Bioenergy: Evaluating Impacts

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►Back to Bioenergy Decision Support Tool

Here you find a summary of the chapter of the UN-Energy Bioenergy Decision Support Tool (DST). The complete chapte can be found here.


Questions for key environmental and socio-economic impacts are provided in this module and will help to examine impacts from bioenergy systems. They are grouped into four main categories:

  • Food security
  • Environment and natural resources
  • Climate and emissions
  • Socio-economic impacts

The impacts and questions reviewed are most appropriate for the evaluation of large-scale projects.

Food Security

Bioenergy production has some potential effects on global commodity prices and may result with impacts on food security of developing countries. Most developing countries are price takers in the context of agricultural production, resulting with almost no impact on international prices. The guiding questions take the different aspects of food security into account and focus on national and local implications of bioenergy product.

Environmental and natural resources

In this section, guiding and sub-questions on potential environmental impacts of bioenergy production and use are presented. The questions are grouped into four different categories:

  • Ecosystems and biodiversity
  • Water availability and quality
  • Forest resources and products
  • Soil and land productivity

Climate and Emissions

This section contains questions aimed at inciting discussion and analysis on the potential climate impacts that bioenergy projects have, against the background of bioenergy having the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They are divided into two impact categories:

  • Greenhouse gas (GHG) balance
  • Potential impacts on air quality

Socio-economic impacts

In this section, relevant questions are listed concerning the potential negative impacts of bioenergy (land ownership, gender imbalances etc.) as well as the opportunities of bioenergy production.

  • Land tenure and displacement risk
  • Income generation and potential exclusion of certain groups/individuals
  • Employment and labour conditions
  • Increased energy availability and access
  • Economics, including cross-sector effects
  • Governance

Further Information