Implications of Future Natural Gas Demand on Sugarcane Production, Land Use Change and Related Emissions in Brazil
Due to its low share of energy-related emissions, energy systems models have overlooked the implications of technological transition in the agricultural sector and its interaction in the wider energy system. This paper explores the role of agriculture intensification by using a novel agricultural-based energy systems model. The aim is to explore the future role of Brazil’s agriculture and its dynamics with other energy sectors under two carbon constraint scenarios. The main focus has been to study resource competition between sugarcane and natural gas at a country level. Results show that in order to meet the future food and bioenergy demand, the agricultural sector would start intensifying by 2030, improving productivity at the expense of higher energy demand; however, land-related emissions would be minimised due to freed-up pasture land and reduction in deforestation rates. Additionally, the development of balanced bioenergy and natural gas markets may help limit the sugarcane expansion rates, preserving up to 12.6 million hectares of forest land, with significant emissions benefits.