<body> -------------------
Contact Us       Consulting       Projects       Our Goals       About Us
home » Archive » Bioenergy_policies
Nature Blog Network

    Spanish company Ferry Group is to invest €42/US$55.2 million in a project for the production of biomass fuel pellets in Bulgaria. The 3-year project consists of establishing plantations of paulownia trees near the city of Tran. Paulownia is a fast-growing tree used for the commercial production of fuel pellets. Dnevnik - Feb. 20, 2007.

    Hungary's BHD Hõerõmû Zrt. is to build a 35 billion Forint (€138/US$182 million) commercial biomass-fired power plant with a maximum output of 49.9 MW in Szerencs (northeast Hungary). Portfolio.hu - Feb. 20, 2007.

    Tonight at 9pm, BBC Two will be showing a program on geo-engineering techniques to 'save' the planet from global warming. Five of the world's top scientists propose five radical scientific inventions which could stop climate change dead in its tracks. The ideas include: a giant sunshade in space to filter out the sun's rays and help cool us down; forests of artificial trees that would breath in carbon dioxide and stop the green house effect and a fleet futuristic yachts that will shoot salt water into the clouds thickening them and cooling the planet. BBC News - Feb. 19, 2007.

    Archer Daniels Midland, the largest U.S. ethanol producer, is planning to open a biodiesel plant in Indonesia with Wilmar International Ltd. this year and a wholly owned biodiesel plant in Brazil before July, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday. The Brazil plant is expected to be the nation's largest, the paper said. Worldwide, the company projects a fourfold rise in biodiesel production over the next five years. ADM was not immediately available to comment. Reuters - Feb. 16, 2007.

    Finnish engineering firm Pöyry Oyj has been awarded contracts by San Carlos Bioenergy Inc. to provide services for the first bioethanol plant in the Philippines. The aggregate contract value is EUR 10 million. The plant is to be build in the Province of San Carlos on the north-eastern tip of Negros Island. The plant is expected to deliver 120,000 liters/day of bioethanol and 4 MW of excess power to the grid. Kauppalehti Online - Feb. 15, 2007.

    In order to reduce fuel costs, a Mukono-based flower farm which exports to Europe, is building its own biodiesel plant, based on using Jatropha curcas seeds. It estimates the fuel will cut production costs by up to 20%. New Vision (Kampala, Uganda) - Feb. 12, 2007.

    The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has decided to use 10% biodiesel in its fleet of public buses. The world's largest city is served by the Toei Bus System, which is used by some 570,000 people daily. Digital World Tokyo - Feb. 12, 2007.

    Fearing lack of electricity supply in South Africa and a price tag on CO2, WSP Group SA is investing in a biomass power plant that will replace coal in the Letaba Citrus juicing plant which is located in Tzaneen. Mining Weekly - Feb. 8, 2007.

    In what it calls an important addition to its global R&D capabilities, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) is to build a new bioenergy research center in Hamburg, Germany. World Grain - Feb. 5, 2007.

    EthaBlog's Henrique Oliveira interviews leading Brazilian biofuels consultant Marcelo Coelho who offers insights into the (foreign) investment dynamics in the sector, the history of Brazilian ethanol and the relationship between oil price trends and biofuels. EthaBlog - Feb. 2, 2007.

    The government of Taiwan has announced its renewable energy target: 12% of all energy should come from renewables by 2020. The plan is expected to revitalise Taiwan's agricultural sector and to boost its nascent biomass industry. China Post - Feb. 2, 2007.

    Production at Cantarell, the world's second biggest oil field, declined by 500,000 barrels or 25% last year. This virtual collapse is unfolding much faster than projections from Mexico's state-run oil giant Petroleos Mexicanos. Wall Street Journal - Jan. 30, 2007.

    Dubai-based and AIM listed Teejori Ltd. has entered into an agreement to invest €6 million to acquire a 16.7% interest in Bekon, which developed two proprietary technologies enabling dry-fermentation of biomass. Both technologies allow it to design, establish and operate biogas plants in a highly efficient way. Dry-Fermentation offers significant advantages to the existing widely used wet fermentation process of converting biomass to biogas. Ame Info - Jan. 22, 2007.

    Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited is to build a biofuel production plant in the tribal belt of Banswara, Rajasthan, India. The petroleum company has acquired 20,000 hectares of low value land in the district, which it plans to commit to growing jatropha and other biofuel crops. The company's chairman said HPCL was also looking for similar wasteland in the state of Chhattisgarh. Zee News - Jan. 15, 2007.

