Biofuels offer one approach for reducing carbon emissions. However, the necessary agricultural expansion may endanger tropical forests. I use a dynamic model of land use to disentangle the roles of acreage and yields in the supply of sugarcane ethanol in Brazil. The model is estimated using remote sensing (satellite) information of sugarcane activities. Estimates imply that, at the margin, 92% of new ethanol comes from increases in area and only 8% from increases in yield. Direct deforestation accounts for 19% of area expansion at the margin in the long-run. I further assess carbon emissions and deforestation implications from ethanol policies.
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© 2021 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology