Eco-Skies: The Global Rush for Aviation Biofuel
The aviation industry has high hopes for biofuels. As its profits are increasingly threatened by erratic fossil fuel prices, and as consumers are more and more concerned with the role of aviation in climate change, biofuels are being billed as the path to both profitability and sustainability. Unfortunately, emerging evidence suggests that as airlines rush to procure biofuel, they do so at the expense of people and the environment. Since commercial biofuel flights began in 2011, airlines have embraced feedstocks that are either economically unviable, environmentally dangerous, or both. In looking to the future, the ambitious goals of the aviation industry to reduce emissions by 2050 are impossible without an unprecedented expansion in biofuel production. This expansion, however, will only exacerbate the global land grabbing trend, a phenomenon that has already threatened food security and land rights throughout the developing world.