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Title: Reconciling food security and bioenergy: priorities for action

Addressing the challenges of understanding and managing complex interactions among food security, biofuels, and land management requires a focus on specific contextual problems and opportunities. The United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals prioritize food and energy security and bioenergy links these two priorities. Effective food security programs begin by clearly defining the problem and asking, What options will be effective to assist people at high risk? Headlines and cartoons that blame biofuels for food insecurity reflect good intentions but mislead the public and policy makers because they obscure or miss the main drivers of local food insecurity and opportunities for biofuels to contribute to solutions. Applying sustainability guidelines to bioenergy will help achieve near- and long- term goals to eradicate hunger. Priorities for achieving successful synergies between bioenergy and food security include (1) clarifying communications with clear and consistent terms, (2) recognizing that food and bioenergy do not compete for land but food and bioenergy systems can and do work together to improve resource management, (3) investing in innovations to build capacity and infrastructure such as rural agricultural extension and technology, (4) promoting stable prices that incentivize local production, (5) adopting flex crops that can provide food along with othermore » products and services to society, and (6) engaging stakeholders in identifying and assessing specific opportunities for biofuels to improve food security. In conclusion, systematic monitoring and analysis to support adaptive management and continual improvement are essential elements to build synergies and help society equitably meet growing demands for both food and energy.« less
ORCiD logo [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [5] ;  [6] ;  [7] ;  [8] ;  [9] ;  [10] ;  [11]
  1. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Environmental Science Division, Climate Change Science Inst.
  2. International Food Policy Research Inst., Washington DC (United States)
  3. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Center for Bioenergy Sustainability, Environmental Science Division
  4. Imperial College London, London (United Kingdom). Centre for Environmental Policy
  5. Univ. of Sao Paulo (Brazil)
  6. Delft Univ. of Technology (Netherlands). Dept. of Biotechnology
  7. Univ. of Twente, Enschede (Netherlands). CSTM
  8. Rural Engineering Institute (INTA), Buenos Aires (Argentina)
  9. Stockholm Environment Inst. Africa Centre, Nairobi (Kenya). World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF)
  10. BEE Energy, Nicasio CA (United States)
  11. World Bank, Washington D.C. (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
AC05-00OR22725; FAPESP 2012/23765-0
Published Article
Journal Name:
Global Change Biology. Bioenergy
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Global Change Biology. Bioenergy; Journal ID: ISSN 1757-1693
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)
Country of Publication:
United States
09 BIOMASS FUELS; bioenergy; biofuels; sustainable; development; poverty; employment; food insecurity; energy; flex crops; natural resource management; poverty reduction; sustainable development goals
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1261688; OSTI ID: 1328284