The Perverse Effects of Biofuel Public-Sector Policies
Posted: 11 Oct 2013
Date Written: June 2013
Biofuel policies are a subset of policies designed to achieve energy security, an improved environment, enhanced agricultural incomes, technological change, and overall economic benefits, with increased domestic energy production creating green jobs and foreign exchange savings. In assessing this broad spectrum of proclaimed policy goals with the outcome of biofuel mandates, subsidies, import barriers, binary sustainability standards, and indirect land use measures, we identify many perverse and contradictory effects. Most importantly, we show how biofuel policies established the crop-energy price link and hence the food-fuel trade-off, the contradictory effects of combining mandates with different subsidies, the various surprising welfare economic effects, and the various inconsistencies associated with binary sustainability standards and carbon leakages. We conclude with examples of how biofuel policies have generated paradoxical effects in many other different dimensions.
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