Biofuels' Uncertain Future: Unraveling the Science and Politics of Indirect Land Use

Friday, February 19, 2010: 3:30 PM-5:00 PM
Room 4 (San Diego Convention Center)
The science and politics of using plants as energy feedstocks (i.e., biofuels) have evolved a long ways since the debate began churning in full force in early 2007. Many issues have been resolved, but the uncertainty surrounding the indirect effects of biofuels demand in the United States on land-use decisions made across the tropics and elsewhere has remained at the forefront of discussions. These land-use changes initially triggered by increased demand for a crop-based biofuel have been identified as a major source of carbon emissions by some, while other posit that the science behind the global economics and land-use information is too uncertain. The ongoing controversy has threatened to stall efforts to create “low carbon fuel standards” that would help address climate change, particularly as policy-makers at the national level (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) and the state level (California Air Resources Board) attempt to account for these land-use changes with new legislation. This symposium focuses on the controversy's political, regulatory, and economic dimensions and how they are interacting with emerging scientific knowledge and policy applications. Speakers, who include land-use scientists, lawyers, policy-makers, and economists, will emphasize strategies to manage the uncertainty in a policy context.
Holly K. Gibbs, Stanford University
Richard Plevin, University of California
Michael O'Hare, University of California
Holly K. Gibbs, Stanford University
and Michael O'Hare, University of California
See more of: Energy Today and Tomorrow
See more of: Symposia