Overview: bioenergy and agriculture

Bioenergy and agriculture -- promises and challenges

In recent years bioenergy… has drawn attention as a sustainable energy source that may help cope with rising energy prices, address environmental concerns about greenhouse gas emissions, and offer new income and employment to farmers and rural communities around the world. For many countries in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the benefits to farmers are also perceived as a good way to reduce the costs and market distortions of their existing farm support policies, which now total about US$320 billion a year. Moreover, whereas oil and coal are unevenly distributed among countries, all countries could generate some bioenergy from domestically grown biomass of one type or another, thereby helping to reduce their dependence on imported fossil fuels… This set of briefs attempts to address questions [about bbioeneergy], with a special focus on the issues for developing countries. The key issues are discussed in more detail, drawing on past experiences in the European Union, the United States, and Brazil and other developing countries to highlight policy options for the future. The briefs also analyze the potential trade-offs between bioenergy production and food in terms of food prices, explore some of the technology options and research priorities for the future, and discuss ways in which carbon payments schemes might be harnessed to promote bioenergy production.” — from Text

Hazell, P.B.R.
Pachauri, J. K.
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International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
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