Tag Archives: biofuels

Review of Environmental, Economic and Policy Aspects of Biofuels (D. Rajagopal and D. Zilberman)

Author(s)

Deepak Rajagopal and David Zilberman

Keywords

Energy Production and Transportation, Environmental Economics & Policies, Renewable Energy, Transport Economics Policy & Planning, Energy and Environment

Abstract

The world is witnessing a sudden growth in production of biofuels, especially those suited for replacing oil like ethanol and biodiesel. This paper synthesizes what the environmental, economic, and policy literature predicts about the possible effects of these types of biofuels. Another motivation is to identify gaps in understanding and recommend areas for future work. The analysis finds three key conclusions. First, the current generation of biofuels, which is derived from food crops, is intensive in land, water, energy, and chemical inputs. Second, the environmental literature is dominated by a discussion of net carbon offset and net energy gain, while indicators relating to impact on human health, soil quality, biodiversity, water depletion, etc., have received much less attention. Third, there is a fast expanding economic and policy literature that analyzes the various effects of biofuels from both micro and macro perspectives, but there are several gaps. A bewildering array of policies – including energy, transportation, agricultural, trade, and environmental policies – is influencing the evolution of biofuels. But the policies and the level of subsidies do not reflect the marginal impact on welfare or the environment. In summary, all biofuels are not created equal. They exhibit considerable spatial and temporal heterogeneity in production. The impact of biofuels will also be heterogeneous, creating winners and losers. The findings of the paper suggest the importance of the role biomass plays in rural areas of developing countries. Furthermore, the use of biomass for producing fuel for cars can affect access to energy and fodder and not just access to food.

Citation

World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 4341 (1 September 2007)

Paper

Review of Environmental, Economic and Policy Aspects of Biofuels

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The European Commission 2008 Directive Proposal on Biofuels (F. Pelsy)

Author

Florent Pelsy

Keywords

Biofuels, certification, climate change, environmental criteria, European Community, food insecurity, precautionary principle, renewable energy, sustainable development, WTO

Abstract

This article focuses on the 2008 Directive Proposal of the European Commission on biofuels. The development of biofuels as a renewable energy source has been perceived as a priority by the European Union. Indeed biofuels are approached by the EU as a new ‘win-win’ solution that could both reduce emission of greenhouses gases in the context of climate change and improve energy security while not affecting the European economic growth. The 2008 Directive Proposal of the Commission requires an objective of ten per cent of biofuels in the EU Transport in 2020. In order to qualify within that target biofuels shall be produced according to certain environmental criteria. This article points out the tremendous negative impacts on food security and the environment both in the developed and in the developing world of such a large-scale consumption of biofuels. It then considers that the environmental criteria required by the Directive Proposal of the Commission are not likely to be the adequate response to tackle the negative consequences of the implementation of that ten per cent target. It, thus, suggests the application of the precautionary principle as sketched out by the European Court of Justice in the case Pfizer – Alpharma to that ten per cent target and a moratorium on biofuels at the EU level.

Citation

(2008) 4(2) Law, Environment and Development Journal 119

Paper

The European Commission 2008 Directive Proposal on Biofuels

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Agribusiness and Society: Corporate Responses to Environmentalism… (K. Jansen and S. Vellama)

Editor(s)

Kees Jansen and Sietze Vellema

Keywords

Agribusiness, Environmentalism, Politics, Technology Innovation, Regulation, Reconciling Shareholders, Stakeholders, and Managers, Sustainable Development, Financial Constraints, Public Acceptance GM Tomato, Corporate Greening, Antipodean Agriculture, Organics and Green Production, California, Regulating Corporate Agribusiness, Public Sector, Institutionalizing Environmentalism, Self-Regulation, Fruit Corporations, DBCP Pesticide Cases, Access to Justice, Global Economy, Business, Biotechnology, GM Crops, Social Struggles, Regulation of Transgenic Crops, Brazil, Private versus Public, Agenda Setting, International Agro-technologies

Abstract

Agribusiness and Society examines in detail how far agribusiness corporations are responding to emerging environmental awareness. The book investigates particular biotech and other agribusiness companies – including Monsanto, Ciba Geigy, Dole, and Chiquita – and their behaviour around the world. Some have responded to environmental pressures by exploiting new markets (notably, for organic produce); some have changed their production practices; others have complied with (or resisted) state environmental regulation. Each study explores in detail how institutional, cultural, economic, political and technological contexts shape the strategies of big business. Topics include ‘green bananas‘, genetically modified tomatoes and soya, the new markets in organic produce, health and pesticides, and access to justice.

