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Climate Risk Management for the U.S. Cellulosic Biofuels Supply Chain

a b s t r a c t
As U.S. energy policy turns to bioenergy, and second-generation biofuels in particular, to
foster energy security and environmental benefits, consideration should be given to the
implications of climate risk for the incipient bioenergy industry. As a case-in-point, we
review evidence from the 2012 U.S. drought, underscoring the risk of extreme weather
events to the agricultural sector in general, and the bioenergy supply chain in particular,
including reductions in feedstock production and higher prices for agricultural
commodities and biofuels. We also use a risk management framework developed by the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to review current understanding regarding
climate-related hazards, exposure, and vulnerability of the bioenergy supply chain with
a particular emphasis on the growing importance of lignocellulosic feedstocks to future
bioenergy development. A number of climate-related hazards are projected to become
more severe in future decades, and future growth of bioenergy feedstocks is likely to occur
disproportionately in regions preferentially exposed to such hazards. However, strategies
and opportunities are available across the supply chain to enhance coping and adaptive
capacity in response to this risk. In particular, the implications of climate change will be
influenced by the expansion of cellulosic feedstocks, particularly perennial grasses and
woody biomass. In addition, advancements in feedstock development, logistics, and
extension provide opportunities to support the sustainable development of a robust U.S.
bioenergy industry as part of a holistic energy and environmental policy. However, given
the nascent state of the cellulosic biofuels industry, careful attention should be given to
managing climate risk over both short- and long-time scales.
Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license

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Matthew Langholtz
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Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license
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