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How a Pareto frontier complements scenario projections in land use change impact assessment

Abstract: 
To evaluate the sustainability of potential agricultural land developments, scenario projections with land use change models are often combined with environmental impact assessments. Although this allows inter-scenario comparison of impacts, it does not permit interpretation of scenarios in the light of theoretically optimal impacts. A Pareto frontier provides this information. We demonstrate this for ethanol production in Goiás, Brazil, in 2030. For a Business-as-Usual scenario projection, the spatial configuration, production costs, and GHG emissions of the production chain are compared with those obtained from spatial optimization and summarized by the Pareto frontier. Projected production costs are 729 $/m3 ethanol, with GHG emissions of 40 kg CO2-eq/m3 ethanol. The Pareto frontier indicates an improvement potential of ∼50 $/m3 ethanol when keeping emissions fixed, or ∼250 kg CO2-eq/m3 ethanol when keeping costs fixed. Robust locations having low costs and emissions show where and how improvements are reached, offering instruments for policy (re)design.
Author: 
Judith A. Verstegen, Jan Gerrit Geurt Jonker, Derek Karssenberg, Floor van der Hilst, Oliver Schmitz, Steven M. de Jong, Andre PC Faaij
Institution: 
Institute for Geoinformatics, University of Münster, German
Year: 
2017
Input By: 
Christina Eilar
Affiliation: 
MIT
Domains-Issue Area: 
Industry Focus: 
Extraction & Processing
Energy
Country: 
Brazil
Datatype(s): 
Case Studies
Theory/Definition