Panel Webinar: Can Biofuels Drive Our Future?

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Panel Webinar: Can Biofuels Drive Our Future?

The purpose of this webinar is to discuss the expectations about the role that biofuels can play in a radical decarbonization of the EU economy, with a focus on the (in)compatibility between what is desirable (desirability criteria) and what is possible (viability and feasibility constraints). The webinar consists of three presentations of 10 min each, followed by a moderated expert panel debate with public interaction. Presentations will be made available in advance through the MAGIC website.

Any questions arising from these presentations or suggestions for panel discussion points can be sent to mario.giampietro[at] or posted in this forum.

More information about the webinar is available here:

Ricardo Vargas ... (not verified)
Questions for discussion

- If Europe would shift from a fossil-based energy towards a biomass-energy solely using local available biomass (dedicated bioenergy crops and agricultural residues), would this mean a pathway to degrowth due to the energy input required to produce bioenergy?

- New approaches and technologies such as agricultural intensification, integrated land use, use of marginal lands, biorefinery technologies, could represent a possibility for the substitution of fossil-based energies by biomass-based energies?

- Could small-scale biofuel production from biomass under a decentralized approach be a possible strategie for the local production, supply and consumption of energy sources?

- What could be good examples of bioenergy systems matching feasibility and viability constraints and meeting desirability criteria at european level?

- From a territorial perspective, how could bioenergy systems be better designed and implemented considering the feasibility, viability and desirability dimensions?

Mario Giampietro (not verified)
5 points "If Europe would Shift" and "questions for discussion"

Thanks for your comments! You raise good points on which we should really reflect. There are two sources of systemic confusion in the debate over biofuels:

(1) a strong ideological dimension: biofuels are sociotechnical imaginaries [] reassuring the society that everything is under control and that "yes we can" become sustainable without the need of going through the "tragedy of change" (we will have to radically change our life style). These sociotechnical imaginaries are enthusistically endorsed both by governments and by regular people willing to avoid to be forced to acknowledge the need of the tragedy of change

(2) the hypocognition generated by the simplistic framing of sustainability issues. When dealing with biofuels you are dealing with a complex analysis of the nexus between food, energy, water, biodiversity, and socio-economic factors. The biofuel issue requires a framing capable of integrating the characterization of relevant factors across different scales and dimensions of analysis. This is not done and as a consequence the discussion of biofuel remained locked-in within a specific epistemic box associated with a few justification narratives, normative narratives that are no longer checked in relation to theuir validity. To make things worse, these epistemic boxes often have been selected because of the interest of some powerful actors.

Hope that we will be able todiscuss these points on Monday.

PLEASE NOTE that the presentations of the speakers are now available in the website -