G8 and biofuels
Biofuels have been addressed by the Group of Eight (G8) leaders starting in 2007.
2008 G8 Summit
The 2008 G8 Summit, held 7-9 July 2008 at Toyako, Hokkaido, Japan, occurred at a time when biofuels had become a global controversy, especially due to their alleged contribution to increased food prices.
- Immediately prior to the Summit, UK's The Guardian newspaper reported that a report by the World Bank had concluded that biofuels were responsible for 75% of the recent rise in food prices. (Source: Secret report: biofuel caused food crisis)
- NGOs used the occasion of the Summit to call on world leaders to abandon policies promoting biofuels. (An example is the ActionAid press release, "Three nails in the coffin: the G8’s contribution to the global food crisis".)
2007 G8 Summit
In the section on transportation, the declaration emphasized:
- the need to increase the energy efficiency of vehicles and reduce their carbon emissions;
- fuel diversification, including through the development of cellulosic biofuels;
- development of international biofuel "quality standards," which the declaration apparently indicates should include sustainability criteria, particularly concerning land use in developing countries;
- thekey role of the Global Bioenergy Partnership (GBEP) with regard to biofuel best practices.
The following is the relevant excerpt from the official Summit Declaration, "Growth and Responsibility in the World Economy":
2007 Summit Declaration Excerpt
- work to increase energy efficiency in the transport sector. To this end we will ask our governments to foster a large number of possible measures and various instruments that can clearly reduce energy demand and CO2 emissions in the transport sector, including inter alia innovative engine concepts, alternative fuels, city planning measures, public transport, best possible inter-linkage of transport methods, increase the share of alternative fuels and energy carriers (biofuels, hydrogen, LPG/CNG, electricity, hybrid, etc.) in total fuel consumption; fuel diversification, for example synthetic and cellulosic biofuels and CO2-free hydrogen, particularly in combination with the fuel cell, will be decisive in reducing transport CO2 emissions, provided that second generation biofuel technologies become commercially available,
- step up coordination on development of international biofuel quality standards from various feedstocks to achieve optimal interoperability and emission profiles,
- avoid possible negative side-effects in biofuel development, particularly in developing countries in order to prevent competition between different forms of land uses, and promote sustainability in biomass cultivation. We invite the Global Bioenergy Partnership (GBEP) to continue its work on biofuel best practices and take forward the successful and sustainable development of bioenergy,
- monitor the implementation of the necessary measures and discuss progress at two-year intervals during the Environmentally Friendly Vehicles Conference the results of which shall be reported to G8-leaders,
- introduce energy efficiency labels for new cars along the lines of those already on some white goods.
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