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Scientific analysis is essential to assess biofuel policy effects: In response to the paper by Kim and Dale on “Indirect landuse change for biofuels: Testing predictions and improving analytical methodologies”

Land-use change (LUC) estimated by economic models has sparked intense international debate. Models estimate how much LUC might be induced under prescribed scenarios and rely on assumptions to generate LUC values. It is critical to test and validate underlying
assumptions with empirical evidence. Furthermore, this modeling approach cannot answer if any specific indirect effects are actually caused by biofuel policy. The best way to resolve questions of causation is via scientific methods. Kim and Dale attempt to address the question of if, rather than how much, market-induced land-use change is currently detectable based on the analysis of historic evidence, and in doing so, explore some modeling assumptions behind the drivers of change. Given that there is no accepted approach to estimate the global effects of biofuel policy on land-use change, it is critical to assess the actual effects of policies through careful analysis and interpretation of empirical
data. Decision makers need a valid scientific basis for policy decisions on energy choices.

Contact Person
Virginia Dale
Contact Organization
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
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Bioenergy Category
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