    The Zimbabwean national police begins planting jatropha for a pilot project that must result in a daily production of 1000 liters of biodiesel. The Herald (Harare), Via AllAfrica - Jan. 12, 2007.

    In order to meet its Kyoto obligations and to cut dependence on oil, Japan has started importing biofuels from Brazil and elsewhere. And even though the country has limited local bioenergy potential, its Agriculture Ministry will begin a search for natural resources, including farm products and their residues, that can be used to make biofuels in Japan. To this end, studies will be conducted at 900 locations nationwide over a three-year period. The Japan Times - Jan. 12, 2007.

    Chrysler's chief economist Van Jolissaint has launched an arrogant attack on "quasi-hysterical Europeans" and their attitudes to global warming, calling the Stern Review 'dubious'. The remarks illustrate the yawning gap between opinions on climate change among Europeans and Americans, but they also strengthen the view that announcements by US car makers and legislators about the development of green vehicles are nothing more than window dressing. Today, the EU announced its comprehensive energy policy for the 21st century, with climate change at the center of it. BBC News - Jan. 10, 2007.

    The new Canadian government is investing $840,000 into BioMatera Inc. a biotech company that develops industrial biopolymers (such as PHA) that have wide-scale applications in the plastics, farmaceutical and cosmetics industries. Plant-based biopolymers such as PHA are biodegradable and renewable. Government of Canada - Jan. 9, 2007.

Creative Commons License

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Global bioeconomy needs sustainability safeguards - survey covering 50 countries finds

There is strong support for establishing international sustainability standards for the bioeconomy that ensure the environmental, economic and social benefits are reached, according to an informal survey of representatives from non-governmental organizations, government and businesses carried out by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.

The bioeconomy is a rapidly growing sector producing fuel, energy and other products from agricultural crops, grasses, and forest materials. The sector has exploded recently with the help of renewable fuel mandates and Wall Street investment. In early September, IATP conducted a survey of multiple networks it has developed over the years as part of its international trade, and domestic farm and environmental work. Nearly 300 people responded from over 50 different countries.

The survey was released prior to an international meeting this week in Bonn, Germany on 'Sustainable Bioenergy - Challenges and Opportunities' sponsored by the UN Foundation.

In the survey, respondents were allowed to check more than one answer. Some of the survey’s findings [full survey here, you or your organisation can still participate in it yourself]:

  • Potential positive outcomes for the bioeconomy included less reliance on oil (62 percent), more jobs for rural communities (57 percent), more opportunities for sustainable biomass (53 percent), less pollution (50 percent), and better prices for farmers (49 percent);
  • Potential negative outcomes included increased use of genetically engineered crops (63 percent), increased power for multinational agribusiness and energy companies (63 percent), more intensive industrialized agriculture (62 percent), depletion of water resources (56 percent), and damage to biodiversity (48 percent).
  • Respondents identified the impact on biodiversity (80 percent) as the top information gap in understanding the future of the bioeconomy, followed by the impact on market concentration (67 percent), impact on food security (65 percent), impact on pollution (62 percent) and impact on prices paid to farmers (53 percent).
  • There was strong support for the establishment of international standards that would ensure the positive benefits of the bioeconomy, and limit the potential negative outcomes. Sixty four percent of respondents agreed to participate in a process to set sustainable international standards.
Major changes are taking place in agriculture because of the new bioeconomy. This rapidly growing sector is producing fuel, energy and products from agricultural crops, grasses, and forest materials. There is the potential for positive outcomes such as higher farm crop prices, less export dumping, less dependence on polluting fossil fuels and stronger rural communities where local ownership is entrenched in development policies. But there are also concerns about negative impacts on food security, natural ecosystems and rural development:
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

Many in nongovernmental organizations, government, and the business sector are grappling with the new opportunities and challenges posed by the bioeconomy, including how to define trade, fiscal and budgetary policies that will promote equitable growth and sustainability. To better understand what others in the U.S. and around the world think about this emerging economy, IATP conducted an informal survey in September. The survey went out to multiple networks that IATP has developed over the years as part of its international trade work, as well as U.S.-based domestic farm and environmental networks. The survey was also present on our various web sites and open to anyone who wanted to contribute.

