Green­ing wood en­ergy Key to mit­i­gate Cli­mate change and im­prov­ing and im­prov­ing ru­ral liveli­hoods

Green­ing the wood en­ergy sec­tor holds a vast po­ten­tial for re­duc­ing global green­house gas emis­sions and im­prov­ing ru­ral liveli­hoods

Rural & Marketing - - CLEAN ENERGY -

Green­ing the wood en­ergy sec­tor holds a vast po­ten­tial for re­duc­ing global green­house gas emis­sions and im­prov­ing ru­ral liveli­hoods, Food and Agri­cul­ture Or­ga­ni­za­tion of the United Na­tions (FAO) said in Rome on the oc­ca­sion of the UN's In­ter­na­tional Day of Forests re­cently.

Up to seven per­cent of global green­house gas emis­sions caused by hu­mans come from the pro­duc­tion and use of fu­el­wood and char­coal. This hap­pens largely due to un­sus­tain­able for­est man­age­ment and in­ef­fi­cient char­coal man­u­fac­ture and fu­el­wood com­bus­tion, ac­cord­ing to a new FAO re­port.

Re­fer­ring to this year's theme "Forests and En­ergy", FAO Di­rec­tor­Gen­eral José Graziano da Silva noted that "for more than two bil­lion peo­ple world­wide, wood fuel means a cooked meal, boiled wa­ter for safe drink­ing, and a warm dwelling."

"This is es­pe­cially im­por­tant for poor peo­ple in ru­ral ar­eas of de­vel­op­ing coun­tries, where wood is of­ten the only en­ergy source avail­able," he said at the In­ter­na­tional Day of Forests cer­e­mony in Rome.

How­ever, he warned that much of the cur­rent pro­duc­tion of wood fuel is un­sus­tain­able, con­tribut­ing sig­nif­i­cantly to the degra­da­tion of forests and soils and the emis­sion of green­house gases in the at­mos­phere. "In many re­gions the con­ver­sion to char­coal is of­ten done us­ing rudi­men­tary and pol­lut­ing meth­ods," he said, urg­ing coun­tries to re­v­erse these negative trends in wood en­ergy pro­duc­tion and use.

"We need, for in­stance, to adopt im­proved tech­nolo­gies for en­ergy con­ver­sion," Graziano da Silva said, adding that FAO is par­tic­i­pat­ing in sev­eral pro­grammes to de­liver fuel-ef­fi­cient stoves, es­pe­cially for poor peo­ple in Latin Amer­ica and Africa. As an ex­am­ple, he cited a project in South Su­dan where FAO and part­ners have al­ready dis­trib­uted more than 30,000 im­proved stoves.

He con­cluded by say­ing that

"en­sur­ing ac­cess to af­ford­able, re­li­able, sus­tain­able and mod­ern en­ergy is one of the 17 Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals" and that it is " fun­da­men­tal for ad­dress­ing the im­pacts of cli­mate change and elim­i­nat­ing ex­treme poverty and hunger".

In his open­ing re­marks at the cer­e­mony, Pres­i­dent of Fiji Jioji Konousi Kon­rote said: "We need to turn our at­ten­tion to scal­ing up the trans­fer of re­new­able en­ergy tech­nolo­gies, par­tic­u­larly for for­est biomass in or­der to en­sure that de­vel­op­ing coun­tries are mak­ing use of these tech­nolo­gies and keep pace with grow­ing en­ergy de­mands in a sus­tain­able man­ner. Only then can de­vel­op­ing coun­tries re­duce the use of fos­sil fuel and do their part in con­tribut­ing to a bet­ter cleaner en­vi­ron­ment by re­duc­ing their lev­els of car­bon emis­sions".

"It is vi­tal that every­one from the public and private sec­tors, academia, en­gi­neers, re­searchers, pol­icy-mak­ers, plan­ners and fund­ing in­sti­tu­tions co­or­di­nate their ef­forts and work with each other to in­crease the con­tri­bu­tion of forests in the mix of global re­new­able en­ergy sup­plies," he added.

The gov­ern­ment of Fiji is poised to as­sume the pres­i­dency of the next Con­fer­ence of Par­ties of the UN Cli­mate Agree­ment that will take place in Bonn, Ger­many, in Novem­ber.

