Policy ForumEthics

Ethical Framework for Biofuels

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Science  29 Apr 2011:
Vol. 332, Issue 6029, pp. 540-541
DOI: 10.1126/science.1206064

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Summary

Biofuels made from renewable biomass are promoted as offering greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions savings and as one of the few options to replace liquid fossil fuels for transport. Mandatory targets for introduction and blending of biofuels have been introduced. For example, renewable fuels must account for 10% of transport fuel by 2020 in the European Union (EU) (1) and 36 billion gallons by 2022 in the United States (2). However, many claims that biofuels reduce GHG emissions have been contested (3, 4), and there are serious concerns about negative effects on food security, the environment, and the rights of farmers and landholders in developing countries (57).