Book Chapter

Socioeconomic Impacts of Biofuels in East Asia

In Biofuels and Sustainability: Holistic Perspectives for Policy-making 8

This chapter discusses the social and economic impacts of biofuels in East Asia by analyzing four country case studies. Three case study countries are large Asian rapidly developing countries which were expected to be large consumers and producers of biofuels at the beginning of the biofuel boom in the late 2000s: Indonesia, India, and China. All three of these countries developed ambitious initial biofuel promotion plans. The fourth country case is a developed country, Japan. Japan has some domestic production potential, although it is quite small compared to potential domestic demand, so many expected that Japan might become a significant importer of biofuels or biofuel feedstocks, especially from the Asian region.The main potential positive impacts for all four countries include employment, income, rural development, and energy security. Rural electrification and increasing energy access for poor people are important objectives for developing countries. Air pollution reduction is another potential benefit, although this varies by the type of fuel and feedstock. The main potential negative impacts include competition with
food and other land uses; negative impacts on ecosystem services, particularly related to deforestation and water usage; and social impacts such as land tenure rights (e.g., if land of poor farmers is taken over by large producers without consent or fair compensation).

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