Biofuels: curse or blessing?

The discussions and remarks after the panels are usually as important as the expert presentations themselves. Catching some impressions from participants, it became clear that biofuels provoke many reactions. Not surprisingly so, because it is an issue where the climate change mitigation efforts of industrial countries and the development efforts of poor countries directly intersect, and often contradict.

Josep Borrell, chairman of the European Parliament development committee, stressed that although touched upon, the issue of biofuels could not be discussed intensively enough during the Briefing. Gathering and exchanging information and raising awareness among poor people will be key in the solution [see video interview]

Moustapha Kamal Gueye from ICTSD is currently leading research and dialogue processes on biofuels production and trade from a sustainable development perspective, including through regional studies instead of a global assessment approach in order to really understand the effects of biofuels on rural development. His conclusions suggest that biofuels are not just a strategy to ease the the transition to sustainable energy systems. We have to see it in the context of agricultural reform as a way to generate new income for the rural poor and to revitalize the development of rural communities. Food security is important, we also have to consider the potential of biofuels to increase revenues of the rural population. It is essential that we have sound research and analysis on the wider picture before completely ruling out biofuels.

See more from the 13 February briefing

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