GBEP Newsletter n.9 - 20 December 2010

GBEP news roundup: work on sustainability criteria and indicators fast-tracked

The Global Bioenergy Partnership (GBEP) is focusing in coming months on reaching consensus on its sustainability criteria and indicators, with a view to starting the process of piloting them next year. The GBEP Task Force on Sustainability, now chaired by Sweden, has achieved a significant level of provisional agreement on the sustainability indicators. These are designed to enable governments to build their capacity to monitor, interpret and respond to the environmental, social and economic impacts of their bioenergy production and use.

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GBEP approves public release of Version One of the GHG methodological framework

Three years of work by GBEP to harmonise the various methodologies for calculating greenhouse gas emissions from bioenergy will come to a head in the New Year with publication of “Version One” of its methodological framework. The “GBEP Common Methodological Framework for GHG Lifecycle Analysis of Bioenergy - Version One” will be released via the GBEP website as of January 2011, making it available for public consultation and online testing.

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GBEP Partners assess international perspectives on indirect land-use change

In order to navigate the complexities of bioenergy’s indirect impacts, an information session was held in November in Rome specifically on the topic of indirect land-use change (ILUC) as part of GBEP’s Task Force on Sustainability's workstream on indirect effects of bioenergy. A first workshop was held on this subject in New York last year.

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UN-Energy creates tool to support development of bioenergy policies

Decision makers in government are faced with complex choices, having to settle for trade-offs between often conflicting goals.To respond to this situation, UN-Energy has developed a Bioenergy Decision Support Tool (DST) providing step-based guidance for both the strategy formulation and the investment decision-making processes.

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BioGrace Project working to harmonise GHG emission saving calculations in Europe

In 2009 the European Union set sustainability criteria for biofuels in the Renewable Energy Directive and the Fuel Quality Directive. It stated that reductions in the emission of greenhouse gases (GHG) from biofuels must be at least 35% compared to fossil fuels, rising to at least 50% by 2017 and 60% by 2018 for biofuels produced in new installations. The project BioGrace aims to harmonise calculations of biofuel greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and thus supports the implementation of the EU Renewable Energy Directive.

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Global Bioenergy Perspectives: Water use and quality rise up the bioenergy agenda

International attention is being focused on water use and water quality as a critical issue that has largely been overlooked in the current bioenergy debate. It has long been the case that agriculture has been the predominant consumer of water across the globe – up to 70 percent in some regions. This allocation is understandable when one considers that agriculture produces the necessities of life, such as food, fibres and, increasingly, fuel. As water demands increase, however, water use in agriculture is coming under greater scrutiny, heightening the debate around the environmental impact of biofuels and feedstock production in particular. Ensuring optimal water use – whether measured by hectare, energy produced by ton of feedstock or a combination of these – will be increasingly important in the bioenergy industry, especially in water-stressed or water-scarce regions.

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