There are growing opportunities and demands for the use of biomass to provide additional renewables, energy for heat, power and fuel, pharmaceuticals and green chemical feedstocks. However, the worldwide potential of bioenergy is limited, because all land is multifunctional, and land is also needed for food, feed, timber and fiber production, a...nd for nature conservation and climate protection. The recent expansion of the bioenergy industries together with a strong increase in many commodity prices has raised concerns over the land use choices between energy needs and food and feed. New systems of energy production must be developed based on cost of environmental damage due to production and use of fossil energy and certain chemicals and materials. This article presents risks to food and energy security, estimates of bioenergy potential and the challenges of the environmental and social impact associated with expansions in bioenergy production.
The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is a cornerstone of EU policy relating to rural areas. Initially, it aimed to provide a harmonised framework for maintaining adequate supplies, increasing productivity and ensuring that both consumers and producers received a fair deal in the market. These priorities have shifted to environmental and animal...welfare concerns, as well as food safety and security aspects. As a consequence, the CAP has gradually moved from a production-based structure of subsidies to a market-oriented system, integrating standards for food, environment and biodiversity, as well as animal welfare. In 2010, the EU launched an extensive debate on the future of the CAP, as the European Union needs a better tailored, reformed Common Agricultural Policy to answer the challenges of food, growth and jobs in rural areas. The European agriculture must address the expectations of rural society and demands of the market concerning public goods, the environment and climate change. This raises questions of whether the CAP payments in the past have been effective in achieving their objectives and whether direct payments should be continued for supporting agricultural environmental issues.
The aim of this paper is to show the economic importance of land usage. This topic is important because land is the basis of industrial and agricultural production, as well as energy and environmental security. The focus of the analysis is the relationship between land usage and scarcity and sustainability.
Limited land is available globally to grow crops for food and fuel. There are direct and indirect pressures on forests and other lands to be converted from growing food for feedstock to be used for biofuel production. The balance of evidence indicates there will probably be sufficient appropriate land available to meet demands for both food and... fuel, but this needs to be confirmed before global supply of biofuel is allowed to increase significantly. There is a future for a sustainable biofuels industry, but feedstock production must avoid encroaching on agricultural land that would otherwise be used for food production. And while advanced technologies offer significant potential for higher greenhouse gas (GHG) savings through biofuels, these will be offset if feedstock production uses existing agricultural land and prevents land-use change. GHG savings can be achieved by using feedstock grown mainly on marginal land or that does not use land, such as wastes and residues. To ensure that biofuels deliver net GHG benefits, governments should amend, but not abandon, their biofuel policies in recognition of the dangers from indirect effects of land-use changes. Large areas of uncertainty remain in the overall impacts and benefits of biofuels. International action is needed in order to improve data, models and controls, and to understand and to manage effects.
When viewed from the perspective of climate policy, agriculture as a separate sector is one of the most difficult development areas to assess. One of the reasons for this is the problem of the localization of greenhouse gas emitters, caused by the fact that production takes place in small or dispersed production units. The special circumstance...that unit production takes place in complex interactive systems (food, feed, energy sources, main products, by-products, etc.) is yet another special factor, which in addition makes it significantly more difficult to measure and identify the GHGs they emit than if they were a uniform production plant. Additionally, there are few sectors outside agriculture where decision-makers encounter such strong opposition and lobby interests when developing limiting regulations. This stems from the fact that following World War II, European decision-makers and the Common Agricultural Policy elevated agriculture to a prominent role whose importance was indisputable. As a result, both climate policy and other measures that would result in any reduction of the priority of the sector are very difficult to implement, since the players involved always reason that limitations would restrict their competiveness and the security of their production. In addition, the uncertain nature of regulatory elements also poses a grave problem. As an example, the name of the sector itself – the LULUCF (Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry) sector – shows that the strategy for reducing the greenhouse gasses emitted by the whole sector would be significantly different if these units were treated separately (agricultural land use, forest, not-cultivated areas). Taking the above into account, the present study aims to identify development directions that in turn allow those low-carbon development directions to be pinpointed within animal husbandry and plant production that have the greatest feasibility and can contribute to decreasing the GHG environmental load exerted by agriculture.