Monday, 1 March 2010

Bioenergy development. Issues and impacts for poverty and natural resources management

New sources of bioenergy including “black liquor”, biodiesel, cellulosic ethanol and many more, have great promise and generate great controversy. In developing countries, the impact of bioenergy on poverty alleviation will depend on the opportunities that are presented for agricultural development, including income and employment generation and the potential to increase poor peoples' access to improved types of bioenergy.

This book presents an introduction to bioenergy, provides a background and overview of solid biomass and liquid biofuels, and examines opportunities and challenges at the regional and country level. It also examines potential impacts for specific types of bioenergy.

The book does not pretend to be definitive, especially with respect to the controversial interplay of subjects like the impact of bioenergy on food prices, but it does try to suggest the tradeoffs that need to be examined in considering bioenergy policies, and it has five main findings:
  • Solid biomass will continue to provide a principal source of energy and should not be overlooked.
  • There will be major land use implications resulting from bioenergy developments.
  • It is critical to consider tradeoffs, including those related to poverty, equity and the environment, when considering bioenergy policies.
  • There is considerable potential for greater use of forestry and timber waste as a bioenergy feedstock.
  • The climate change impacts of bioenergy development are uncertain, and highly location and feedstock specific.
World Bank Publications January 2010, 232 pages, by Elizabeth Cushion , Adrian Whiteman , Gerhard Dieterle