The book explains why some corporations successfully introduce environmentally friendly innovations and others do not, and examinines the interaction between internal corporate environments driven by profit and efficiency, and external environments where consumer preferences, NGO pressures and government regulation are important. The book also explores possible new roles for the public sector. The result is a sophisticated and critical analysis of business practices and regulatory systems in the agro-food sector.

Citation

Kees Jansen and Sietze Vellema (eds), Agribusiness and Society: Corporate Responses to Environmentalism, Market Opportunities and Public Regulation (Zed Books, 2004)

Book

Agribusiness and Society: Corporate Responses to Environmentalism, Market Opportunities and Public Regulation

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Biofuels, Land Grabbing and Food Security in Africa (P.B. Matondi, et al)

Editor(s)

Prosper B. Matondi, Kjell Havnevik and Atakilte Beyene

Keywords

Biofuels, Food Security, Land Outsourcing, Land Rights, Livelihoods Justice, Internationalization, Energy, Peak Oil, Bio-fuel, Industrialized Nations, Resource Rights, Foreign Direct Investment, Africa, Smallholder-Led Transformation, Ethiopia, Environmental and Social Impact Assessment, Tanzania, Political Economy Crisis, Zimbabwe, Jatropha Production, Northern Ghana, Social Inclusion, Bio-diesel Policy, Brazil, Brazilian Ethanol Development, Smallholder Farmers

Abstract

Energy crisis and climate change have generated global demands for alternative non-fossil fuel sources. This has led to a rapid increase of investments in production of liquid biofuels based on agricultural feed stocks such as sugar cane. Most African governments see biofuels as a potential for increasing agricultural productivity and export incomes and thus strengthening their national economies, improving energy balances and rural employment. At the same time climate change may be addressed through reduction of green house gas emissions.

There are, however, a number of uncertainties mounting that challenge this scenario. Using in-depth African case studies this book addresses this knowledge gap by examining the impacts of large-scale biofuel production on African agriculture in regard to vital land outsourcing and food security issues. The surge for African biofuels has also opened space for private investors both domestic and external to multiply and network ‘independently’ of the state. The biofuel expansion thus generates new economic alliances and production relations, resulting in new forms of inclusions and exclusions within the rural population.

An essential book for anyone wishing to understand the startling impact of biofuels and land outsourcing on Africa.

Citation

Prosper B. Matondi, Kjell Havnevik and Atakilte Beyene (eds), Biofuels, Land Gabbing and Food Security in Africa (Zed Books, 2010)

Book

Biofuels, Land Grabbing and Food Security in Africa

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Biofuels and the Globalisation of Risk (J. Smith)

Author

James Smith

Keywords

Globalisation, Risk, Responsibility, Biofuels, Politics, Bioenergy, Biofuel Policy, Indian Global-Local Dialectics, Bioethanol, Energy, South, Unglobalisation of Food

Abstract

Biofuels and the Globalisation of Risk offers the reader a fresh and compelling analysis of the politics and policies behind the biofuel story, critically examining the technological optimism and often-idealised promises it makes for the future. Starting with a brief history of bioenergy policy, the book goes on to explore the evolution of biofuels as a policy narrative, as a development ideal and as a socio-technical system through a series of interlinked case studies from Africa, Asia and Latin America. Smith argues that the nature of biofuels, so debated and contested, allow us to understand the relationships between and possible impacts of climate change, globalisation and development in entirely new ways and in doing so allow us to better understand the shifting dynamics of risk, responsibility and impact that investment in biofuels creates.

This essential new critique argues that the support for biofuels points to a deep reconfiguration of risk and responsibility and new forms of environmental determinism where the global south is encouraged to re-orient its agro-food systems towards biofuel crop production in order to allow the global north not to meaningfully engage with altering its levels of consumption, energy use or unsustainable development. Therefore, he argues, risks and responsibilities migrate from north to south and biofuels may constitute the biggest change in North-South relationships since colonialism.

Citation

James Smith, Biofuels and the Globalisation of Risk: The Biggest Change in North-South Relationships Since Colonialism? (Zed Banks, 2010)

Book

Biofuels and the Globalisation of Risk: The Biggest Change in North-South Relationships Since Colonialism?

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