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BIOENERGY FOR EUROPE: WHICH ONES FIT BEST?

BIOENERGY FOR EUROPE: WHICH ONES FIT BEST?

50 4 Environmental

50 4 Environmental results: presentation, discussion and interpretation % of European results 150 100 50 0 -50 Use of fossil fuels incl. credits excl. credits Greenhouse effect Acidification Eutrophication Nitrous oxide Figure 4-2 The influence of different system boundaries on the results for RME % of European results 150 100 50 0 RME incl. agric. ref. syst. excl. agric. ref. syst. SME Triticale 1500 Willow Human toxicity Miscanthus Figure 4-3 The influence of the agricultural reference system on the results for various biofuels regarding the parameter use of fossil fuels III Different life cycle comparisons As described in Chapter 3.3, the biofuels firewood, Miscanthus, willow and straw were compared with light oil as well as natural gas, in order to show the influence of the choice of comparison on the environmental performance of those biofuels. This is incorporated in the graphs of the respective biofuels. -108

4.2 European results: biofuels compared to fossil fuels 51 4.1.4 The criteria of result description For most of the comparisons described in the following sections the “remarks and conclusions” are more or less limited to a description of the results and explanations of differences shown in the graphs. There are certain differences between the country specific results (see Chapters 4.4 and 7.1), but in no case was it possible to recommend “the best biofuel”. Some results are described as “non-significant”. This refers to a possible reversal of signs if the uncertainties are very large. Therefore, these assessments are not based on the magnitude of the values shown in the graphs given in “inhabitant equivalents”, but rather on the magnitude of the relative differences biofuel-fossil fuel related to the fossil fuel (bio-fossil / fossil) without normalisation. (The results of the life cycle comparisons biofuel-fossil fuel presented as relative differences are documented in Chapter 7.2.). Further assessments in favour of or against the biofuels (or fossil fuels) besides those which are given in the respective paragraphs of 4.2, 4.3 and 4.5 cannot be carried out on a scientific basis, because for this purpose subjective value judgements regarding the individual environmental categories are required which differ from person to person. Thus decision makers, political institutions, etc. are encouraged to carry out their own assessment on the basis of the results presented here, and – very importantly – to express their priorities by which they carry out the assessment. 4.2 European results: biofuels compared to fossil fuels The quantitative results of the European chains are presented in the form of bar diagrams, with the impact assessment parameters on the left hand side. In the calculations of the results, the impact figures of the fossil fuels have been subtracted from those of the biofuels, so that negative figures indicate environmental advantages of the biofuels and vice versa. In the graphs therefore the bars on the left hand side of the diagram indicate advantages of the biofuels while those on the right represent advantages of the fossil fuels. As explained in Chapter 3.5.2 normalised figures have been used. For each graph an example is given of how exactly to interpret it. As mentioned in the previous section, some results are described as “non-significant”. This refers to a possible reversal of signs if the uncertainties are very large. Therefore, these assessments are not based on the magnitude of the values shown in the graphs given in “inhabitant equivalents”, but rather on the magnitude of the relative differences biofuel-fossil fuel related to the fossil fuel (bio-fossil / fossil) without normalisation. (The results of the life cycle comparisons biofuel-fossil fuel presented as relative differences are documented in Chapter 7.2.). Thus it is possible for small values to have a high certainty regarding the sign (positive/negative), whereas some larger ones may have a relatively high uncertainty. Further assessments in favour of or against the biofuels (or fossil fuels) besides those which are given in the respective paragraphs of 4.2, 4.3 and 4.5 cannot be carried out on a scientific basis, because for this purpose subjective value judgements regarding the individual environmental categories are required which differ from person to person. Thus decision makers, political institutions, etc. are encouraged to carry out their own assessment on the basis of the results presented here, and – very importantly – to express their priorities by which they carry out the assessment. The category biodiversity and soil quality is discussed qualitatively in Chapter 4.1.10 and is not included in the graphs of the following sections since they are extremely difficult to quantify. For further information on the result presentation, the parameters used and sensitivity analysis see Chapter 4.1 and for more detailed information Chapter 3.

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