Table of Contents

The Law and Policy of Biofuels

The Law and Policy of Biofuels

The IUCN Academy of Environmental Law series

Edited by Yves Le Bouthillier, Annette Cowie, Paul Martin and Heather McLeod-Kilmurray

In the last twenty years the biofuels industry has developed rapidly in many regions of the world. This book provides an in-depth and critical study of the law and policies in many of the key biofuels producing countries, such as Brazil, China, the US, as well as the EU, and a number of other countries where this industry is quickly developing. The multidisciplinary contributors examine the roles of the public and private sectors in the governance of biofuels. They propose recommendations for more effective and efficient biofuel policies.

Chapter 1: Environmental risks and opportunities of biofuels

Annette Cowie, Alan Cowie, Sampo Soimakallio and Miguel Brandáo

Subjects: environment, energy policy and regulation, environmental law, law - academic, energy law, environmental law


Bioenergy refers to energy products derived from biomass – including heat, electricity and biofuels, the latter term referring to liquid fuels derived from biomass, particularly ethanol and biodiesel. Biofuels are generally used for transport, though they may also be used for generation of electricity. A few countries have a long history of biofuel use: in Brazil, ethanol from sugar cane has been promoted since 1975 (40 years ago). The production of biofuels has expanded dramatically in recent decades. In 2013, 87.2 billion litres of ethanol, 26.3 billion litres of biodiesel and 3 billion litres of hydro-treated vegetable oils were produced globally, representing 2.3% of the use of transport fuels worldwide. The major ethanol producers are the USA (50.3 billion litres), Brazil (25.5 billion litres), China (2.0 billion litres), Canada (1.8 billion litres) and France (1.0 billion litres), while the largest biodiesel producers are the USA (4.8 billion litres), Germany (3.1 billion litres), Argentina (2.9 billion litres), Brazil (2.3 billion litres), France (2.0 billion litres) and Indonesia (2.0 billion litres).