Welcome to the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC)'s Youth Advisory Panel (YAP)'s blog. The DECC YAP is a group of young people aged between 15 and 25 from all over the UK, with a wide-range of backgrounds, from academia to activism.

Our aim is to inform everyone and anyone about DECC's activities and likewise to help DECC understand and take into account the concerns of young people. We are a medium of consultancy and conversation. Much of our work looks at finding a 'Pathway to 2050', reviewing how energy with be supplied and used in the next four decades, so follow us and join us on the journey!

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Youth Panel Makes Recommendations on Bioenergy for Upcoming DECC Strategy

At the end of October, members of the youth panel got together to respond to the latest government consultation on Bioenergy - renewable energy made from material of recent biological origin derived from plant or animal matter, known as Biomass. By the end of this year DECC aims to publish its framework for the use of Bioenergy, to meet the UK's EU-directed binding target to source 15% of our overall energy from renewable sources by 2020.

There were quite a few issues surrounding various forms of Bioenergy that we were concerned about. So, we put together some top tips to help DECC along in making a sustainable, yet ambitious plan for Bioenergy in the UK. Here is a basic overview of how and why we responded:

The DECC Youth Advisory Panel submission of recommendations for the forthcoming Bioenergy Strategy



The supply chain of bioenergy is extremely complex compared to other renewable energy technologies, so ensuring the sustainability of bioenergy is particularly complicated. Bioenergy does offer significant potential for emissions reductions, however, its inherent connection with the natural environment and livelihoods of vulnerable people means a multitude of potentially damaging, longer-term impacts of bioenergy use (both in the UK and abroad) must be considered.

Concerned primarily with the issues of inter-generational and international justice, the DECC (Department of Energy and Climate Change) Youth Advisory Panel (‘the Panel’) has resolved to put forward its opinion on this subject in advance of the forthcoming Bioenergy Strategy. The Panel have come together to formulate this response: the collective opinions expressed are independent and should not be taken as the views of DECC.

We are concerned that there is currently no mandatory social impact criteria for bioenergy and call for this aspect to be immediately introduced into bioenergy sustainability assessments. Biofuel demand is contributing to increasing food prices globally, which has resulted in wider food insecurity among children and young people, an issue that has not been adequately addressed. Land-use change due to the farming of biofuels, particularly from palm oil, has also had a worrying impact on rainforests and other unique habitats. We are also concerned that, as it stands, bioenergy is often more carbon intensive than perceived by the public, and often not as low-carbon as it has the potential to be. Since the viability of many projects depends on financial support, the panel calls for stricter eligibility criteria for government funding.

The role and purpose of the panel
The Panel has a dual role; the Panel will advise DECC on the thoughts and proposals of young people in the UK whilst also relaying information from DECC out to the wider youth communities and organisations that support the Panel.

Inter-generational equity is a vital component of democratic and responsible governance. The Panel is a body that advises DECC on climate change matters relating to young and future generations, in particular on how the UK will reach its target of an 80% emissions reduction by 2050. The Panel will have the interests of safeguarding their future at the heart of their work, and will ensure that DECC and wider Government proposals made on behalf of young and future generations stand up to scrutiny.

This response builds on work from the Panel’s first report, Energy: How Fair Is It Anyway?, which included a consultation on bioenergy with opinions gauged from youth groups. The response is structured around key issues of concern to the Panel, that are all bound by the themes of inter-generational and international justice...

For the full recommendations, you can read the document here : http://bit.ly/uXPHW3

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