Transition paths towards a bio-based economy in Germany: A model-based analysis
The reduction of use of fossil fuels is inevitable for a transformation to a sustainable economy. Developing possible transformation pathways from the current fossil-based to a more bio-based economy and getting a better understanding of driving forces and trade-offs can help to shape the real desirable path. To get a complete picture, general social, economic and policy developments as well as specific developments related to the bio- based economy have to be covered. This article presents a model-based analysis of three different trans-formation paths to a bio-based economy with a special focus on Germany and a time horizon until 2050 using the general equilibrium model MAGNET. Results show that ‘framing drivers’ (e.g. GDP and population developments, trade and land use policies) play an important role and can either significantly encourage or hinder the transformation towards a more bio-based economy. Regarding the biomass, increase in productivity of agriculture and reduction in post-harvest losses are the main factors on the supply side, which help to decrease possible market tensions. On the demand side, the key lever identified in our analysis is the change in consumers’ behavior and preferences regarding food. Increased demand for biomass for energy and material use was not identified as a critical factor by the underlying assumptions. To take the most favorable path with less trade-offs, implies, besides the ‘wise’ policy decisions regarding the support of use of biomass for material and energy use, also the transformation of the whole society, which on its turn should be promoted by policy.