The ethics of biofuels: a review within the framework of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics Report

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The report on ‘Biofuels: Ethical Issues’ from the Nuffield Council on Bioethics established six ethical principles and a series of recommendations for biofuel policies. Set within the context of this report, which was published in 2011, recent developments with ethical issues associated with biofuels policy are reviewed. In particular, attention is focused on EC biofuel policy, contained in the so-called Renewable Energy Directive. The outcomes of monitoring activities and proposed amendments to this Directive are summarized. These are contrasted with studies and reports that challenge the promotion of biofuels by pointing to negative ethical impacts including threats to food supplies and prices, implications from indirect land-use change, and social and environmental consequences for developing countries that supply biofuels.

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