Ethical Framework for Biofuels in Science
New article published by Alena Buyx and Joyce Tait based on Nuffield Council on Bioethics' report 'Biofuels: ethical issues'.
Biofuels policies must protect human rights and the environment.
Biofuels made from renewable biomass are promoted as offering greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions savings and as one of the few options to replace liquid fossil fuels for transport. Mandatory targets for introduction and blending of biofuels have been introduced. For example, renewable fuels must account for 10% of transport fuel by 2020 in the European Union (EU) and 36 billion gallons by 2022 in the United States. However, many claims that biofuels reduce GHG emissions have been contested, and there are serious concerns about negative effects on food security, the environment, and the rights of farmers and landholders in developing countries.
Even though biofuels are only one part of the “energy mix” and other sources raise other issues, it is nevertheless urgent to establish ethical conditions that biofuels development should meet and that should inform policy.