sustainability of feedstock production. This is particularly true with regard to greenhouse gas impacts, where countries are working to achieve measurable, verifiable reductions in carbon emissions.
Initially, such ecological and social standards can be based on existing certification schemes for forestry and farming practices. They will need to be strong enough that they are meaningful and limit the environmental and social damages associated with biofuels (and, preferably, maximize their benefits); however, it is important that such ecological and social standards not be unduly burdensome to infant biofuel industries, nor serve as surreptitious trade barriers. Based on lessons learned from organizations such as the Forest Stewardship Council, the approach used to establish policies and standards for feedstock sustainability should be transparent, independent, and participatory
With regard to fuel quality, specifications for biodiesel require particularly close attention. This is due to the large variety of vegetable oils and animal fats that can be used for biodiesel production, and the variability in fuel characteristics that can occur with fuel produced from this feedstock. The European Union and the United States have developed their own unique biodiesel standards and are continuing to improve them. With worldwide demand for biodiesel escalating rapidly, there is a growing need for international collaboration on related standards and fuel quality in order to facilitate trade.
It is also essential that governments promote biofuels within the context of a broader transition to a more-efficient, less-polluting, and more-diversified global transport sector. These fuels must be part of a portfolio of options that includes dramatic improvements in vehicle fuel economy, investments in public transportation, better urban planning, and smarter and more creative means of moving around a village or across the globe. In combination with improved vehicle efficiency, smart growth, and other new fuel sources such as biogas (and eventually even renewable hydrogen or electricity), biofuels can drive the world towards a far less vulnerable and less- polluting transport system.
Key overarching recommendations for accelerating the development of biofuels, while maximizing the benefits and minimizing the risks, include:
Strengthen the Market. Biofuel policies should focus on market development. An enabling environment for renewable fuel industry development must be created in order to draw in entrepreneurial creativity, private capital, and technical capacity.
Speed the Transition to Next-Generation Technologies. Policies are needed to expedite the transition to the next generation of feedstock and technologies that will enable dramatically increased production at lower cost,