Bioenergy and biofuels

Energy

The relationships between ecosystems and bioenergy, and biofuels in particular, are complex.

On the one hand, ecosystems provide the goods (biomass feedstocks as well as enzyme digesters) and services (e.g. soil formation, climate regulation, water regulation and provision, and pollination) which underpin bioenergy. On the other hand, the production, distribution and use of bioenergy can have significant negative impacts on ecosystems and livelihoods.

Current biofuels policies and practices run the risk of undermining food security while degrading ecosystems through deforestation, agrochemical pollution, the introduction of invasive species and the use of genetically-modified feedstock. However, well-planned and managed biofuels production can conceivably contribute to a more sustainable energy future while providing opportunities for landscape management, conservation farming practices, climate change adaptation, and rural livelihoods development.

 

Related news

 

RSB logo

Joint Statement on the Recognition of the Roundtable for Sustainable Biofuels Certification System by the European Commission

The Roundtable for Sustainable Biofuels (RSB), a leading multi-stakeholder initiative that supports the development of sustainable biofuels, has received official recognition by the European Commission (EC) for meeting the sustainability criteria of the Renewable Energy Directive (RED). …  

19 Jul 2011 | News story

Sugar cane plantations at Santa Clara province, Cuba

Reducing the impact of biofuels on the environment and local communities

Energy company Shell and sugar giant Cosan have announced a partnership to produce biofuels from Brazilian sugarcane. IUCN will work through its partnership with Shell to ensure that the impact of these operations on local communities and nature are minimised. …  

26 Aug 2010 | News story

Biofuel standards workshop report image

Encouraging closer collaboration between biofuel sustainability standards - report now available

As part of an ongoing collaboration to promote the implementation of more sustainable biofuels, IUCN and Shell, working with ProForest and The Packard Foundation convened stakeholders of a number of certification schemes, including secretariat and Board members as well as industry and civil society representatives. The workshop was held to discuss areas of synergy and opportunities for harmonization of standards and certification schemes that may apply to biofuels. The final report is now available. …  

04 Aug 2010 | News story

Back to biofuel basics

What exactly are biofuels? Are they competing for resources needed to grow food and therefore causing a hike in global food prices? This and much more is explained in an interview with IUCN's Chief Scientist, Jeff McNeely. He discusses how biofuels have, in fact, been used for centuries and argues that the main concern from IUCN's point of view is how they will impact on biodiversity conservation. …  

31 May 2010 | Audio

Jatropha curcas, Mali

Responsible Biofuels and Beyond: critical issues for the Convention on Biological Diversity work programme

IUCN and WWF convened the side event Responsible Biofuels and Beyond : critical issues for the CBD agriculture programme of work to highlight critical issues relating to the biofuels and biodiversity agenda including land use, indirect landuse change, impacts on smallholders and vulnerable groups, invasive species risks, indicators for biodiversity, biodiversity information available for biofuels decisions, and processes for identifying responsible cultivation areas.
  …  

19 May 2010 | News story
0 Comments | Write a comment

A break out session at the Shell IUCN biofuel standards workshop.

IUCN, Shell and Packard Foundation host workshop “Towards Harmonization for Biofuel Sustainability Standards”

As part of an ongoing collaboration to promote the implementation of more sustainable biofuels, IUCN and Shell, working with ProForest and The Packard Foundation convened stakeholders of a number of certification schemes, including secretariat and Board members as well as industry and civil society representatives. The workshop was held to discuss areas of synergy and opportunities for harmonization of standards and certification schemes that may apply to biofuels. …  

05 Mar 2010 | News story

Calotropis gigantean

Beating back biofuel crop invasions

The risk of biofuel crops becoming invasive and outcompeting native species is increasing as more advanced crops are planted. This can be managed to reduce the impact on local livelihoods and the environment, according to a report by IUCN. …  

18 Feb 2010 | News story

Cover - Removing barriers workshop report

Multi-sector group to address implementation barriers for more sustainable biofuels

Participants at a jointly-hosted Shell-IUCN workshop identified alignment of policy and standards and information for land-use planning as areas to overcome implementation barriers to advance the sustainability of biofuel developments. …  

04 Feb 2010 | News story

Jatropha curcas, Mali

Managing the invasive risk of biofuels – IUCN draft guidelines available for comment

IUCN is working with a number of organisations to develop a set of guidelines on minimising the risk of biological invasions that may result from biofuel developments. The project was launched because of growing concerns that a rush to develop biofuels may open the door to new invasions by introduced species. There is also increasing evidence to suggest that potential future biofuel feedstocks are "high risk" species that pose a serious threat to ecosystems and livelihoods. …  

15 Jul 2009 | News story
0 Comments | Write a comment

Shell International

Shell starts to sell advanced biofuel

IUCN is pleased to hear that second generation biofuels is being sold at a Shell service station in Canada as part of a month-long demonstration. …  

11 Jun 2009 | News story

Previous