THE BIG BIOFUEL DEBATE RUMBLES ON

By JULIA DAY, STEPS Centre member Biofuels have little impact in cutting greenhouse gas emissions so governments should concentrate instead on lowering energy consumption to fight climate change, according to an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) report published today. Governments should boost the so-called second generation biofuels that do not use food crops,…

ONGOING DISCUSSIONS AT COP-MOP 4

by ADRIAN ELY, STEPS Centre member I am in Bonn this week for meetings around the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, the United Nations’ agreement to regulate the trans-boundary movement of living (genetically) modified organisms. From sensitive political discussions over liability and redress to questions over how to incorporate socio-economic considerations into decision-making, the working procedures…

IAASTD: CONFLICTING VISIONS FOR A HUNGRY PLANET

By JOHN THOMPSON, STEPS Centre member Assessments GaloreIn recent years, global assessments have become the focus of considerable international scientific interest and the mobilisation of vast institutional, technical, human and financial resources. These frequently attempt to combine ‘expert-driven assessment’ with processes of ‘stakeholder engagement’ to address critical issues of major international importance.They are often presented…

STEPS SEMINAR: GLOBAL BIOFUEL CROPS

By JULIA DAY, STEPS Centre member Read the presentation Listen to a podcast of this seminar Introduced by Adrian Smith (40 mins) Helena and Les’ presentation will be posted here soon See photos from this seminar We are excited to have Les Levidow of the Open University and Helena Paul of Econexus, London with us…

CAN SCIENCE HELP SUSTAIN OUR WORLD?

Andy Stirling, the STEPS Centre’s co-director, is a panellist on BBC Radio 4’s Material World programme today. Our planet provides food, water and energy for its 6.6 billion inhabitants. Science helps us maximise the Earth’s resources, but the world’s natural mechanisms are coming under unprecedented strain. The BBC’s Quentin Cooper talks to four scientists –…

FOOD VS FUEL: CHINA’S BIOENERGY CHALLENGE

By ADRIAN ELY, STEPS Centre member A recent spotlight on biofuels on the SciDev.net website gives a detailed overview of research issues, including risks and benefits for developing countries and an article by Siwa Msangi of IFPRI on potential food security impacts from the biofuels “revolution”. Msangi’s article points to the need for international policies…

WILL BALI DELIVER ON CLIMATE CHANGE?

About 190 nations have gathered in Bali today to try and thrash out a new global pact to fight climate change by 2009. Droughts, heatwaves and rising sea levels will inevitably hit the poor hardest and political will to tackle the issue has never been higher.. The Kyoto Protocol covers emission reduction commitments for developed…

BIOFUELLED PATHWAYS TO SUSTAINABILITY?

By ADRIAN SMITH, STEPS Centre member Last week, Achim Steiner, head of UNEP, and one of the sponsors of the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change, joined an increasingly audible group of voices arguing for a system of sustainability standards for biofuels. Without such a system, operating robustly at the international level, Achim feared a backlash…

STARTING WITH THE SEED – BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY, CLIMATE CHANGE AND FOOD SECURITY

By JOHN THOMPSON, STEPS Centre member Each year, the 22nd of May is celebrated as the ‘International Day for Biological Diversity’. This year’s theme has been designated as ‘Biological Diversity and Climate Control’. The links between biodiversity and climate change run both ways: biodiversity is threatened by human-induced climate change but, biodiversity resources can reduce…