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Bioenergies : unveiling the ethos of the agrarian research

Abstract : At present, biofuels arouse both hopes and fears, although agriculture has always produced, transformed and consumed various forms and quantities of energy. There would be no major ethical question if agricultural production was sufficient to feed the world, if biodiversity, culture and social rights were respected, and if pressure on cultivated land did not lead to ecosystems degradation. However, more than one billion people are malnourished and agriculture must simultaneously also respond to demands for non-food products. Agricultural research institutions (and researchers individually) are increasingly constrained by ethical issues related to biofuels. In France, the Joint Ethics Committee of Inra (Institut national de la recherche agronomique) and Cirad (Centre de cooperation internationale en recherche agronomique pour le développement) has recently worked on this question. Biofuels appear as a revealing (in the chemical sense) of a crack in the ethos of those institutions. Cirad and Inra both carry out mission-oriented research. For years, researchers have worked to increase productivity and agricultural revenues, improve food security and market stabilization, reduce inequalities, etc. This mission-oriented research was a moral bail to agricultural productivity. Environmental damages provoked by agriculture and development policies leading to a wide range of problems are undermining the ethos of the two research institutions. Biofuels research, in large terms, is revealing difficulties as different research issues are competing among themselves. The Committee recommended revising the meaning of 'mission-oriented research' and made specific recommendations on how to deal with some ethical questions related to biofuels research.
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Submitted on : Friday, September 7, 2012 - 3:41:35 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, April 6, 2022 - 4:08:09 PM


  • HAL Id : hal-00729452, version 1



M. de Lattre-Gasquet, Dominique Vermersch, M. Bursztyn, P.H. Duée. Bioenergies : unveiling the ethos of the agrarian research. Global food security : ethical and legal challenges, Sep 2010, Bilbao (POR), Portugal. ⟨hal-00729452⟩



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