Abstract

The large-scale production of crop-based biofuels has been one of the fastest and most controversial global changes of recent years. Global biofuel outputs increased six-fold between 2000 and 2010, and a growing number of countries are adopting biofuel promotion policies. Meanwhile, multilateral bodies have been created, and a patchwork of biofuel policies is emerging. This article investigates the global biofuel policy context and analyzes its nature, its institutional architecture, and issues of access and allocation. Our assessment reveals a density of national policies but a paucity of international consensus on norms and rules. We argue that the global biofuel context remains a non-regime and that it has overlooked serious issues of access even as a risky North-South allocation pattern is created. Although biofuel governance is not completely absent, existing international institutions do not take account of the different voices in the debate and leave a large vacuum of unaddressed social and environmental issues.