weak emissions standards), can reduce public health risks, especially from particulate emissions. Cities can commit to shifting public buses and other government vehicles to 100-percent biodiesel over a few years.
Encourage Biofuels for a Range of Uses. In developing countries where lead is still used as a transport fuel oxygenate (particularly in Africa), ethanol should be phased in rapidly to replace it. Biofuel (especially pure biodiesel) use for marine applications is particularly beneficial and should also be encouraged. Biofuel use for agricultural machinery (as in Germany), and construction and other heavy equipment (that is generally far more polluting and has much slower turnover rate) should be encouraged as well.
Maximizing Rural Development Benefits
If biofuels continue their rapid growth around the globe, the impact on the agricultural sector will be dramatic. Increased jobs and economic development for rural areas in both industrialized and developing countries is possible if governments put the appropriate policies in place and enforce them. The more involved farmers are in the production, processing, and use of biofuels, the more likely they are to benefit from them.
Enabling farmer (and forest material producer) ownership over more of the value- added chain will improve rural livelihoods. This not only helps improve the well-being of farm families, it increases the positive effects as greater farm income is circulated in local economies and jobs are created in other sectors. As biofuel industries grow, this multiplier effect will have impacts on the regional, national, and international levels. Greater farmer ownership will also help prevent a repetition of the dynamics in the current global food industry, where very large processors are able to exert pressure on producers.
In regions where access to modern forms of energy is limited or absent, government and development agency support for small-scale biofuel production can help provide clean, accessible energy that is vital for rural development and poverty alleviation.
Specific options for decision makers include:
Cooperatives and Small-Scale Ventures. Governments can provide support for cooperatives and small-scale biofuel production facilities—for example through tax structures that give preference to small-scale feedstock and fuel production, or preferential government purchasing from farmer/cooperative- owned facilities. Cooperatives allow small- and medium-size producers to share more in the economic gains of the biofuel industry and to negotiate on more equal footing.
Purchasing from Small Producers. Governments can require fuel purchasers and distributors to buy a minimum share from farmer or cooperatively owned facilities.