The present commitments of the partners in the COP process are not enough to reach those targets. More is needed. Investment choices have to be made now to prevent climate disasters. Biomass looks like a no regret option. In most scenarios calculating the role of the different renewable options to reach mitigation goals, biomass provides 50% or more of the renewable mix. Moreover, biobased production of food, feed, fuels, materials and chemicals can support human development and poverty reduction in developing countries. It can improve access to energy and food as well as providing income-generating opportunities, particularly in rural areas.
World renowned experts on bioprocess development, sustainability, biodiversity, ethics and policy making were invited to discuss the specific role of biomass as a renewable resource in January in Leiden, The Netherlands. They now present this joint statement in which they concluded that hurdles for development are particularly adamant in logistics and infrastructure. Organising such matters should be a precondition for the technology investments, especially in less developed countries. At the same time, this can bring important stimulus for jobs and service industries and help social development in poorer areas.
In addition to carbon taxes and low interest rates for renewable development, communication should be improved and stimulate the change from the omnipresent fossil to the biobased alternatives. People should know that producing biobased energy or materials does not have to influence our food security, on the contrary, if done well it can considerably help in increasing food security.
The experts recommended to start an international initiative to show the potential of biobased innovation, help the introduction of biobased production and stimulate synergies with other renewable technologies for a transition to a biobased economy as part of a circular economy. Together they established the Lorentz BioPanel. The initiative will align already active organisations such as UN, WHO, World Bank, etc. in this field to strategically work together on developing positive visions of a Biobased Economy as well as embrace initiatives for sustainable development.
The Lorentz Biopanel statement can be read here.
Read the reaction by Prof.dr.ir. J.J. Heijnen (Delft University of Technology) on the statement.
Patricia Osseweijer, Professor of Science Communication at Delft University of Technology, and currently Distinguished Lorentz Fellow at NIAS, signing the Lorentz Biopanel’s Statement at the BIO World Congress in San Diego. The Lorentz BioPanel was set up during the NIAS-Lorentz Program Workshop in January 2016.