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Bioenergy and agriculture: promises and challenges

Biofuels offer an attractive solution to escalating oil prices and concern over how fossil fuels affect global climate. They also provide new prospects for rural communities.

But their full implications, for developing countries and the environment, remain unclear. Balancing economic efficiency and environmental sustainability is not easy, and many key questions remain unanswered.

This essay addresses some of these questions, investigating the pros and cons of biofuels for the developing world. It examines economic and social factors, and the role of science and technology in biofuels production. It explores experiences from Brazil and other developing nations, as well as trade-offs between producing biofuels and food.

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