25 April 2006 15:32 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS news)--Biofuels could provide 25% of the world's energy needs over the next 15-20 years due to rising oil prices and growing environmental constraints, a UN food and agriculture organisation (FAO), said on Tuesday.
"The gradual move away from oil has begun," said Alexander Muller, the new assistant director general for FAO's sustainable development department, when announcing the setting up of an International Bioenergy Platform (IBEP) which will provide expertise and advice for governments and companies on bioenergy programmes.
"Oil at more than 70 dollars a barrel makes bioenergy potentially more competitive," he added. "Also, in the last decade global environmental concerns and energy consumption patterns have built up pressure to introduce more renewable energy into national energy plans and reduce reliance on fossil fuels."
A major move away from fossil fuels would have resounding geopolitical repercussions with a broader international base of energy production and sources, the FAO said.
One hazard, the organisation warned, would be that large-scale promotion of bioenergy were to rely on intensive cash-crop monocultures which would see the sector being dominated by a few agri-energy giants.
"But to date no comprehensive attempt has been made to address the complex technical, political and institutional problems involved," it added.
The IBEP will be officially launched at the United Nations headquarters in New York on 9 May.
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