30 November 2020: The Biofuture Platform, a multi-stakeholder initiative facilitated by the International Energy Agency (IEA) and designed to take action on climate change by promoting international coordination on the sustainable low-carbon bioeconomy, has opened this year’s BBEST 2020-21/BIOFUTURE SUMMIT II Virtual Conference.
This week’s event marks the end of a busy year for the Biofuture Platform which has been coordinating the response to its Five Principles for Post-COVID Bioeconomy Recovery and Acceleration which were announced in August. Utilising this progress, in September the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) high-level global forum officially launched the new Biofuture Platform Initiative which is implemented in close partnership with the private sector to raise international ambition and advance sustainable bioenergy and biomaterials production, trade and use across the globe.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of this year’s BBEST 2020-21/BIOFUTURE SUMMIT II Virtual Conference, Dr Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the IEA said: “This event is timely as we believe that there is urgent policy action required to support the bioenergy and biofuels sector which has been hard hit by the coronavirus crisis. However, we know that the bioenergy industry can play a critical role in the current context we are in – for example, creating employment.
We estimate that for every million dollars of investment in the bioenergy sector can create up to 30 jobs. In this context, the bioenergy sector can be a job creating machine… We are urging all countries to adopt the Biofuture Platform principles for a post-COVID bioeconomy recovery as an effective means to create jobs whilst addressing our environmental challenges.”
Earlier this month, the Platform called for urgent action to be taken after the IEA’s Renewables 2020 report showed an 11.6% drop in biofuels output in 2020. Long described by the IEA as an ‘overlooked giant of renewables’, bioenergy has a number of uses in the real economy, in transport and for heat production in industry and buildings, and will play a key role in the long-term transition to cleaner, more sustainable energy.
As a world leader in the development of the bioeconomy, Brazil is spearheading the global response to the current situation by using the BBEST 2020-21/BIOFUTURE SUMMIT II Virtual Conference to foster international partnerships on key topics such as responsible land use, crop productivity and resilient multifunctional landscapes, harvesting technology, impact of logistics and scale, integral biorefinery development, and emerging advanced materials and energy carriers for aviation, marine and road transport.
Citing the success of Brazil’s own RenovaBio initiative, Bento Alburquerque, Minister, Ministry of Mines and Energy, Brazil said: “Since 2016, the 20 member countries of the Biofuture Platform, together with the International Energy Agency, have helped secure a place for bioenergy in the global debate on climate change and energy transition. We hope that this attention will be converted into concrete policy action, like blending mandates, low carbon emissions credits, fiscal measures, sustainability frameworks, technology support and friendlier environments for investment and job creation.”
Highlighting the importance of the Biofuture Platform in fostering innovation across the bioeconomy, Ernesto Araújo, Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Brazil, commented: “The Biofuture Platform has been critical in filling a gap in the international environmental and energy debate, in which the role and the need for a sustainable bioenergy has been largely ignored. Since the launch of the Platform, member countries have announced and worked on major new policies and programmes for bioenergy, biofuels, and the bioeconomy.”
The Platform continues to urge countries, governments, and corporations to implement its Five Principles for the post-COVID Recovery, which would not only accelerate the decarbonisation of the energy sector but also create jobs. Focusing ahead to 2021, the Biofuture Platform is due to release its Policy Blueprint and looks forward to welcoming its members, dignitaries, and guests to a hybrid (in-person and virtual) conference at the Renaissance São Paulo Hotel from 24-26th May 2021, Covid-19 restrictions permitting.
Providing a sneak peak of the aims of the Biofuture Platform Policy Blueprint at the first mini policy forum of the BBEST 2020-21/BIOFUTURE SUMMIT II Virtual Conference, Dr Paolo Frankl, Head of Renewables at the IEA commented: “The Policy Blueprint will provide a critical review of policies, providing good practice examples, but also highlighting some weaker parts which identify scope for further domestic policy action. The point is not to say who is good and who is bad, but to improve all together.
“Biofuels are an essential part of the future sustainable transport energy mix and there has to be much more policy attention on them. The use of biofuels has been growing but too slowly to meet long term sustainable needs with current global policy framework not sufficiently ambitious.”
About the Biofuture Platform
The Biofuture Platform is a government-led, multi-stakeholder initiative designed to take action on climate change and support the Sustainable Development Goals by promoting international coordination on the sustainable low-carbon bioeconomy. It was launched in Marrakesh at the COP 22 climate talks in November 2016. Since February, 1, 2019, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has been the Facilitator (Secretariat) of the initiative. The Biofuture Platform has twenty member countries: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Morocco, Mozambique, the Netherlands, Paraguay, the Philippines, Sweden, United Kingdom, the United States of America and Uruguay. As a multi-stakeholder initiative, a number of international organizations, academia, and private sector associations are also involved and engaged as official partners. For more information visit: www.biofutureplatform.org.
The Platform’s Five Principles for Post-COVID Bioeconomy Recovery are:
1) Do not backtrack: Ensure continuity and long-term predictability of bioenergy, biofuels, and bio-based material targets and existing policy mechanisms that have proved successful;
2) Consider short-term COVID support for producers: Where appropriate, address short-term challenges for bioenergy and bio-based materials industries in the context of relief packages related to COVID-driven economic losses;
3) Reassess fossil fuel subsidies: Take advantage of a low oil price environment to reassess fossil fuel subsidies for a fairer playing field;
4) Build Back Better with Bio: Where appropriate, integrate the bioeconomy sector as part of broader recovery programmes, e.g. by requiring bioeconomy investments/targets as part of aid and recovery packages for specific sectors such as transport and chemicals; and
5) Reward sustainability: Integrate sustainability rewarding mechanisms into policy frameworks, promoting positive externalities in the production and use of bio-based fuels, chemicals and materials.
About the IEA
The International Energy Agency (IEA) is at the heart of global dialogue on energy, providing authoritative analysis, data, policy recommendations, and real-world solutions to help countries provide secure and sustainable energy for all. Taking an all-fuels, all-technologies approach, the IEA advocates policies that enhance the reliability, affordability and sustainability of energy. The IEA is supporting clean energy transitions all over the world in order to help achieve global sustainability goals. For more information visit: www.iea.org.
Hume Brophy for the Biofuture Platform: Biofutureplatform@humebrophy.com
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