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Bioenergy needs to grow to achieve Global Climate and Development Goals

Bioenergy needs to grow to achieve Global Climate and Development Goals

A joint statement by IRENA and international partners highlights bioenergy’s crucial role in the fight against climate change. By decarbonizing tough sectors, supporting renewables, and enhancing energy resilience, bioenergy is key to limit global warming. Beyond its role in achieving climate goals, bioenergy supports development goals by boosting energy security, rural development, job creation, and poverty eradication. 


To limit global warming to 1.5°C, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) forecasts that bioenergy will have to almost triple its share of the total final energy consumption (TPEC) by 2050, passing from its current 7% to over 18%.


We must be realistic – our decarbonisation targets cannot be met without sustainable bioenergy, especially in hard-to-abate sectors. We need bioenergy to achieve net zero, and only good governance can ensure its sustainable use and practice.” – declared Roland Roesch, IRENA”s Director for Innovation and Technology Centre.


To raise awareness on sustainable bioenergy’s critical role in the global energy transition, IRENA has issued a joint statement alongside the Clean Energy Ministerial Biofuture Platform Initiative, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the International Energy Agency (IEA), the IEA Bioenergy Technology Collaboration Programme, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, the United Nations Development Programme, and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization. The statement was developed by a Cross-Initiative Coordination Group on Bioenergy and convened by the Global Bioenergy Partnership. It seeks to address the persistent debates about what role bioenergy should play in support of climate and development goals.

Biomass and its bioenergy derivatives are versatile, storable and dispatchable; they can replace fossil energy and complement variable renewables and other low-carbon options in transport, power and heat production, industrial processes and clean cooking, thereby enhancing resilience in the energy system. Apart from mitigating global warming, sustainable bioenergy can contribute to energy security, clean energy access, rural development, increased agricultural productivity, improved farmer incomes, job creation, gender equality, responsible industrial development, poverty eradication, and climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies.


Through good governance, bioenergy – as part of the greater bioeconomy – can contribute to addressing risks related to land and resource use, food security, natural ecosystems, and carbon stocks, while promoting equity, justice, and economic competitiveness. Bioenergy Europe has put together a series of recommendations for the new leadership of the European Union to unleash the sector’s potential and push forward the energy transition.