Biofuels: Is the cure worse than the disease?
Biofuels have been championed as an energy source that can increase security of supply, reduce vehicle emissions and provide a new income stream for farmers. These claims are contested, however. Critics assert that biofuels will increase energy-price volatility, food prices and even life-cycle emissions of greenhouse gases. This paper presents salient facts and figures to shed light on these controversial issues and asks whether biofuels offer a cure that is worse than the disease they seek to heal. The information gathered in this paper gives rise to two fundamental questions: (1.) Do the technical means exist to produce biofuels in ways that enable the world to meet demand for transportation energy in more secure and less harmful ways, on a meaningful scale and without compromising the ability to feed a growing population? (2.) Do current national and international policies that promote the production of biofuels represent the most cost-effective means of using biomass and the best way forward for the transport sector? [Extracto, Summary]