Summary of findings
The survey is by no means comprehensive, but it does give us a snapshot of where many leaders following the bioeconomy think this new sector is going. We received numerous informal comments from respondents that their organization, government or business were debating many of the same issues described in our survey. In all, over 275 respondents from more than 50 countries took the survey.

Benefits and risks for the environment seemed to be at the front of respondents’ thinking about the bioeconomy. Most saw the greatest benefits of the bioeconomy coming from less reliance on oil for energy, more jobs for the rural economy, more opportunity for sustainable, perennial biomass, and less pollution. Most were concerned about the increased use of genetically engineered crops to grow energy crops, increased market power for agribusiness and energy companies and more intensive, industrialized agriculture. Most identified the biggest gap in knowledge as the impact on biodiversity and the environment, followed by corporate concentration, impact on food security, and impact on greenhouse gas emissions. Most respondents saw the bioeconomy being developed for local or national use, not for export.

There was strong support for the development of international sustainable biomass standards. Ecosystem protection was the most important element of developing international standards for the bioeconomy. One hundred and seventy respondents said they would be willing to participate in a process to develop international standards.

Enthusiasm for the bioeconomy is clear from the survey. But so are the strong concerns about risks, particularly in the areas of environmental damage and corporate market concentration. Strong support for participating in the development of international sustainability standards for the bioeconomy indicates that it is a necessary and worthwhile endeavor.

About the respondents
Respondents identified themselves as from the following sectors: nongovernmental organizations (92), higher education (47); government (20); UN Agency (10); private sector (22); lending and aid organizations (3); and foundations (8).

Respondents came from 51 countries from all five continents including: United States, Philippines, Ireland, Panama, Brazil, United Kingdom, Canada, Uruguay, Netherlands, Switzerland, New Zealand, Fiji, Indonesia, Mongolia, Australia, Thailand, India, Italy, Turkey, Sweden, Pakistan, Denmark, France, Germany, Senegal, Chile, Jamaica, Mexico, New Zealand, Nepal, Oman, Kenya, Egypt, Mozambique, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, Sudan, South Africa, Belgium, Morocco, Columbia, Guatemala, Austria, Norway, Paraguay, Algeria, Cameroon, Bangladesh and Finland.

Seventy three percent of the respondents were connected to organizations that worked in agriculture, and 63 percent had some overlap with the environment. Fifty seven percent worked locally, 64 percent nationally, 55 percent regionally, and 69 percent internationally.

Defining the bioeconomy
Of those working directly within the bioeconomy, 37 percent were focused on fuels, and 25 percent on biomass energy. In their region, 57 percent said that corn was the predominant crop for biomass energy, followed by woody biomass (39 percent), soybeans (32 percent), sugar (23 percent), and canola (20 percent). Most did not see the bioeconomy as being built for export (only 14 percent). They expect most of it to be built for local and national use.

In exploring possible positive outcomes for the bioeconomy, less reliance on oil topped the list at (62 percent), followed by more jobs for rural communities (57 percent), more opportunities for sustainable biomass (53 percent), less pollution (50 percent) and better prices for farmers at (49 percent). Ten percent saw no real benefits from the bioeconomy.

Concerns about the bioeconomy were topped by: increased use of genetically engineered crops (63 percent), increased power for multinational agribusiness and energy companies (63 percent), more intensive industrialized agriculture (62 percent), depletion of water resources (56 percent), and damage to biodiversity (48 percent).
Information gaps

Respondents identified the impact on biodiversity (80 percent) as the top information gap concerning the new bioeconomy, followed by impact on market concentration (67 percent), impact on food security (65 percent), impact on pollution (62 percent), and impact on prices paid to farmers (53 percent).
Interest in international standards

International standards are being discussed as a way to ensure the positive benefits from the bioeconomy, and limit or eliminate negative outcomes. Forty eight percent of respondents considered ecosystem protection the most important of such standards, 34 percent thought local ownership was most important, and 23 percent thought local regional use was most important.

Sixty four percent (170 respondents) said they would be willing to participate in a process to set sustainable international standards.

Responses to the survey fully reflected the multifaceted aspects of the bioeconomy—excitement about the possibilities, concern about the risks. The survey reflected the global development of this sector with respondents from over 50 different countries around the world. The responses also support the clear need for more research to better understand the consequences of an emerging bioeconomy. Finally, strong interest in supporting international standards reflects the critical importance of a well-planned, informed, and democratic approach to the growth of this sector.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home