The Global Biofuels Debate: Science, Policy & Ethics

Wednesday, October 31, 2007 - 11:30am to 1:00pm

Theater, St. Paul Student Center

Biofuels markets around the world are policy-driven, and therefore an understanding of the key policy mechanisms and their aims and impacts is necessary. At the same time, in some countries, nascent biofuels industries are beginning to grow in the absence of regulatory frameworks. Biofuels trade flows are currently relatively small, but expected to grow substantially. This raises difficult questions about international trade rules and their application to biofuels. It has also created the need to internationalize and harmonize industry fuel composition and quality specifications, definitions and data collection methods. 

Ms. Hunt provided a brief overview of the biofuels industry including fuels, producers, production and trade trends, and the key opportunities and risks that this new industry presents. She described "second generation" biofuels and their potential implications. The lecture concluded with a discussion of the strategies being developed to ensure the sustainable production of biofuels. 


Robert Elde, PhD
Dean of the College of Biological Sciences, 
University of Minnesota

Benjamin Senauer, PhD
Professor of Applied Economics
Co-Director of The Food Industry Center
University of Minnesota 

Suzanne Hunt, MA, is an independent consultant dividing her time among the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the Global Bioenergy Partnership (GBEP) in conjunction with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). 

Ms. Hunt has extensive environmental research, policy, education and planning experience. She directed the Worldwatch Institute's bioenergy program for two years where she coordinated the landmark study, Biofuels for Transportation: Global Potential and Implications for Sustainable Agriculture and Energy in the 21st Century. Under her leadership, a team of international experts in the field of bioenergy assessed the opportunities and risks of large-scale international development of biofuels. 

Before joining Worldwatch, she worked at Environmental Defense on social and environmental safeguard policy reform at the International Finance Institutes. 

October 31, 2007