Energy is essential for the material well-being of the world's population. Global usage is predicted to double between now and 2050. Continued reliance on fossil fuels will make it very difficult to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming and bioenergy is viewed by many to be part of the solution. However, the world will also face increasing pressure on land and water resources due to population and income growth and the resulting higher demand for food and fibre. As a result there are big questions concerning how important bioenergy can and should be. The articles in this special issue focus on policy issues in the development of bioenergy in the EU and the US. They explore biofuels, biogas and bioelectricity and evidence on economic impacts and environmental linkages. Bioenergy has the potential to play a modest role in ensuring future global sustainability, but is unlikely to be a panacea. It will be difficult to wean those involved in bioenergy from the current excessive reliance on subsidies and command-and-control mechanisms. Getting the price of energy right - reflecting its true scarcity and environmental cost - is critical but presents a major challenge.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Geography, Planning and Development