18 June 2012 – Today in Milan at the 20th European Biomass Conference and Exhibition this forum attracted an impressive panel of high level speakers including representatives of DG ENER, DG CLIMA, the World Bank, the UN and the EU's chief scientific advisor.
Under the mediation of Il Sole 24 journalist Maurizio Melis, and chaired by Giovanni De Santi from the JRC Institute for Energy and Transport, the hot topic of how to balance the use of land for food and biofuel was debated considering science, finance, politics, food and energy security as well as social issues.
Anne Glover, the EU chief scientific adviser pleaded for "imaginative policy and joined up thinking, in Rio +20; we think too often what's best for me rather than what's best for us. We need to think about smart agriculture and smart fuel production".
Other key conclusions included:
*Biofuels are a complex multifaceted issue therefore there is a need to develop policy by looking closely on a country by country basis, using solid scientific evidence and analysis;
*Policy needs to take into account the scientific evidence that has been extensively produced during the last years;
*Scientists can help transform uncertainty into action, as uncertainty cannot be a reason for inaction;
*There is a need to encourage innovative technologies, such as second and third generation biofuels;
*Policy makers should create a climate in which investments for these technologies should take place;
*Biofuels are not the only renewable energy option, nevertheless, there is a need to consider that some transport modes will heavily rely on biofuels for the short to medium term;
*There is a need to start thinking not only about the solutions that are best for certain countries, Rio + 20 could be a good opportunity to address the global dimension of bioenergy.