Friday, May 21, 2010

A Nice Dose of Honesty About Indirect Land Use Change

Articles that cut through the fog on indirect land use change are few and far between. But the latest update from the Agricultural and Resource Economics Department at UC-Berkeley, entitled Indirect Land Use: One Consideration Too Many in Biofuel Regulation does just that.

The article concludes that penalizing biofuels for indirect land use change: (1) contradicts a basic principle of regulation by holding a regulated party accountable for actions well outside of their control; (2) may be irresponsible given that the land use impacts depend on so many variables and cannot be predicted with precision; (3) is inconsistent because so many other indirect effects are ignored by current regulations; and, (4) may have the perverse result of undercutting advanced biofuel investment.

The article concludes by saying that "[r]emoval of [indirect land use penalties] from LCAs will present an improvement of biofuel regulations." The article will sound familiar to NFA members, but is worth a read.

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