The global surge in biofuel production in recent years has provided a real and growing alternative to fossil fuels in markets worldwide, but has introduced a host of complex sustainability challenges in the regions where the crops are grown.
In addition to concerns about environmental degradation and forest loss, the rise of the biofuels sector has triggered important questions about food security, pollution, abuse of land and human rights.
In a new book, co-edited by Robert Bailis
of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, several experts explore how this growing sector affects social, economic and environmental systems across Latin America and the Caribbean, and how different nations are addressing the challenges.
The book, Sustainable Development of Biofuels in Latin America and the Caribbean
, was co-edited by Barry D. Solomon
of Michigan Technological University.
According to the book, biofuels produced in Latin America and the Caribbean now account for 27 percent of global biofuel production (and more than 50 percent if the U.S. is excluded), with regional output doubling from 2001 to 2011.
While Brazil and Argentina remain the region’s reigning biofuel powers, other nations — including Colombia, Peru, Guatemala, Mexico and several Caribbean Island states — have become increasingly active in the sector over the last decade.