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An integrated assessment of a large-scale biodiesel production in Italy: Killing several birds with one stone?

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  • Russi, Daniela
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    Abstract

    Biofuels are often presented as a contribution towards the solution of the problems related to our strong dependency on fossil fuels, i.e. greenhouse effect, energy dependency, urban pollution, besides being a way to support rural development. In this paper, an integrated assessment approach is employed to discuss the social desirability of a large-scale biodiesel production in Italy, taking into account social, environmental and economic factors. The conclusion is that the advantages in terms of reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, energy dependency and urban pollution would be very modest. The small benefits would not be enough to offset the huge costs in terms of land requirement: if the target of the European Directive 2003/30/EC were reached (5.75% of the energy used for transport by 2010) the equivalent of about one-third of the Italian agricultural land would be needed. The consequences would be a considerable increase in food imports and large environmental impacts in the agricultural phase. Also, since biodiesel must be de-taxed in order to make it competitive with oil-derived diesel, the Italian energy revenues would be reduced. In the end, rural development remains the only sound reason to promote biodiesel, but even for this objective other strategies look more advisable, like supporting organic agriculture.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Energy Policy.

    Volume (Year): 36 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 3 (March)
    Pages: 1169-1180

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:36:y:2008:i:3:p:1169-1180

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/enpol

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    Cited by:
    1. Yang, Hong & Zhou, Yuan & Liu, Junguo, 2009. "Land and water requirements of biofuel and implications for food supply and the environment in China," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(5), pages 1876-1885, May.
    2. Ariza-Montobbio, Pere & Lele, Sharachchandra, 2010. "Jatropha plantations for biodiesel in Tamil Nadu, India: Viability, livelihood trade-offs, and latent conflict," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 189-195, December.
    3. Iliopoulos, Constantine & Rozakis, Stelios, 2010. "Environmental cost-effectiveness of bio diesel production in Greece: Current policies and alternative scenarios," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 1067-1078, February.
    4. Arslan, RIdvan & Ulusoy, Yahya & Tekin, Yücel & Sürmen, Ali, 2010. "An evaluation of the alternative transport fuel policies for Turkey," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(6), pages 3030-3037, June.
    5. Özdemir, Enver Doruk & Härdtlein, Marlies & Eltrop, Ludger, 2009. "Land substitution effects of biofuel side products and implications on the land area requirement for EU 2020 biofuel targets," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(8), pages 2986-2996, August.
    6. Omann, Ines & Stocker, Andrea & Jäger, Jill, 2009. "Climate change as a threat to biodiversity: An application of the DPSIR approach," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 24-31, November.
    7. Avinash, A. & Subramaniam, D. & Murugesan, A., 2014. "Bio-diesel—A global scenario," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 517-527.
    8. Silvestrini, A. & Monni, S. & Pregernig, M. & Barbato, A. & Dallemand, J.-F. & Croci, E. & Raes, F., 2010. "The role of cities in achieving the EU targets on biofuels for transportation: The cases of Berlin, London, Milan and Helsinki," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 44(6), pages 403-417, July.
    9. Grau, Baquero & Bernat, Esteban & Antoni, Rius & Jordi-Roger, Riba & Rita, Puig, 2010. "Small-scale production of straight vegetable oil from rapeseed and its use as biofuel in the Spanish territory," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 189-196, January.
    10. Md. I. Haque & Stelios Rozakis & A. Natsis & M. Borzecka-Walker & K. Mizak, 2011. "Cost effectiveness of bio-ethanol to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in Greece," Working Papers 2011-3, Agricultural University of Athens, Department Of Agricultural Economics.
    11. Elena, Galan-del-Castillo & Esther, Velazquez, 2010. "From water to energy: The virtual water content and water footprint of biofuel consumption in Spain," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 1345-1352, March.
    12. Chiabrando, Roberto & Fabrizio, Enrico & Garnero, Gabriele, 2009. "The territorial and landscape impacts of photovoltaic systems: Definition of impacts and assessment of the glare risk," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 13(9), pages 2441-2451, December.

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