Logo of the conference© EU, 2012
World forum on the bioenergy challenge
This first World forum on "Fuel, food & the environment: the bioenergy challenge" took place in Milan on 18 June, in the context of the 20th European Biomass Conference. The event was a JRC initiative in collaboration with Regione Lombardia and the Italian ministry for the environment. It gathered a panel of high level speakers, representatives of the Commission's Directorates-General for Energy and Climate action, World Bank, United Nations and the EU's chief scientific advisor. They debated on how to balance the use of land for food and biofuel taking into consideration science, finance, politics, food, energy security and social issues.
These discussions highlighted the need for solid scientific evidence and analysis and the importance of adopting a national perspective when legislating on this filed, as biofuels are a complex and multifaceted issue. The need to take existing scientific evidence into account was also raised as well as the role of scientists in contributing to take action and not using uncertainty as a reason for inaction. Encouragement for innovative technologies (such as second and third generation of biofuels) and an investment climate for these technologies were pleaded for.
Speakers agreed that biofuels are not the only renewable energy option, but affirmed that they need to be considered, as some transport modes will rely on them on the short to the medium term.
Last but not least, all speakers agreed that Rio 20 represents an excellent opportunity to address the global dimension of this issue.
The 20th European Biomass Conference and exhibition gathered more than 1400 participants from 61 countries, providing an insight into the complexity of the biofuels-related issues.