Beneficial Biofuels and the Trilemma

Robert Socolow, Princeton

Robert Socolow, Princeton

We saw a recent article published by, co-authored by Robert Socolow. The following quote stood out: “The search for beneficial biofuels should focus on sustainable biomass feedstocks that neither compete with food crops nor directly or indirectly cause land-clearing and that offer advantages in reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.”

The bio-fuels and ethanol discussion is certainly not new. Yet, we agree that the ‘trilemma’ between a need for a reduction in green-house gas emissions, increased transport and the wealth effect (leading to higher consumption of protein rich meats etc.) conflict. We previously addressed the issue in a post ‘Crop per Drop‘ which looks at the global pockets that could drive yields. We reiterate here that Deutsche Bank’s report on the agricultural sector is relevant for anyone looking at the food chain and vis-a-vis at the biofuels/ ethanol market.

Agricultural output is only possible and yield enhancing methodologies can (only) work if access to water is procured and secured. We looked at the water play in the ‘Water Scarcity‘ post. To round up, if one plays the bio-fuels and ethanol market, one invariably plays also in the water sector: ‘Why invest in water‘.