Sunday, May 13, 2007

Sustainable Bioenergy: A Framework for Decision Makers

Sustainable Bioenergy: A Framework for Decision Makers
Matss Karlsson, Chair, UN-Energy, April 2007

Modern bioenergy could help to meet the needs of 1.6 billion people who lacked access to electricity and 2.4 billion people who relied on the use of traditional biomass, Alexander Muller, Assistant Director-General for the Sustainable Development Department of the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), told correspondents at a Headquarters press conference today. Presenting the latest report of UN-Energy, entitled Sustainable energy: A framework for decision-makers, he added that, while bioenergy presented great opportunity, especially for the world’s rural poor, a political framework was needed to ensure that they benefited from bioenergy.
[snip]
Biofuels, stated Mr. Muller, accounted for the fastest-growing market for agricultural products around the world and was a billion-dollar business. Increasing oil prices in recent years had had devastating effects on many poor countries, some of which spent six times as much on fuel as they did on health. In that regard, the modern form of bioenergy could create great opportunity. The report provided a framework for the worldwide use of bioenergy, not only for developed and industrialized countries in mitigating the effects of climate change, but also for the poorest countries to gain access to modern forms of electricity.
[snip]
The origin of the report was the realization that UN-Energy could contribute to the international discussion on the topic, Gustavo Best, UN-Energy’s Vice-Chairman, said. Describing the report’s format, he said the document provided a framework for discussing -- at the same time -- nine key sustainability issues facing bioenergy development including the implications for food security, health and gender, trade, foreign exchange balances and energy security and climate change. Unless new policies were enacted to steer bioenergy use, the environmental and social damages could in some cases outweigh the benefits.
[snip]
Any bioenergy strategy must ensure that poor people did not end up paying for the fact that the industrialized world needed more bioenergy, Mr. Muller said.

Source [http://www.un.org/News/briefings/docs/2007/070508_Energy.doc.htm]

Full Text Available
[http://esa.un.org/un-energy/pdf/susdev.Biofuels.FAO.pdf]

UN Radio Segment Available
[http://radio.un.org/story.asp?NewsID=6903]

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