Ministers and high-level representatives of Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Morocco, Mozambique, Netherlands, Paraguay, Philippines, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States of America and Uruguay have gathered together on November 16, 2016, in Marrakesh, Morocco, to declare the following:
As countries implement their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) in support of the 2015 Paris climate agreement, there is growing demand for sustainable, immediately scalable solutions to reduce carbon emissions in the transport sector. Transportation accounts for around 23% of the world’s energy-related greenhouse gas emissions, and it is among the most challenging sectors to decarbonize. While hybrid and electric cars can help reducing carbon footprint in light duty transport, other, more immediate solutions must be concurrently put forward if climate targets are to be achieved.
Sustainable, non-fossil alternatives should also be developed in such sectors as heavy duty vehicles, air transportation, plastics, and chemicals. A large number of countries have developed or are developing a bioeconomy strategy that includes expanding the production and use of biofuels, biopower, and biobased products.
Recent industrial and technological advancements have offered viable, diverse, sustainable pathways for both low carbon transport fuels and advanced bioproducts and green chemistry. In several countries, second generation biofuels such as cellulosic ethanol and biodiesel have recently reached or are about to reach commercial scale.
Several independent assessments suggest that these next-generation fuels and biomaterials can achieve significant reductions in life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions compared to fossil-based alternatives, in some cases reducing emissions up to 90%. Moreover, these next generation fuels that are made from cellulosic feedstocks, which are non-food based and make up the largest portion of the Earth’s plant biomass. These second generation fuels can use agricultural residues and waste as feedstock; be produced with no additional land and water resources; increase income in rural areas; and bring down the cost of food by increasing the productivity and economic value per hectare of any crop.
Together, low carbon fuels, bioproducts and other biotechnology-enabled products transition to a green bioeconomy, which also provides the basis for a circular economy. Future bio-refineries will be able to sustainably convert residues and waste into fuels, electricity, chemicals, food and pharmaceutical ingredients. Realizing the full potential of this new bioeconomy and scaling up production of low carbon advanced fuels and other bioproducts will, however, require the leadership of governments to create an enabling policy environment at national and international levels in order to attract adequate investments and overcome technological and commercial challenges inherent to an industry in its early stages, as well as to ensure its sustainability.
There is an evident need for a more consistent international collaboration and dialogue which – under clear national ownership by the governments of participating countries – could help to fulfill the social and economic potential of advanced low carbon fuels and the new bioeconomy, facilitating the upscaling of markets and promoting the recognition of their unique climate and environmental benefits.
For these reasons, the countries here represented have decided to join efforts in a new government-led, multi-stakeholder Biofuture Platform designed to promote international coordination on advanced low carbon fuels and bioeconomy development. Country representatives, in consultation with other stakeholders, shall develop the Platform´s activities in a flexible, opt-in model, taking into account how to best leverage the work of existing international institutions and initiatives (including CEM, FAO, GBEP, IEA, IEA Bioenergy, IRENA, Mission Innovation, SE4ALL, among others), and how to best address existing gaps, towards the following general goals:
- Promoting international collaboration and dialogue between policy makers, industry, academia, and other stakeholders
- Facilitating an enabling environment for advanced low-carbon fuel and bioeconomy-related investments
- Raising awareness and share analysis about the current status, potential, and advantages of low-carbon fuels and other advanced bioeconomy developments
- Promoting research and development and share analysis, policy practices and information on R&D activities and needs
- Discussing how to effectively evaluate, share and promote sustainable practices for the production of biomass and the entire value chain life cycles.
The meeting was also attended by representatives of the following international organizations and civil society and private sector entities: FAO, IRENA, UNIDO, IEA, SE4ALL, WBCSD, REN21, ABBI, ÚNICA.