper

Murdoch University

C. Hunsberger

Western University

R. K. Larsen

Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI)

C. Lauk

Alpen-Adria Universitaet (AAU)

S. Leitner

Alpen-Adria Universitaet (AAU)

J. Lilliestam

Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich (ETH)

H. Lotze-Campen

Potsdam-Institut für Klimafolgenforschung (PIK)

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

B. Muys

KU Leuven

Maria Nordborg

Chalmers, Energi och miljö, Fysisk resursteori

Maria Ölund

Göteborgs universitet

B. Orlowsky


A. Popp

Potsdam-Institut für Klimafolgenforschung (PIK)

J. Portugal-Pereira

Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ)

J. Reinhard

Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt (Empa)

L. Scheiffle

Potsdam-Institut für Klimafolgenforschung (PIK)

P. Smith

University of Aberdeen

GCB Bioenergy

1757-1693 (ISSN) 1757-1707 (eISSN)

Vol. 9 3 541-556


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