Displaying 1-19 of 19 key documents
Source: UNFCCC | June 2012
This report provides a summary of key financing and support opportunities — excluding multilateral and domestic sources — available to Climate Development Mechanism (CDM) projects in Africa and other underrepresented regions. Funding sources covered include the KfW Carbon Fund, World Bank group carbon funds and initiatives, the carbon facility of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the African Biofuels and Renewable Energy Fund (ABREF), and the Africa Carbon Asset Development Initiative (ACAD).
Source: OECD-FAO | June 2012
This is the eighteenth edition of the Agricultural Outlook, which outlines projected market trends (from 2012 to 2021) for major agricultural commodities and biofuels, and presents recent developments and uncertainties associated with those markets. It focuses on the challenges of meeting the rising demand for food alongside input costs, resource constraints, environmental pressures and the impacts of climate change.
The report finds that world prices for many agricultural crops are expected to remain high over the long-term, in spite of a short-term decline. It highlights progress in improving the sustainability of agricultural practices, and calls for the private sector to take a leading role in creating the right environment.
The report concludes by arguing for better agronomic practices and commercial, technical and regulatory environments, and strengthening agricultural innovation systems, as essential policy challenges. It calls for developing countries to invest in agricultural infrastructure in rural areas and in human capital, and to put in place policies for reducing food loss and waste.
Source: UN Food and Agriculture Organization | June 2012
This report argues that more sustainable use of forestry resources can help reduce poverty and hunger, mitigate the impacts of climate change, and create more sustainable sources of bio-products and bio-energy. It was released at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), where many of these challenges were discussed.
The report highlights that 350 million of the world's poorest people depend on forests for survival, and that investing in wood-based enterprises creates jobs and improves livelihoods. It argues that when sourced sustainably, wood products can store carbon and be easily recycled, and highlights that sustainable forestry offers a renewable, alternative source of energy. It says that more resources need to be invested in creating small and medium forest-based enterprises that benefit local communities.
The report concludes that promoting a sustainable forest-based industry can both improve local economies and meet sustainability goals. But this will require policies, programmes and incentives.
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization | October 2011
This year's edition of the report focuses on the costs of food price volatility, as well as the dangers and opportunities that high food prices present to poor countries. It outlines how food price volatility affects food security, offers policy options to reduce volatility cost-effectively, and suggests how countries can manage cost increases when they cannot be avoided.
A key message of the report is that increases in food prices are set to continue. The authors pinpoint contributing factors such as climate change-related increases in the frequency of extreme weather events, and stronger linkages between energy and agricultural markets because of growing demand for biofuels.
One of the key points made in the report is that large countries were able to insulate themselves from the crisis, but small countries dependent on imports, especially in Africa, were hard hit. Others include the importance of safety-net mechanisms for alleviating the impacts of food insecurity and laying the foundations for development, and that high food prices offer incentives for improving food security in the long term by increasing investment in agriculture.
Source: IIED | January 2011
This report aims to inform energy and forestry policymakers in non-OECD counties about biomass energy, which these countries depend on mostly for cooking and heating. It draws on global literature to give an account of the emerging biomass energy boom, the advantages and disadvantages of biomass and how it compares with alternative renewable energy sources. It also provides guidance on developing policies that optimise the positive impact of biomass energy on poverty reduction and the preservation of ecosystem services.
The International Energy Agency predicts that biomass, which currently makes up ten per cent of the world's primary energy supplies, will become increasingly important as a source of energy, rising to 30 per cent by 2050. The report argues that since non-OECD countries are disproportionately dependent on biomass energy (26 per cent), they could capitalise on this trend by acting now to legalise biomass supplies and ensure that it is produced sustainably. This would allow them to create more advanced biomass energy options in the future, such as generating electricity or producing second generation biofuels.
Source: STEPS Centre | 2010
This report considers whether biochar — a charcoal-like substance made by burning biomass in oxygen-deprived conditions — is a silver bullet for meeting the global challenges of climate change mitigation, soil fertility and sustainable energy production. Biochar buried in soil can capture and store atmospheric carbon.
The report assesses the prospects of biochar becoming part of sustainability measures, and whether it can meet the livelihood priorities of small-scale farmers in rural Africa, for example.
It provides an overview of current arguments and interested parties in the polarised debate about whether biochar could contribute significantly to climate change mitigation. The authors argue that there is a "politics of promise" around its potential, and although this is driving research and investment, biochar has yet to make significant impact on the ground.
Source: Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21)
This interactive map provides information on policies, targets, shares, capacity, production and scenarios for renewable energy by technology and country or region. Information on the state of both solar photovoltaics and solar thermal is available, as well as wind power, geothermal energy, hydropower and biomass.
Source: UN Environment Programme | 2009
This annual report from the UN Environment Programme highlights investment trends in renewable energy, including solar technologies. It finds that new investment in renewables continues to rise — despite the global financial crisis — as a result of a growing focus on climate change, energy insecurity, fossil fuel depletion and new technologies. In 2008, the solar sector received US$33.5 billion of new investment — a rise of 49 per cent from 2007.
Source: Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21)
This annual report from REN21 provides an overview of global renewable energy markets and activities in 2008, including biofuels, geothermal, solar and wind. It presents data and information on investment flows, industry trends and the policy landscape, and has a useful section on rural (off-grid) renewable energy. A more in-depth review of rural renewable energy is provided in the 2007 status report. [480kB]
Source: GeneWatch UK | July 2009
This report from GeneWatch UK describes the use of genetically modified (GM) crops as agrofuels and makes policy recommendations on their use.
