increase in demand, partly responsible for the rise. Among a number of other factors are population growth and changing diets towards more energy intensive meat consumption. Energy crops may compete for land with other uses and potentially result in increased food prices. For some types of bioenergy
crops marginal and waste lands are suitable. This is the case, for example, forgrasses and jatropha. However, the best yields and profi ts arise from using good quality land, and this also applies for energy crops. It is recognized that crop yields in much of the world are below their potential, and improved management practices could increase yields substantially, which would allow to accommodate both food and energy crops. Of the 13 200 million hectares of the world’s total land area, 1 500 million hectares are
used to produce arable crops and 3 500 million hectares are in pasture for meat, milk and wool production. Crops used specifically for biofuels occupy currently 25 million hectares. Many of the poor suffering from increased food prices suffer as well from increased oil prices, and local biofuel production
for local use can provide substantial benefits by spurring other economic activities that would allow to raise income.
Fields versus Forests: Another threat is that the rising demand for energy crops puts pressure on forests, wetlands and other areas of high carbon stock value to win arable land, as happened in the past for soy beans or palm oil. This could cause much higher GHG emissions from released soil carbon and cleared biomass than is fixed by the cultivation of the respective crops.
Mobility versus Sustainability: Yet another concern is the way energy crops are grown. As with other intensive agricultural practices, in the absence of strictly controlled prerequisites for sustainable production, energy crop farming contributes GHG emissions from soil exploitation and the application of fertilizers. It will also increase pressure on already scarce freshwater supplies. Monocultures reduce biological diversity, decrease soil fertility and are vulnerable to pests.
Sustainability principles and criteria for biofuels
In order to make biofuels a successful tool for mitigating climate change without compromising people’s livelihoods, rules for the game have to be developed. Environmental organisations, concerned countries and leading international organizations are demanding an internationally agreed certification scheme for the production of biofuels that addresses concerns related