Un­sus­tain­able char­coal pro­duc­tion among driv­ers of cli­mate change

More than 2.4 bil­lion peo­ple - about one-third of the world's pop­u­la­tion - still rely on the tra­di­tional use of wood­fuel for cook­ing, and many small en­ter­prises use fu­el­wood and char­coal as the main en­ergy car­ri­ers for var­i­ous pur­poses such as bak­ing, tea pro­cess­ing and brick­mak­ing. Of all the wood used as fuel world­wide, about 17 per­cent is con­verted to char­coal, ac­cord­ing to the re­port.

When char­coal is pro­duced, us­ing in­ef­fi­cient tech­nolo­gies and un­sus­tain­able re­sources, the emis­sion of green­house gas can be as high as 9 kg car­bon diox­ide equiv­a­lent per 1 kg char­coal pro­duced.

The re­port high­lights that in the ab­sence of re­al­is­tic and re­new­able al­ter­na­tives to char­coal in the near fu­ture, in par­tic­u­lar, in sub-Sa­ha­ran Africa, South­east Asia and South Amer­ica, green­ing the char­coal value chain and ap­ply­ing sus­tain­able for­est man­age­ment prac­tices are es­sen­tial for mit­i­gat­ing cli­mate change while main­tain­ing the ac­cess of house­holds to re­new­able en­ergy.

Green­ing the char­coal value chain

Chang­ing the way wood is sourced and char­coal is made of­fers a high po­ten­tial for re­duc­ing green­house gas emis­sions. A shift from tra­di­tional kilns or fur­naces to highly ef­fi­cient mod­ern kilns could re­duce green­house gas emis­sions by 80 per­cent. At the end-use level, a tran­si­tion from tra­di­tional stoves to im­proved stoves could re­duce emis­sions by around 60 per­cent.

Fur­ther ef­fi­cien­cies can be gained by re­duc­ing char­coal waste, for ex­am­ple, by trans­form­ing char­coal dust into bri­quettes.

The re­port ar­gues that although the tran­si­tion from un­sus­tain­able to sus­tain­able sourc­ing can im­pose costs on the char­coal value chain, a greener char­coal sec­tor would have a pos­i­tive eco­nomic impact.

A cost-ben­e­fit anal­y­sis in Kenya, for ex­am­ple, es­ti­mated that a tran­si­tion to ef­fi­cient char­coal pro­duc­tion would re­quire an in­vest­ment of US$ 15.6 mil­lion per year ex­clud­ing upfront costs. On the other hand, it would gen­er­ate US$ 20.7 mil­lion in ben­e­fits.

In ad­di­tion, de­mand for sus­tain­able char­coal pro­duc­tion can pro­vide op­por­tu­ni­ties for af­foresta­tion and re­for­esta­tion. And pro­vid­ing lo­cal peo­ple with greater ten­ure se­cu­rity can in­crease their will­ing­ness and abil­ity to in­vest in sus­tain­able ap­proaches.

Cre­at­ing an en­abling en­vi­ron­ment for change

The re­port calls on na­tional gov­ern­ments to cre­ate an en­abling po­lit­i­cal en­vi­ron­ment and an at­trac­tive in­vest­ment cli­mate for tran­si­tion to a greener char­coal sec­tor.

In ad­di­tion, im­proved for­est law en­force­ment and gov­er­nance can help in­crease gov­ern­ment rev­enue col­lec­tion and in­vest­ments in sus­tain­able for­est man­age­ment and ef­fi­cient wood con­ver­sion tech­nolo­gies.

For more than two bil­lion peo­ple world­wide, wood fuel means a cooked meal, boiled wa­ter for safe drink­ing, and a warm dwelling. This is es­pe­cially im­por­tant for poor peo­ple in ru­ral ar­eas of de­vel­op­ing coun­tries, where wood is of­ten the only en­ergy source avail­able

José Graziano da Silva Direc­tor-Gen­eral, FAO

APRIL 2017 www.ru­ral­mar­ket­ing.in­www. ru­ral­mar­ket­ing. in

www.ru­ral­mar­ket­ing.in­www. ru­ral­mar­ket­ing. in APRIL 2017

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