Worldwatch and German Government Launch International Biofuels Project
Suzanne Hunt Named Project Manager
Washington, D.C.—The Worldwatch Institute and the German Ministry for Consumer Protection, Food and Agriculture have launched a new project on the global potential and implications of large-scale use of biofuels for transportation.
"Soaring oil prices, growing security concerns, and farmers' search for new markets have combined to create a super-charged market for biofuels, boosting consumption by 70 percent over the past three years," said Worldwatch Institute president Christopher Flavin. "With country after country adopting tax breaks and regulations designed to boost the use of biofuels, it is urgent that governments assess strategies for maximizing the economic, social, and environmental benefits of biofuels development."
The project, which is being funded by the German Ministry for Consumer Protection, Food and Agriculture (BMVEL) and carried out in conjunction with the German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ) and the Agency of Renewable Resources (FNR), is being managed by Suzanne Hunt, the Worldwatch Institute's newly selected Biofuels Project Manager. She will lead an international team of experts who will contribute the latest information and analysis to the project.
Ms. Hunt was previously a research fellow at Environmental Defense, where she worked to promote lending reforms at international financial institutions. Her biofuels background includes the successful introduction of biodiesel at Hunt Country Vineyards in New York, and founding an organization that teaches children from inner city Washington, D.C. how to turn waste grease from restaurant kitchens into a cleaner-burning fuel for their school buses. Hunt has a BS in Environmental Science from Penn State University and a dual MA in International Affairs and Natural Resource Management from American University and the University for Peace in Costa Rica.
The biofuels project, which will be completed in July 2006, will quantify the potential for biofuels to displace petroleum fuels, and will analyze the policy instruments available for stimulating the production and use of biofuels. The project will include in-depth analysis of the world's biofuels leaders—particularly Brazil, Germany, and the United States.
The biofuels project will also assess the broader impacts of large-scale development of biofuels, focusing on the implications for the size of farms, the health of rural communities, the energy and chemical requirements of agriculture, impacts on rural landscapes and biodiversity, air and water quality, climate change, and international trade balances.
The project is intended to provide policy makers with concrete guidance on ways to minimize the costs and maximize the benefits of biofuels development—seeking to develop a vision and policy agenda that are consistent with a transition to sustainable energy and agriculture. Beyond research, the project will rely on input from several regional workshops.
"We are excited about the opportunity to work with the German government in exploring and communicating cutting-edge policies for the development of a vibrant biofuels industry," Flavin said. "These fuels, together with solar, wind and other renewable resources, will play a vital role in building a more diversified and environmentally sound energy system."