US and International Perspectives
Edited by Raya Salter, Carmen G. Gonzalez and Elizabeth A. Kronk Warner
Chapter 3: An environmental justice critique of biofuels
3. Carmen G. Gonzalez, An environmental justice critique of biofuels. This chapter examines the intersection of environmental justice and energy justice at the international level in the context of biofuels law and policy. Replacing fossil fuels with biofuels derived from renewable organic matter has been promoted as a means of mitigating climate change, achieving energy security, and fostering economic development in countries that produce crops used as biofuel feedstocks. The chapter examines the impact of the laws and policies driving the biofuels boom, and concludes that they have contributed to global malnourishment by raising food prices and have accelerated the large-scale acquisition of arable lands in poor countries that displace vulnerable local communities. To add insult to injury, many of these biofuels emit more greenhouse gases than the fossil fuels they replace, and degrade soil and water in the countries where biofuel feedstocks are cultivated. The chapter discusses governance strategies to foster a more equitable and sustainable approach to bioenergy.
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