The Biofuel Delusion - The Fallacy of Large Scale Agro-Biofuels Production

Mario Giampietro and Kozo Mayumi 
Earthscan  August 2009  

Hardback  336 pp  ISBN 9781844076819      £55.00
Faced with the twin threats of peak oil and climate change, many governments have turned for an answer to the apparent panacea of biofuels. Yet, increasingly, the progressive implementation of this solution demonstrates that the promise of biofuels as a replacement to fossil fuels is in fact a mirage that, if followed, risks leaving us short of power, short of food and doing as much damage to the climate as ever - let alone the consequent impact on biodiversity due to additional loss of habitat for agricultural production and on rural development due to the additional stress on traditional farming systems. Worse still, these risks are being ignored.

In this definitive exposť, Mario Giampietro and Kozo Mayumi present a theoretical framework and exhaustive evidence for the case against large scale biofuel production from agricultural crops. This book will be vital, sobering reading for anyone concerned with energy or agricultural policy, or bioenergy as a complex system.


Foreword by Vaclav Smil
Foreword by Jerome Ravetz

  • Can We Solve the Agro-Biofuel Riddle?
  • Learning from the Past
  • Not Everything that Burns is a Fuel
  • Pattern of Societal Metabolism across Levels: A Crash Course in Bioeconomics
  • Assessment of the Quality of Alternative Energy Sources
  • Neglect of Available Wisdom
  • Reality Check on the Feasibility and Desirability of Agro-Biofuels
  • Agro-Biofuel Production is No Good for Rural Development
  • Living in Denial
  • Where Do We Go From Here?

Appendix 1 - Basic Theoretical Concepts behind the Analysis of Societal Metabolism
Appendix 2 - Examples of Grammars and Applications of Bioeconomics

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