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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." Institute of Medicine. 2014. The Nexus of Biofuels, Climate Change, and Human Health: Workshop Summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18493.
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The Nexus of Biofuels,
Climate Change,
and Human Health

WORKSHOP SUMMARY

Robert Pool, Rapporteur

Roundtable on Environmental Health Sciences, Research, and Medicine

Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice

INSTITUTE OF MEDICINE
              OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS

Washington, D.C.

www.nap.edu

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." Institute of Medicine. 2014. The Nexus of Biofuels, Climate Change, and Human Health: Workshop Summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18493.
×

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS     500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001

NOTICE: The workshop that is the subject of this workshop summary was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine.

This activity was supported by contracts between the National Academy of Sciences and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, The Kresge Foundation, Colgate-Palmolive Company, ExxonMobil Foundation, and Royal Dutch Shell. The views presented in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the activity.

This summary is based on the proceedings of a workshop that was sponsored by the Roundtable on Environmental Health Sciences, Research, and Medicine. It is prepared in the form of a workshop summary by and in the name of the rapporteur as an individually authored document.

International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-29241-2

International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-29241-7

Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, NW, Keck 360, Washington, DC 20001; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313; http://www.nap.edu.

For more information about the Institute of Medicine, visit the IOM home page at: www.iom.edu.

Copyright 2014 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

Printed in the United States of America

The serpent has been a symbol of long life, healing, and knowledge among almost all cultures and religions since the beginning of recorded history. The serpent adopted as a logotype by the Institute of Medicine is a relief carving from ancient Greece, now held by the Staatliche Museen in Berlin.

Suggested citation: IOM (Institute of Medicine). 2014. The nexus of biofuels, climate change, and human health: Workshop summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." Institute of Medicine. 2014. The Nexus of Biofuels, Climate Change, and Human Health: Workshop Summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18493.
×

Knowing is not enough; we must apply.
Willing is not enough; we must do.
”      

                                                —Goethe

image

INSTITUTE OF MEDICINE
              OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

Advising the Nation. Improving Health.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." Institute of Medicine. 2014. The Nexus of Biofuels, Climate Change, and Human Health: Workshop Summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18493.
×

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences.

The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. C. D. Mote, Jr., is president of the National Academy of Engineering.

The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine.

The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. C. D. Mote, Jr., are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council.

www.national-academies.org

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." Institute of Medicine. 2014. The Nexus of Biofuels, Climate Change, and Human Health: Workshop Summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18493.
×

PLANNING COMMITTEE FOR THE WORKSHOP ON THE NEXUS OF BIOFUELS, CLIMATE CHANGE, AND HUMAN HEALTH1

JOHN M. BALBUS, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD

DENNIS J. DEVLIN, ExxonMobil Corporation, Irving, TX

ALISTAIR FRASER, Royal Dutch Shell, The Hague, The Netherlands

LYNN R. GOLDMAN, George Washington University, Washington, DC

BERNARD D. GOLDSTEIN, University of Pittsburgh, PA

AL MCGARTLAND, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC

ANNE M. SWEENEY, Texas A&M University, College Station

G. DAVID TILMAN, University of Minnesota, St. Paul

______________________

1 Institute of Medicine planning committees are solely responsible for organizing the workshop, identifying topics, and choosing speakers. The responsibility for the published workshop summary rests with the workshop rapporteur and the institution.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." Institute of Medicine. 2014. The Nexus of Biofuels, Climate Change, and Human Health: Workshop Summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18493.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." Institute of Medicine. 2014. The Nexus of Biofuels, Climate Change, and Human Health: Workshop Summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18493.
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ROUNDTABLE ON ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH SCIENCES, RESEARCH, AND MEDICINE1

FRANK LOY (Chair), Washington, DC

LYNN R. GOLDMAN (Vice-Chair), George Washington University, Washington, DC

HENRY A. ANDERSON, Wisconsin Division of Public Health, Madison

JOHN M. BALBUS, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD

JAMES K. BARTRAM, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

LINDA S. BIRNBAUM, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Research Triangle Park, NC

LUZ CLAUDIO, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY

DENNIS J. DEVLIN, ExxonMobil Corporation, Irving, TX

RICHARD A. FENSKE, University of Washington, Seattle

ALISTAIR FRASER, Royal Dutch Shell, The Hague, The Netherlands

LUIZ A. GALVÃO, Pan American Health Organization, Washington, DC

BERNARD D. GOLDSTEIN, University of Pittsburgh, PA

RICHARD J. JACKSON, University of California, Los Angeles

SUZETTE M. KIMBALL, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA

JAY LEMERY, University of Colorado, Denver

ANDREW MAGUIRE, Environmental Defense Fund, Washington, DC

LINDA A. MCCAULEY, Emory University, Atlanta, GA

AL MCGARTLAND, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC

DAVID M. MICHAELS, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Washington, DC

CANICE NOLAN, European Commission, Brussels, Belgium

MARTIN A. PHILBERT, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

CHRISTOPHER J. PORTIER, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA

______________________

1 Institute of Medicine forums and roundtables do not issue, review, or approve individual documents. The responsibility for the published workshop summary rests with the workshop rapporteur and the institution.

Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." Institute of Medicine. 2014. The Nexus of Biofuels, Climate Change, and Human Health: Workshop Summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18493.
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PAUL SANDIFER, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Charleston, SC

JOHN D. SPENGLER, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA

LOUIS W. SULLIVAN, Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA

ANNE M. SWEENEY, Texas A&M University, College Station

G. DAVID TILMAN, University of Minnesota, St. Paul

PATRICIA VERDUIN, Colgate-Palmolive Company, Piscataway, NJ

NSEDU OBOT WITHERSPOON, Children’s Environmental Health Network, Washington, DC

HAROLD ZENICK, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Research Triangle Park, NC

IOM Staff

CHRISTINE COUSSENS, Study Director (until August 2013)

ERIN RUSCH, Associate Program Officer

ANDRÉS GAVIRIA, Research Associate

SUSANNE LANDI, Research Associate

ANDREW LEMERISE, Research Associate

HOPE HARE, Administrative Assistant

ROSE MARIE MARTINEZ, Director, Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." Institute of Medicine. 2014. The Nexus of Biofuels, Climate Change, and Human Health: Workshop Summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18493.
×

Reviewers

This workshop summary has been reviewed in draft form by persons chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published summary as sound as possible and to ensure that the summary meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this workshop summary:

Al McGartland, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Martin A. Philbert, University of Michigan School of Public Health

Judith Qualters, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they did not see the final draft of the workshop summary before its release. The review of this summary was overseen by Susan J. Curry, The University of Iowa. Appointed by the Institute of Medicine, she was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this workshop summary was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this summary rests entirely with the rapporteur and the institution.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." Institute of Medicine. 2014. The Nexus of Biofuels, Climate Change, and Human Health: Workshop Summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18493.
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Page xiii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." Institute of Medicine. 2014. The Nexus of Biofuels, Climate Change, and Human Health: Workshop Summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18493.
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Preface

On January 24–25, 2013, the Roundtable on Environmental Health Sciences, Research, and Medicine of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) held a 2-day, interactive, public workshop on the intersection of biofuels, climate change, and human health.

Liquid fuels are a major part of modern life. They supply energy for ground, water, and air transportation as well as power for industrial and farming machinery. But fossil fuels—the dominant liquid fuel in use for well over a century—have many disadvantages. For one thing, the use of fossil fuels has obvious health downsides, such as emissions of pollutants that are directly harmful to health. The burning of fossil fuels produces greenhouse gases, which contribute to global warming, itself a long-term threat to human health. There have also been health concerns related to insecurity of liquid fuel supplies and the potential of international conflicts being caused by fuel scarcity. Furthermore, there are concerns that the world’s large but still limited supply of fossil fuels could be strained by the increasing demand that results from societies around the world achieving greater prosperity. In the face of these concerns, new policies have been created that encourage the development of renewable sources of energy in general and biofuels in particular.

In November 2007 the roundtable held a workshop titled “Environmental Health, Energy, and Transportation: Bringing Health to the Fuel Mixture.” Workshop attendees explored public health issues related to the composition of traditional and alternative fuels and fuel additives, and they discussed the known and potential health impacts associated with the use of these fuels and fuel additives. Since 2007, the development of renewable biofuel resources has increased dramatically, both in quantity and in the types of fuels being developed. Newer approaches to evaluation of health impacts—those that incorporate health impact assessment in a broader framework of decision making as well as those that address sustainability—have also developed. Two recent reports by the National Research Council, Improving Health in the

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." Institute of Medicine. 2014. The Nexus of Biofuels, Climate Change, and Human Health: Workshop Summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18493.
×

United States: The Role of Health Impact Assessment1 and Sustainability and the U.S. EPA,2 have helped to illuminate these issues. However, they have yet to be applied to biofuels.

Hence, the workshop that is summarized in these pages, titled “The Nexus of Biofuels Energy, Climate Change, and Health,” focused on air, water, land use, food, and social impacts of biofuels as an energy resource. The workshop’s invited speakers described the state of the science and the health policy implications of using different types (and generations) of biofuels as an energy source.

The workshop was part of a series of workshops focused on current and emerging environmental issues and their impacts on human health. These workshops are sponsored by the Roundtable on Environmental Health Sciences, Research, and Medicine. The roundtable was established to provide a mechanism for parties from the academic, industrial, and federal research perspectives to meet and discuss sensitive and difficult environmental health issues in a neutral scientific setting. The purpose is to foster dialogue, but not to provide recommendations. In this workshop summary, statements, recommendations, and opinions expressed are those of individual presenters and participants, and are not necessarily endorsed or verified by the IOM, and they should not be construed as reflecting any group consensus.

______________________

1 NRC (National Research Council). 2011. Improving health in the United States: The role of health impact assessment. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

2 NRC (National Research Council). 2011. Sustainability and the U.S. EPA. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." Institute of Medicine. 2014. The Nexus of Biofuels, Climate Change, and Human Health: Workshop Summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18493.
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Liquid fuels are a major part of modern life. They supply energy for ground, water, and air transportation as well as power for industrial and farming machinery. But fossil fuels - the dominant liquid fuel in use for well over a century - have many disadvantages. The use of fossil fuels has obvious health downsides, such as emissions of pollutants that are directly harmful to health. The burning of fossil fuels produces greenhouse gases, which contribute to global warming, itself a long-term threat to human health. There have also been health concerns related to insecurity of liquid fuel supplies and the potential of international conflicts being caused by fuel scarcity. Furthermore, there are concerns that the world's large but still limited supply of fossil fuels could be strained by the increasing demand that results from societies around the world achieving greater prosperity. In the face of these concerns, new policies have been created that encourage the development of renewable sources of energy in general and biofuels in particular.

In January 2013, the Roundtable on Environmental Health Sciences, Research, and Medicine of the Institute of Medicine held a 2- day, interactive, public workshop on the intersection of biofuels, climate change, and human health. Workshop attendees explored public health issues related to the composition of traditional and alternative fuels and fuel additives, and they discussed the known and potential health impacts associated with the use of these fuels and fuel additives. The Nexus of Biofuels, Climate Change, and Human Health is the summary of that workshop. This report examines air, water, land use, food, and social impacts of biomass feedstock as an energy resource, and the state of the science and health policy implications of using different types (and generations) of biofuels as an energy source.

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