An Environmental Justice Critique of Biofuels

Energy Justice: US and International Perspectives (Raya Salter, Carmen G. Gonzalez, and Elizabeth Ann Kronk Warner, eds.) Edward Elgar Publishing, 2018

30 Pages Posted: 21 Nov 2018

Date Written: November 28, 2017

Abstract

This chapter examines the global environmental justice and energy justice implications of the laws and policies of the United States and the European Union that promote the production and consumption of biofuels. Replacing fossil fuels with biofuels derived from renewable organic matter has been advocated as a means of mitigating climate change, achieving energy security, and fostering economic development in the countries that cultivate the crops used as biofuel feedstocks. Regrettably, the growing demand for biofuels in the Global North has produced significant harm in the Global South—ravaging local ecosystems, depressing food production, and depriving vulnerable communities of access to the land and water necessary for subsistence. Far from mitigating climate change, many of these biofuels emit more greenhouse gases than the fossil fuels they replace. In addition, the practices used to grow biofuel feedstocks also degrade soil and water quality. The chapter concludes with governance strategies to foster a more equitable and sustainable approach to bioenergy.

Keywords: Biofuels, Renewable Energy, Environmental Justice, Energy Development, Human Rights, Energy Justice

JEL Classification: F13, F18, F54, Q17, Q56, N50, O24, K32, K33

Suggested Citation

Gonzalez, Carmen G., An Environmental Justice Critique of Biofuels (November 28, 2017). Energy Justice: US and International Perspectives (Raya Salter, Carmen G. Gonzalez, and Elizabeth Ann Kronk Warner, eds.) Edward Elgar Publishing, 2018. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3274097

Carmen G. Gonzalez (Contact Author)

Seattle University School of Law ( email )

901 12th Avenue, Sullivan Hall
P.O. Box 222000
Seattle, WA n/a 98122-1090
United States

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