Ethics and Biofuel Production in Chile


Román-Figueroa, Celián, and Manuel Paneque. 2015. “Ethics and Biofuel Production in Chile.” Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 28 (2): 293-312.

Authors: Celián Román-Figueroa, Manuel Paneque


Chile needs to diversify its energy supply, and should establish policies that encourage the production and use of biofuels. The demand for energy resources increases with population growth and industrial development, making it urgent to find green alternatives to minimize the impacts of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of traditional fuels. However, it is required that sophisticated strategies consider all externalities from the production of biofuels and should be established on the basis of protecting the environment, reducing GHG emissions and to avoid violating human rights. This article presents the Chilean reality, based on ethical principles that should be guarded to regulate the bioenergy market. These principles are: (1) human rights, (2) environmental sustainability, (3) climate change mitigation, (4) right to a fair reward, and (5) equitable distribution. It is concluded that in Chile the concentration of land and water for the development of extractive industries; and for agricultural and forestry purposes, contradicts the principle of human rights. The unequal distribution of income is also highlighted as part of a cycle of social injustice, with a high Gini coefficient (0.52). However, the policy of biofuels can be strengthened with the early use of second generation feedstock, the introduction of fair trade and regulation by the state to encourage participation of small farmers, and allows a position for Chile at the forefront of bioenergy production.

Keywords: bioenergy, biofuel ethics, ethanol, biodiesel

Topics: Agriculture, Conflict, Resource Conflict, Environment, Climate Change, Extractive Industries, Indigenous, Indigenous Knowledge Systems, Land Tenure, Rights, Human Rights Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Chile

Year: 2015

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