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BioEnergy Future?.. A ‘Fossils Exit-Strategy’ for the World….Leave fossil fuels in the ground!

At the World BioEnergy Association (WBA) Press conference held at COP 22 in Marrakech, Bharadwaj Kummamuru – Project Officer for WBA ~ Biofuels and Bioenergy Projects introduced the panel of speakers who discussed the role of Bioenergy as detailed in the Paris Agreement.

Dr Heinz Kopetz, former WBA president and current WBA Snr Consultant, stated that they see the Paris Agreement as a positive step forward in the global climate policy and that the new 1.5 deg. reduction target of warming is very ambitious and can only be reached if a very straight forward policy is applied in two specific areas, viz; a. better Energy efficiency and b. Strong and rapid push of Renewable Energy – Bioenergy being the most important renewable energy at present, representing 14 out of 18% renewable energy in the final energy consumption equation.
“We believe that we should not be wasting time on detours, i.e. the ‘greening’ of fossil fuels which cannot be done, they should be eradicated and we can only solve the problem if we leave fossil fuels in the ground and replace them with better efficiency and reliable effective renewable energy options”!

Remigijus Lapinskas, current president of the WBA, Lithuania: Renewables and Environment in his opening statement announced their ‘Fossils Exit Strategy’, following on a recent request made by the President of COP for a ‘Common Action’ and better involvement of non-stakeholders in the COP process. One factor that has influenced this strategy is the ongoing increase of CO2 in the atmosphere, reaching 400ppm concentration in 2014, a first in human history and which continues to increase by +- 2ppm/year, with the threshold of 420ppm being regarded as the upper limit to keep temperature increases below 2º C, as per Paris Agreement.
Lapinskas expanded further on the ‘Exit strategy’ and stated that each country globally needs to develop a strategy for the accelerated development of renewable energies, stating in closing, “The world must move towards the goal of 100% renewable energy by 2050 in order to achieve the COP 21 Paris goal.”

Kjell Anderson, Information Officer – Swedish Association pointed to Carbon pricing as the best method to put a cost on fossil carbon emissions according to the “polluter pace principle”, by ‘emission trading’ and/or a carbon tax. He referenced Sweden as a country that had introduced carbon tax in 1991, having been raised several times since, which today is the highest globally at around 130 US dollars per tonne of CO2 emissions, yet despite this, it has not had a negative effect on the economy He explained the country balanced the carbon tax by reducing taxes on labour and income, effectively making a ‘tax switch’, which could be implemented in any country around the world.
Anderson spoke briefly on carbon pricing globally, listing some of the countries who have recently joined the carbon pricing system, and in closing, stated that ‘more countries should follow and that will promote renewable energy, energy efficiency and lower the emissions in a market based efficient way’.

Karin Haara, Executive Director (WBA~Secretariat), cited examples of cities in Europe successfully using Bioenergy and Renewables for the majority of their energy needs. In a study carried out in Europe, research revealed impressive results, e.g. Stockholm, Sweden, all District heating is based on 80% renewables with biomass being the main contributor and their public transport runs on 87% biofuels and in Copenhagen, Denmark, of 1.3 million inhabitants 98% of households use district heating run on bio-energy from wood pellets, wood chips, straw, waste and geothermal energy as well as municipal solid waste (MSW) and offshore wind power for electricity.
Haara gives additional examples of European cities like Ulm, Germany – reduced their carbon emissions by 150 times between 1996 – 2013, Pecs, Hungary (160 000 inhabitants) – heat and electricity run on 100% bioenergy, Paris (2.4 million inhabitants) – mainly geothermal heating with recent switch in 2015 of 495Mw coal plant to pellets.

The only way to achieve the goal of ‘zero carbon emissions by 2050’, would be to abandon fossil fuels and focus on Renewable and Bioenergy technologies, whilst reducing energy consumption and introducing carbon taxes globally, also being essential.

Links:
Energy Use in Sweden
The Important Role of Bioenergy in European countries
Hungary ~ Energy, Water and Waste Management industry.

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