Civil society groups have raised concerns over the sustainability of using food supplies to produce biofuel. Industry and government have responded by investing in genetically modified 'second generation' biofuels to try and increase energy output from a broader range of plant sources.
The author says that assessments of GM biofuels must consider their impact on biodiversity, food supply and land use, how much they can realistically reduce carbon emissions and their technical feasibility.
GeneWatch UK recommends an independent appraisal for second-generation GM agrofuels. It suggests that gaps in research and regulation must be addressed, particularly those regarding environmental concerns such as factory waste streams containing GM organisms.
Source: FAO | 2008
This report, published by the Food and Agriculture Organization, outlines the current state of the biofuels debate and examines the policies being implemented to support biofuels and those needed to address issues affecting the environment, food security and the poor.
The report begins with a technical overview of the types of biofuels available and then focuses on the economic and policy drivers of liquid biofuels and the short- and long-term prospects of biofuel markets. The environmental impacts of biofuels, together with the impacts on poverty and food security are examined and the policy challenges discussed, including proposals for a better policy framework.
The report suggests that rapid increases in demand for biofuel feedstocks pose an immediate threat to the food security of the urban and rural poor. But it also implies that in the long term, more demand for agricultural commodities may present opportunities for agricultural and rural development. The impact of biofuels on greenhouse gas emissions is found to vary according to location and agricultural practices, and the authors call for more harmonised approaches to assessing the impact of biofuel production on climate change.
Source: Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP) | October 2005
This brief, based on an ESMAP report published in 2005, provides a roadmap for developing countries considering large-scale biofuels production.
It proposes sugarcane ethanol as the most commercially viable option, and draws on Brazil's experience to show what has made their industry successful, as well as listing eight conditions that foster success in ethanol production. These include adequately educating farmers, establishing good roads and developing a communication infrastructure.
Although almost 100 countries have started to grow sugarcane, none have yet matched Brazil's success. This brief outlines steps for a global evolution of biofuels production, and suggests ways in which governments can help.
Source: Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTU) | July 2007
This draft policy brief says African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries can use local natural resources — such as sugarcane and jatropha — to meet energy requirements through biofuels, curtailing dependence on fossil fuels.
But the authors warn of challenges for developing countries, including economic and trade issues, and suggest practical steps for meeting these. They also present various bioenergy options for households, such as BioGel — a solid wood-substitute made from low-grade ethanol mixed with a gelling agent.
The brief makes a number of policy recommendations, including national strategies for promoting and sustaining local demand, and more funding for local and regional ACP research.
Source: PANOS | April 2007
This annotated bibliography of mostly online resources covers the relationship between biofuels and climate change.
The bibliography is divided into ten sections: Biofuels; GM trees; carbon sinks and trading; land use change — effects on atmospheric carbon; deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions linked to biofuels; biofuels and food production; biofuels production — what's the energy balance?; bio-regional energy; food miles; and other oil crops — search facilities.
Source: World Business Council for Sustainable Development | November 2007
This is an overview of biofuels production, focusing on its use in transport. It outlines the various biofuels manufacturing pathways, and provides data on global ethanol fuel from 1990–2006 and biodiesel production in 2006.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) predicts biofuel production will increase by 8.3 per cent annually, to meet increasing demand for road transport fuel. Therefore, the authors say it is essential to advance biofuel technologies.
Much of this brief is dedicated to the various biofuel production issues that need to be tackled, such as considering carbon emissions throughout their full lifecycle, bio-refining, and trade barriers.
Source: Biopact | October 2006
In this manifesto, John Mathews, professor of strategic management at Australia's Macquarie University, challenges development organisations to reconsider their position on biofuels. He says countries should follow Brazil, China and India in forging a "new pathway of industrial development", based around biofuels.
Mathews argues that although China and India are seen as big polluters, they, together with Brazil, are actually paving the way for developing nations to invest in renewable energy.
He outlines practical steps for creating renewable energy industries, citing Brazil — the world's leading producer of biofuels — as an example. Mathews sets out 10 arguments for biofuels in the developing world.
Source: The Global Bioenergy Partnership (GBEP) | November 2007
This report, assessing bioenergy production in G8+5 countries, highlights challenges for the developing industry.
Trade barriers still impede bioenergy development, particularly in smaller developing countries. And although not all biofuels are environmentally friendly, there is no international sustainability assurance system for bioenergy — though this is being addressed.
All of the +5 countries except Russia have set a transport biofuel target, and are reviewing blending targets. Almost all countries cite energy security and climate change as the most important factors for developing biofuels. Technical standards are becoming increasingly uniform, which will promote quality assurance and trade.
Source: The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) | November 2006
Energy demands are rising, and most of this demand will come from outside the OECD by 2015.
This report outlines how developing country farmers can exploit biofuels' potential, including producing ethanol from crop residues and growing energy crops on land unsuitable for producing food.
It analyses bioenergy's effects on global food sources, showing how incomes, and thus food security, could improve.
Developing an industry that benefits poor, small-scale farmers is a challenge. The authors highlight the need for management and regulation at all levels, from local communities to policymakers, as well as ensuring technologies are transferred.
Source: The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) | November 2006
Biofuels offer an attractive solution to escalating oil prices and concern over how fossil fuels affect global climate. They also provide new prospects for rural communities.
But their full implications, for developing countries and the environment, remain unclear. Balancing economic efficiency and environmental sustainability is not easy, and many key questions remain unanswered.
This essay addresses some of these questions, investigating the pros and cons of biofuels for the developing world. It examines economic and social factors, and the role of science and technology in biofuels production. It explores experiences from Brazil and other developing nations, as well as trade-offs between producing biofuels and food.