Climate change and energy security are the most complex challenges that present and future generations of mankind face. The scientific facts of climate change are now largely accepted; the overall increase of accumulated greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and anthropogenic greenhouse emissions are the main contributors to climate change. Thus, urgent actions are required to move toward lower carbon economy (bioeconomic) strategies. Additionally, continuingly increasing fossil fuel prices, fears of unaffordable and rapidly depleting sources of fossil fuels, and the desire to achieve energy security have combined to heighten the needs for alternative energy sources. Such concerns about climate change and energy security require us to fully exploit bioenergy sources. It is argued that bioenergy can significantly contribute to mitigate the negative effects of climate change, enhance energy security, and promote rural development.
Climate change is a global phenomenon but the effects are spatially and temporally different. The vulnerability to climate change varies from case to case and, thus, requires specific local mitigation and adaptation strategies. Local assessments can provide local decision-makers with a better understanding of the benefits of mitigation strategies, by “localizing” that understanding, and will have immediate value by bringing attention to climate change amongst local decision-makers and by stimulating debate about the range of possible response options.
Thus, our proposed research will develop a regional economic model (REMBIO) for agriculture and forestry that utilizes process-based spatial predictions of forestry, agricultural and bioenergy crop production at regional scale; and which analyzes the economic gains and losses that can be expected under different conditions of agricultural and environmental policies and climate change. The overall aim of the research project is to contribute to current understanding of the benefits and costs involved in response to climate change which is possible at local levels.
The specific objectives of the research are:
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