- The IUCN Academy of Environmental Law series
Edited by Yves Le Bouthillier, Annette Cowie, Paul Martin and Heather McLeod-Kilmurray
Chapter 10: Biofuel policy in Colombia: strong fiscal incentives but weak environmental and social standards
Around the turn of the millennium, a new era of biofuels promotion was sparked in Colombia, following similar developments worldwide. The Colombian biofuels industry has now reached significant production milestones, partly as a result of the laws and policies adopted to support the sector. Environmental goals and standards, however, remain uncertain as they lack a clear regulatory scheme. Colombia has consolidated a sugarcane bioethanol industry that is the second largest in Latin America, after Brazil, while emerging as the largest producer of palm-based biodiesel in the region.1 In 2013, bioethanol production reached 10 million litres, derived from about 40 000 hectares (ha) of sugarcane fields, while biodiesel production was 490 000 tons, from around 168 000 ha of palm oil plantations. Biomass co-generation from sugarcane bagasse is approximately 200 megawatts, expected to be 300 megawatts by 2020.3 Trends show that biofuels production for domestic use will increase significantly, and eventually exports are likely. As the industry will continue to grow as an important economic sector, the need for consistent rules to address externalities and social aspects becomes more apparent.
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