Brazil, India, China, US and 8 other nations to launch Biofuture Platform aimed at decarbonizing transport

09/11/2016 - 11:48

In Morocco, the Digest has learned that on Wednesday, November 16th,, at 5pm a large consortium of countries led by Brazil and including the US and China, intent on restoring carbon reductions in transportation as a centerpiece of global efforts on climate change, will launch the Biofuture Platform at COP 22 in Marrakesh. The launch event is set to take place in the Morocco Pavilion in the UNFCCC Blue Zone in Marrakesh, Morocco.

In documents obtained by The Digest from sources, Biofuture’s founders stated that:

There is an urgent need for a sustainable, immediately scalable solution to reduce carbon emissions in the transport sector. Transportation is the sector that has so far been one of the most challenging for mitigation, and it accounts for around 23% of the world’s energy-related greenhouse gas emissions according to the IPCC.

Brazil, China, the US, India, Denmark and many others in leading roles

Among the countries which have already stated their intention to participate as founding members are Brazil, China, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, India, Italy, Morocco, Paraguay, Sweden, United States of America and Uruguay.

Other countries which have considered the proposal and communicated their positive reception to it are Argentina, Canada, France, Indonesia, Mozambique, Nederland, the Philippines, Senegal, South Africa, the United Kingdom and Thailand.

What is the Biofuture Platform?

The Biofuture Platform aims to be an action-oriented, country-led, multistakeholder mechanism for policy dialogue and collaboration among leading countries, organizations, academia and the private sector conscious of the need to accelerate development and scale up deployment of modern sustainable low carbon alternatives to fossil based solutions in transport, chemicals, plastics and other sectors.

Why is such a new international platform needed? The partners say that “while lots of international attention, investment and collaboration have been taking place in the renewable energy field, most of that recent action has been directed to the power sector. While that is welcome and critical, the world needs also to do more for scaling up alternatives to fossil fuels in the transport sector and industry, taking advantage of new, sustainable technologies already in place.”

They add: “In light of the fact that low carbon transport fuels are the fastest alternative to reduce the carbon intensity of the transport sector without waiting for fleet and infrastructure changes, the Biofuture Platform aims to help filling that attention gap, promoting policy coordination and raising the issue in the global agenda.”

Is it a new organization?

The answer is no. The Biofuture Platform is to be a country-led, country-driven mechanism, and as such will be conducted mainly by its member countries, which shall agree on and implement a focused work plan by means of light and simple procedures. It will not have a headquarters, a director-general, or a large staff driving its own agenda.

In the context of COP 22 and the Paris Climate Agreement, what will Biofuture Platform focus on?

The ultimate purpose of the Biofuture Platform is to help in the global fight against climate change, nurturing solutions in low carbon transport and the bioeconomy that can aid countries to reach their Nationally Determined Contribution targets (NDCs), as well as to contribute towards the Sustainable Development Goals, especially SDGs 7 (sustainable energy), and 13 (action against climate change), while also contributing to SDGs 8 (economic growth and decent work), 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure), 2 (sustainable agriculture and zero hunger) and 15 (forests and ecosystems).

Potential public and private partners

The organizing countries envision a network of public and private partners including:

• development organizations, financial institutions, institutional investors, and international organizations with a mandate relating to energy or biotechnology, such as IRENA, SE4ALL, IEA, IEA Bioenergy, World Bank, IADB, BRICS Development Bank, CAF, UNCTAD, FAO/GBEP, UNDP, UNIDO.

• private sector and industry representatives acting in the low carbon transport fuels, biotechnology, and bioeconomy-related sectors representing the different links in the value chain, such as the WBCSD, below50, Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB), World Bioenergy Association, ABBI, UNICA, European Biofuels Technology Platform, ePURE, Europabio, ABFA, ABBC.

• universities, institutes, laboratories and other institutions engaged in R&D, innovation, capacity-building, analysis, industry mapping and related activities in the cellulosic and other advanced low carbon fuels and bioeconomy fields. Examples of core candidates include: CTBE, CTC (Brazil); Tsinghua University (China); EFI (Finland), DBT-ICT (India); ENEA (Italy); UPLB (Philippines), NREL, NBC (US); and countless others.

With that said, the Biofuture Platform may promote policy dialogue and policy cooperation, awareness raising, and investment facilitation by means of topic-focused workshops, seminars, webinars, policy roundtables, government-private-academia sector meetings, summary briefings and communiqués, calls to action, business roundtables, and high-profile governmental meetings to highlight important messages, among other actions and tools to be decided by members.

The financing of the effort

The Biofuture Platform is to be initially driven mainly by the direct efforts and in-kind contributions of willing member governments and partner institutions among international organizations, academia, and the private sector. Any future financing mechanisms would have to be agreed upon jointly by all its country members. In any case, the expectation is that any and all present and future financing shall be exclusively of a voluntary nature.

Next steps

What will be the next steps after the launch event? After the launch, the next steps shall be agreed among the founding members by means of their designated focal points. The Biofuture Platform shall strive to be lean, fast and efficient, and as such is expected to adopt electronic means of coordination and governance, using the web, e-mail, teleconferences, videoconferences, webinars, and electronic collaboration tools. Physical meetings may also take place from time to time, preferably back-to-back with other international climate and clean-energy related meetings and events that bring together the appropriate stakeholders.

Por Biofuels Digest

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