World in Transition: Future Bioenergy and Sustainable Land Use

Flagship Report 2008
German Advisory Council on Global Change

Full text (pdf, 15 MB), ISBN 978-1-84407-841-7, £75.00
Earthscan, London, £75.00 Hardback

Summary (pdf, 912 KB) 19 pages, ISBN 978-3-936191-24-0

To order the full text or summary version please use the order form.

"Biofuels have been represented by some as a silver bullet to the climate change threat, and by others as a fatal mistake set to destroy forests and increase hunger; they are neither. Sane and sensibly developed they offer a chance to reduce emissions, generate employment and diversify rural livelihoods. But widespread commercialisation without proper sustainability standards could prove a disaster, causing more environmental and human harm than good. The new WBGU report shows that a sustainable use of bioenergy is possible and outlines how opportunities can be exploited while at the same time minimizing risks. The report thus offers policy-makers valuable guidance for a sustainable bioenergy policy."

Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Director, UN Environment Programme


In view of the major opportunities and risks associated with it, and the complexity of the subject, bioenergy policy has in a short time become a challenging political task for regulators and planners – a task which can only be accomplished through worldwide cooperation and the creation of an international framework. WBGU’s central message is that use should be made of the sustainable potential of bioenergy which can be tapped all over the world, provided that risks to sustainability are excluded. In particular, the use of bioenergy must not endanger food security or the goals of nature conservation and climate change mitigation.

The Summary for Policy-Makers can be obtained through the WBGU Secretariat or downloaded here.

Commissioned Expert's Studies

For this Report, the Council has commissioned expert's studies, which are available for download (in German only – 5 studies in English):

  • Beringer, Lucht: Nachhaltiges globales Bioenergiepotenzial. (14,2 MB, 33 S.) Download als PDF
  • Berndes: Water demand for global bioenergy production: trends, risks and opportunities. (2,6 MB, 46 S.) Download als PDF
  • Faaij: Bioenergy and global food security. (1,7 MB, 37 S.) Download als PDF
  • Fritsche, Wiegmann: Treibhausgasbilanzen und kumulierter Primärenergieverbrauch von Bioenergie-Konversionspfaden unter Berücksichtigung möglicher Landnutzungsänderungen. (1,6 MB, 84 S.) Download als PDF
  • Levidow, Paul: Land-use, Bioenergy and Agro-biotechnology. (1,6 MB, 35 S.) Download als PDF
  • Müller-Langer, Perimenis, Brauer, Thrän, Kaltschmitt: Technische und ökonomische Bewertung von Bioenergie-Konversionspfaden. (1,7 MB, 68 S.) Download als PDF
  • Rosegrant, Cavalieri: Bioenergy and Agro-biotechnology. (1,6 MB, 66 S.) Download als PDF
  • Rosegrant, Ewing, Msangi, Zhu: Bioenergy and Global Food Situation until 2020/2050. (1,1 MB, 85 S.) Download als PDF
  • Schinninger: Globale Landnutzung (4 MB, 53 S.) Download als PDF
  • von Koerber, Kretschmer, Prinz: Globale Ernährungsgewohnheiten und -trends. (352 KB, 35 S.) Download als PDF