Making Biofuels Sustainable

biofuels coverThe biofuels agreement signed by Brazil and the United States on Friday marks an important milestone in the development of a global biofuels market, according to energy experts with the Worldwatch Institute.

These two countries, which together produced more than 70 percent of the world’s ethanol in 2006, have agreed to work together to accelerate the development of the biofuels industry, and to assist Latin American nations to adopt the latest ethanol conversion technologies.

"Biofuels can help reduce the dependence of many nations on imported fuels," according to Worldwatch President Christopher Flavin, who applauded the agreement's focus on the small, sugar-producing nations of Central America and the Caribbean.

Worldwatch biofuels expert Suzanne Hunt said that "while this is an exciting announcement, more emphasis needs to be put on ensuring that the potential development benefits are realized and that environmental harms are avoided. It is essential that the biofuels industry be developed in ways that spread the economic benefits as widely as possible, rather than replicating the disastrous concentration of wealth that has marked the petroleum industry in countries such as Nigeria and Saudi Arabia."

Over the last week, Hunt has been in Europe speaking about the global impacts of the industry, addressing the World Biofuels Markets Congress & Exhibition in Brussels and the 2nd International Energy/Farming Congress in Papenburg, Germany. Worldwatch's new book on biofuels, Biofuels for Transportation: Global Potential and Implications for Sustainable Agriculture and Energy in the 21st Century, will be published by Earthscan in May. Read a summary preview of the report here.

Coming in July:  Worldwatch Paper #174: Are Biofuels Sustainable?

Download report summaries of "Biofuels for Transportation: Global Potential and Implications for Sustainable Agriculture and Energy in the 21st Century"

Visit Worldwatch Live to read the transcript of Suzanne’s Web chat on sustainable biofuels.