Countries must adopt a more sophisticated approach to developing biofuels as a green energy option to benefit the economy and environment according to the United Nations (UN).

Proponents of biofuels believe they are an important way to counter greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming.

The opponents, however, argue that biofuels may worsen the situation by destroying ecosystems, offering limited energy savings and diverting crops from the food chain, which is already struggling to meet demands of the growing population, writes Reuters.

A major UN Environment Program (UNEP) report Friday said biofuels, like all new technologies, presented opportunities and challenges.

The UNEP report, the first by UNEP’s International Panel for Sustainable Resource Management, said the way in which biofuels were generated would determine the amount of emissions released.

According to the study, first generation biofuels including ethanol from sugar cane could lower emissions, and the use of straw, wood, seed oils and other crop or material waste by power plants are more energy efficient compared to converting biomass to liquid fuels.