Advanced

The Bitter Sweet Promise of Biofuels - Sweet for few, bitter for many: A sudy case of Honduras

Silvestri, Luciana LU (2008) IMEN56 20081
The International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics
Abstract
Today, biofuel industries are emerging in forms that can offer some unique opportunities to help combating climate change, cope with the emerging energy crisis and also serve to advance rural development for millions of rural poor who could benefit from this new development. Rural opportunities are expected to occur through: a) the generation of new employment and income opportunities and increased capital turnovers, b) the chance to advance a critical production input, i.e. energy, to other rural enterprises, and c) the possibility to facilitate Millennium Development Goals’ (MDGs) achievement. Honduras, as many other countries where biomass growing potential exists, has been attracted, by the above-mentioned opportunities and has... (More)
Today, biofuel industries are emerging in forms that can offer some unique opportunities to help combating climate change, cope with the emerging energy crisis and also serve to advance rural development for millions of rural poor who could benefit from this new development. Rural opportunities are expected to occur through: a) the generation of new employment and income opportunities and increased capital turnovers, b) the chance to advance a critical production input, i.e. energy, to other rural enterprises, and c) the possibility to facilitate Millennium Development Goals’ (MDGs) achievement. Honduras, as many other countries where biomass growing potential exists, has been attracted, by the above-mentioned opportunities and has launched an aggressive “mega agro-industrial biofuels initiative” in early 2006. Through this plan, the government seeks foremost to advance rural development through the creation of new jobs opportunities and to a certain extent to reduce its total dependency on expensive imported oil through the development of its African palm oil based biodiesel potential. However, these opportunities are not straightforward. Moreover, the net balance of such biofuels development could even be negative for local communities and the environment as biofuels production can also serve to threaten food security and contribute to vulnerable communities’ displacement, to ecosystems degradation, soils and water impacts, etc. As a result, it is pertinent to ask: “are biofuels actually a good idea at all?”
Through an analysis of available secondary data and of stakeholders’ perspectives, this study seeks to understand the opportunities and challenges that palm oil based biodiesel offers to rural poor in Honduras. The study concluded that potential opportunities palm oil based biodiesel could offer to rural poor communities in Honduras are unlikely to happen: though new employment opportunities are likely to occur, these do not seem to have a significant impact on poverty alleviation, smallholders benefits seem to be marginal, temporary and highly dependent on external factors and it is unlikely biodiesel production help boost traditional rural economy and/or to advance MDGs achievement. On the other hand, palm oil based biodiesel is likely to worsen already insecure food context, to trigger sporadic forced population displacements, to negatively impact on soils and water quality and to exacerbate ecosystems degradation processes. Therefore, the present study concluded that palm oil based biodiesel production in Honduras is not such a good idea as it seems at a first glance. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Silvestri, Luciana LU
supervisor
organization
course
IMEN56 20081
year
type
H1 - Master's Degree (One Year)
subject
language
English
id
1413912
date added to LUP
2009-06-03 13:59:31
date last changed
2009-06-03 13:59:31
@misc{1413912,
  abstract     = {Today, biofuel industries are emerging in forms that can offer some unique opportunities to help combating climate change, cope with the emerging energy crisis and also serve to advance rural development for millions of rural poor who could benefit from this new development. Rural opportunities are expected to occur through: a) the generation of new employment and income opportunities and increased capital turnovers, b) the chance to advance a critical production input, i.e. energy, to other rural enterprises, and c) the possibility to facilitate Millennium Development Goals’ (MDGs) achievement. Honduras, as many other countries where biomass growing potential exists, has been attracted, by the above-mentioned opportunities and has launched an aggressive “mega agro-industrial biofuels initiative” in early 2006. Through this plan, the government seeks foremost to advance rural development through the creation of new jobs opportunities and to a certain extent to reduce its total dependency on expensive imported oil through the development of its African palm oil based biodiesel potential. However, these opportunities are not straightforward. Moreover, the net balance of such biofuels development could even be negative for local communities and the environment as biofuels production can also serve to threaten food security and contribute to vulnerable communities’ displacement, to ecosystems degradation, soils and water impacts, etc. As a result, it is pertinent to ask: “are biofuels actually a good idea at all?”
Through an analysis of available secondary data and of stakeholders’ perspectives, this study seeks to understand the opportunities and challenges that palm oil based biodiesel offers to rural poor in Honduras. The study concluded that potential opportunities palm oil based biodiesel could offer to rural poor communities in Honduras are unlikely to happen: though new employment opportunities are likely to occur, these do not seem to have a significant impact on poverty alleviation, smallholders benefits seem to be marginal, temporary and highly dependent on external factors and it is unlikely biodiesel production help boost traditional rural economy and/or to advance MDGs achievement. On the other hand, palm oil based biodiesel is likely to worsen already insecure food context, to trigger sporadic forced population displacements, to negatively impact on soils and water quality and to exacerbate ecosystems degradation processes. Therefore, the present study concluded that palm oil based biodiesel production in Honduras is not such a good idea as it seems at a first glance.},
  author       = {Silvestri, Luciana},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {The Bitter Sweet Promise of Biofuels - Sweet for few, bitter for many: A sudy case of Honduras},
  year         = {2008},
}