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Applying a Sustainable Development Lens to Global Biomass Potentials

Center for Development Research, University of Bonn, 53113 Bonn, Germany
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Sustainability 2019, 11(18), 5078; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11185078
Received: 30 September 2018 / Revised: 8 July 2019 / Accepted: 15 August 2019 / Published: 17 September 2019
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted by all UN Member States in 2015, guide societies to achieve a better and more sustainable future. Depleting fossil fuels and climate change will strongly increase the demand for biomass, as governments shift towards bioeconomies. Though research has estimated future biomass availability for bioenergetic uses, the implications for sustainable development have hardly been discussed; e.g., how far the estimates account for food security, sustainability and the satisfaction of basic human needs, and what this implies for intragenerational equity. This research addresses the gap through a systematic literature review and our own modeling. It shows that the biomass models insufficiently account for food security; e.g., by modeling future food consumption below current levels. The available biomass, if fairly distributed, can globally replace fossil fuels required for future material needs but hardly any additional energy needs. To satisfy basic human needs, the material use of biomass should, therefore, be prioritized over bioenergy. The different possibilities for biomass allocation and distribution need to be analyzed for their potential negative implications, especially for the poorer regions of the world. Research, society, business and politicians have to address those to ensure the ’leave no one behind´ commitment of the SDGs. View Full-Text
Keywords: biomass scenarios; global biomass; bioenergy; sustainability; food security; basic needs; intragenerational justice; equity; fairness; development biomass scenarios; global biomass; bioenergy; sustainability; food security; basic needs; intragenerational justice; equity; fairness; development
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Beuchelt, T.D.; Nassl, M. Applying a Sustainable Development Lens to Global Biomass Potentials. Sustainability 2019, 11, 5078.

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