Liquid biofuels can provide a substitute for fossil fuels in the transportation sector. Many countries have mandated the use of biofuels, by creating targets for their use. If not implemented with care, however, actions that increase biofuel production can put upward pressure on food prices, increase greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and exacerbate degradation of land, forest, and water sources. A strong global biofuels industry will not emerge unless these environmental and social concerns are addressed.
July 29, 2008
By Henry Lee, Director, Environment and Natural Resources Program, William Clark, Harvey Brooks Professor of International Science, Public Policy, and Human Development; Co-director, Sustainability Science Program; Faculty Chair, ENRP and Charan Devereaux
Despite pressure from biofuel critics, governments should avoid simplistic and precipitous changes in course such as rollback or moratoria on existing biofuels mandates or incentives, according to a new report from three Harvard Kennedy School researchers. Instead, the researchers urge governments to initiate an orderly, innovation-enhancing transition towards incentives targeted on multi-dimensional goals for biofuels development.