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The Changing North–South and South–South Political Economy of Biofuels

Biofuels as an alternative energy source have been responsible for increased deforestation and food loss in Europe, while North America and Brazil are still pushing forward with them as a beneficial thing. This conflict will eventually need to be resolved as the world decides whether or not biofuels should be one of the cornerstones of the new energy sources that will be more sustainable than the rapidly-depleting fossil fuels. "Since the 2007 food crisis, controversy has engulfed biofuels. Leading up to the crisis, world-wide interest in these fuels—which include biomass, biogas, bioethanol, and biodiesel—had been surging as states increasingly saw these as a way to meet greenhouse gas reduction targets and promote sustainable economic development. Now some consumers, notably in Europe, are scaling back demand as they worry that biofuels are responsible for increased food prices and deforestation. In contrast, some states—particularly Brazil and the USA, the world's leading bioethanol producers—continue to promote biofuel development, especially in developing countries. Partnerships arising from these efforts, we argue, reflect new patterns in the international political economy, where trade relationships among developing countries are strengthening, and where economic lines between developed and emerging developing countries are blurring. Given previously observed patterns of resource exploitation involving complex webs of North–South and South–South trade (such as for resources like palm oil in Indonesia), we anticipate that the emerging political economy of biofuels will repeat and reinforce many of these same environmentally destructive trends."
Peter Dauvergnea, Kate J Nevilleb
Taylor and Francis Group
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