Concerns about energy security, uncertainty about oil prices, declining oil reserves, and global climate change are fueling a shift towards bioenergy as a renewable alternative to fossil fuels. Public policies and private investments around the globe are aiming to increase local capacity to produce biofuels. A key constraint to the expansion of biofuel production is the limited amount of land available to meet the needs for fuel, feed, and food in the coming decades. Large-scale biofuel production raises concerns about food versus fuel tradeoffs, about demands for natural resources such as water, and about potential impacts on environmental quality.
The book is organized into five parts. The introductory part will provide a context for the emerging economic and policy challenges related to bioenergy and present the key issues covered in the book. The second part will present economic analysis of the market, social welfare, and distributional effects of biofuel policies, including tax credits, mandates, and likely winners and losers of these policies. Chapters in the third part will discuss the implications of a growing biofuel industry on agricultural markets, food prices and commodity price volatility, including demand and supply in general equilibrium approaches. The fourth part will examine the implications of the emerging biofuel industry for land allocation for food and energy production, for international trade, and for the agricultural sectors of developing countries. The final part will assess the implications of biofuels for the environment and sustainability, including global warming, water, land use and infrastructure, and the challenges in determining these effects using lifecycle analysis.
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