Encyclopedia of Food and Agricultural Ethics

Living Edition
| Editors: David M. Kaplan

Biofuels: Ethical Aspects

  • Auke Pols
  • Andreas Spahn
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-6167-4_343-2



Oil is one of the drivers of Western industrial societies. Our pattern and (increasing) quantity of oil consumption, however, is becoming more and more problematic for a number of reasons. First, oil and other fossil fuel stocks are finite and will at some point run out or become prohibitively costly to mine, both in economic and in environmental terms. Second, burning fossil fuels releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, thereby contributing to global climate change. Third, dependence on oil implies dependence on oil-producing countries – countries that might not always be politically stable or well disposed toward oil-importing countries and thus threaten the importing countries’ energy security (Landeweerd et al. 2009).

Biofuels have been hailed as a replacement that had the potential to address all those problems. First, biofuels are made from plants or algae (“fuel crops”) that...


Arable Land Switch Grass Biofuel Production Ethical Framework Biofuel Crop 
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Acknowledgements and Funding Statement

The authors would like to thank Annelies Balkema for her helpful comments on an earlier draft of this entry. The research for this entry was made possible by an NWO MVI grant and is part of the project: ‘Biofuels: sustainable innovation or gold rush?’


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Innovation SciencesEindhoven University of TechnologyEindhovenThe Netherlands