16 February 2017
ICAO, IEA, SE4All Set the Stage for Biofuels, Alternative Fuels Deployment
UN Photo/Mark Garten
story highlights

ICAO seminar discusses alternative fuels in aviation, as a precursor to a conference on Aviation Alternative Fuels to be convened later in 2017.

The IEA and FAO launch the 'How2Guide for Bioenergy'.

SE4All continues to develop the third edition of the Global Tracking Framework, due to be published April 2017.

14 February 2017: A series of discussions and practical tools have sought over the past few weeks to track developments in biofuels and other alternative fuels. These efforts set the stage for practical action to unlock the potential of such fuels and energy sources, while ensuring the sustainability and access to energy for all.

Several reports and workshops sought to share information on the state of alternative fuels and discuss ways to scale up their deployment. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) held a seminar on alternative fuels in aviation from 8-9 February 2017, in Montreal, Canada. A few months after the adoption of the agreement to establish the Carbon Offset and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation, or CORSIA, the seminar aimed to assess the state of worldwide activities on several fronts, including the use of alternative fuels in aviation and lifecycle analysis methodologies and sustainability criteria. Key issues discussed included support for the use of alternative fuels and aviation, finance and assistance programmes, and legal and regulatory frameworks.

Participants also discussed the role of biofuels in States’ Voluntary Action Plans, ICAO assistance projects, and the global market-based measure (GMBM) scheme. Following from the vision relayed by Olumuyiwa Berbard Aliu, President of the ICAO Council, that “sustainable alternative fuels are now poised to make important contributions with respect to near-term gains,” participants furthered their knowledge and information exchanges on this premise in preparation for an ICAO Conference on Aviation Alternative Fuels to be convened later in 2017. [ICAO Seminar on Alternative Fuels in Aviation] [ICAO Seminar Programme and Panels]

The ‘How2Guide for Bioenergy’ is a step-by-step guide that aims to remove policy uncertainties and structural challenges hampering biofuels expansion as an energy source.

Biofuels is also the subject of a report published by the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO). The report, titled ‘How2Guide for Bioenergy,’ notes that biofuels are the largest source of renewable energy currently in use, but also one of the most complex supply chains. It stresses that energy policy, food security and water management intertwine in the biofuel supply chain, creating uncertainties and even controversy over what constitutes a sustainable biofuel. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 13 (climate action), 14 (life below water), and 15 (life on land) are all implicated in biofuels policies and projects. The FAO/IEA’s step-by-step guide aims to help navigate these complexities when planning and implementing biofuel strategies, including stakeholder relations, measuring against baselines, and assessing and implementing technologies. As IEA projects that bioenergy could contribute 10% of global final energy consumption in 2040, the Guide aims to remove policy uncertainties and structural challenges hampering biofuels expansion as an energy source. [IEA Report: How2Guide for Bioenergy]

Further efforts to track developments related to alternative fuels and energy sources are underway as the next edition of the Global Tracking Framework of Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) is developed. Like previous editions, the Global Tracking Framework provides a dashboard showing the world’s progress toward the three sustainable energy objectives for energy access, energy efficiency and renewable energy. This third edition focuses on global developments from 2012 to 2014, picking up from the second edition that examined 2010-2012 against the historic baseline of 1990-2010 established in the first edition of the report. The third edition will also put a spotlight on regional level trends, including a series of in-depth profiles for all continents. A consultation period was held from 6-13 February 2017, to seek comments on the clarity of the report and its charts, recognizing that the indicator methodology was already consulted and aligned with the definitions adopted by the UN Statistical Communication in the context of SDG 7 (ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all). The third edition is due to be published April 2017. [World Bank Global Tracking Framework 2015] [Consultation for the Third Edition of the Global Tracking Framework]

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