FAPESP – Researchers programs FAPESP Bioenergy Research (BIOEN), Biodiversity (BIOTA) and Climate Change Secretariat were invited by the Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (Scope), based at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) , to conduct a Rapid Assessment Process (Rapid Assessment Process, in English) on biofuels and sustainability.
The evaluation will result in a “Summary of policies” containing a series of recommendations from academia, industry, government and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to support decision-making related to biofuels and sustainability by businesses, governments and international institutions associated the United Nations (UN).
“The document should have a big impact and be consulted by governments of various countries interested in producing and using biofuels to fuel their vehicle fleets,” said Glaucia Mendes Souza, professor at the Institute of Chemistry (IQ) at the University of São Paulo (USP ) and a member of the coordination BIOEN, the Agency FAPESP.
According to Souza, who is the first woman to direct a Rapid Assessment Process in the history of Scope, this will be the second assessment on biofuels and sustainability held by the committee, which has produced reports on other topics, such as global environmental change, food security and biodiversity.
The first review, led by researchers at Cornell University, United States, however, was published in June 2009, based on data collected through 2007.
“We intend to do now in this new review an update of the state of the art research on biofuels, because it has been six years since the first report was published and a lot has changed,” he said Souza.
The first report with the collaboration of Luiz Antonio Martinelli and Reynaldo Victoria – both the Center for Nuclear Energy in Agriculture (CENA), USP.
Martinelli has several research projects supported by FAPESP and Victoria is a member of the coordination of FAPESP Research Program on Global Climate Change.
“In a few years, depending on the quality of the science that we have demonstrated, we spectators of the leaders in the global debate on the sustainability of biofuels,” he said Souza.
In order to start the evaluation process, researchers from three research programs by FAPESP and Scope held on 26th February at FAPESP, a joint workshop to describe and identify problems, challenges and share perspectives on the sustainability of biofuels.
In addition to the participating researchers BIOEN, Biota and Climate Change, who lead the production of the report, the event saw the participation of specialists in different aspects of the production of biofuels and bioenergy, from various countries.
Among them, José Goldemberg, a professor at the Institute of Electrotechnics and Energy of USP, Lee Lynd, professor at Dartmouth University, Chris Sommerville, University of Berkeley, and Helena Chum of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, U.S..
Jeremy Woods of Imperial College, UK, Jack Saddler, University of British Columbia, Canada, Andre Faaij, of Utrecht University, Patricia Osseweijer, from Delft University, the Netherlands, and Jon Samseth of Høgskolen i Oslo og Akershus , Norway, also attended the event.
Completed the list of participants Brian Huntley, University of Stellenbosh, South Africa, and Stephen Karekezi, the African Energy Policy Research Network, Kenya – countries that represent the new frontier of expansion of biofuels in the world.
“This group of experts from different regions of the world, representing research institutions with large projects in the area of bioenergy, will help us to guide the formulation of recommendations that will integrate the document and propagate them,” said Souza.
“What recommendations can actually have the effect expected, we must talk about them for years, so they are propagated and implemented,” he said.
Researchers participating in the event, which integrate the scientific committee of the initiative, held a series of meetings to discuss policies for sustainable expansion of biofuel production in the world and the example set by Brazil in this area, among other issues.
The ideas generated during the meetings, as well as information, materials and assessments obtained by the scientific committee of researchers and organizations from different countries, embasarão preparatory chapters, which will be produced over the next few months for preparation of recommendations.
In the first week of December 2013, the scientific committee of the project will meet up at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France, to write the chapters that will be covered in the economic and social cross of biofuel production.
“We will spend one week poring over the more complex issues related to biofuel production, to develop proposals for implementing practical and objective, they really are useful for decision makers of public policy,” said Souza.
The general chapters written by researchers will undergo revision, adaptation and editing before being published in a final volume, with a summary of recommendations, due to be released in 2014.
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