UNEP Issue Paper Series

Bringing emerging bioenergy topics into the spotlight

As bioenergy policies are increasingly being adopted by governments, it is important for decision makers to have the most up to date information on the science and debate surrounding modern bioenergy. UNEP is responding to this need by hosting a series of issue papers designed to provide an overview of these critical emerging topics, and outline options towards sustainable production and use of bioenergy.

  • No. 1 - Land Use, Land Use Change and Bioenergy: Land is facing increasing pressure from competing uses, of which bioenergy is one. The enhanced competition for land increases the risk of land use changes, which may lead to negative environmental and socio-economic impacts.

  • No. 2 - Water and Bioenergy: Water is an emerging issue of concern in the area of bioenergy development both in terms of quantity and quality. As a limiting factor, water will undoubtedly affect the level to which bioenergy can contribute to the overall energy mix.

  • No. 3 - Gain or Pain: Biofuels and Invasive Species: Many plant species which are currently being developed or considered for biofuels for their potential efficiency gains are potentially invasive. In the rush to pursue benefits of biofuels, the risk of invasion by species developed or introduced for biofuel production has received little attention.

  • No. 4 - Beyond the Talk: Engaging Stakeholders in Bioenergy Development: It is critical that stakeholder processes are carried out in the right way. There is a lot of global experience to draw from as, over the years, stakeholder engagement processes have developed to ensure that they are engaging, empowering and equitable. The bioenergy sector can learn from these experiences and draw best practice examples that directly apply to the sector.

  • No. 5 - Biofuel Group Certification: Ensuring that Smallholders can Participate in Biofuel Markets: Many smallholders have a difficult time obtaining certification individually due to barriers such as high costs and little implementation support. Group certification of smallholders has been proposed as a solution to both encouraging sustainability in the sector and increasing benefit sharing for farmers.

  • No. 6 -Modern Bioenergy: One of the Game Changers for Achieving Universal Access to Modern Energy Services: Energy empowers people. It enables development and growth. Yet, 20% of the global population still does not have access to electricity; and 40% currently rely on traditional biomass in the form of wood, charcoal or dung for cooking and heating. This paper will examine modern bioenergy as one instrument to ensure universal access to modern energy.

  • No. 7 -Bioenergy and REDD+: Opportunities and Challenges Bioenergy and REDD+ are fundamentally linked through their relationship and demand for land and resources. This paper explores the relationship between the two through the lens of resource use and climate change. A full listing of the references cited in this paper can be found here .