Report Recommends Cautious Action Toward Biofuels

Harvard study warns against rolling back biofuels incentives.

Published on: Aug 1, 2008

Wednesday Harvard University's Kennedy School of Research released a report, Biofuels and Sustainable Development, which stated liquid biofuels can "contribute to climate and other environmental goals, energy security, economic development and offer opportunities for private companies to profit." It also warned however that if not implemented with care, "biofuels production can put upward pressure on food prices, increase greenhouse gas emissions, and exacerbate degradation of lands, forests, waters sources, and ecosystems."

The report is based on a discussion on the impact of biofuels on the global environment and economy among 25 of the world's top experts on biofuels, economic development and ecology. Most of the experts agreed that, any single rule, such as production subsidies, a simple ban on biofuels production or the immediate revocation of existing mandates for biofuels use - is too blunt an instrument and would "almost certainly cause more harm than good."

Instead, the report urges governments to "initiate an orderly, innovation-enhancing transition towards incentives targeted on multi-dimensional goals for biofuels development. These goals should include poverty alleviation, reducing net greenhouse gas emissions, increasing use of non-food feedstocks, attaining sustainable biofuel production targets and conserving biodiversity."

Source: Feedstuffs