Biofuels: ethical issues

(3.2 MB)

This report considers the ethical, social and policy issues raised by biofuels. The rapid adoption of biofuels has been driven by targets and other policy instruments, but first generation biofuels have been widely criticised. There are ongoing efforts to develop new biofuels that aim to avoid the problems of the past, and research into these new approaches should be supported. The report concludes that many biofuels policies fail to take account of important ethical principles, such as protecting human rights, environmental sustainability, climate change mitigation, just reward, and equitable distribution of costs and benefits. It sets out an ethical framework for both current and future biofuels production and makes a number of recommendations to policy makers. The report was prepared by a Working Party, which was chaired by Professor Joyce Tait of Edinburgh University and began work in September 2009. As well as drawing on the experience and knowledge of Working Party members, the authors consulted with individuals and organisations with a direct interest in biofuels production, whose contribution to the final report was invaluable.
Nuffield Council on Bioethics
(3.2 MB)