The G20 leaders, on Saturday, launched the Global Biofuel Alliance (GBA) which PM Narendra Modi called a “watershed moment.”
At the launch of the India-led initiative, PM Modi said, “The launch of Global Biofuels Alliance marks a watershed moment in our quest towards sustainability and clean energy. I thank the member nations who have joined this Alliance.”
What is The GBA?
The ‘Global Biofuel Alliance’ or the GBA is a grouping of more than 30 countries and international institutions, formed to facilitate adoption of biofuels, in order to unlock bioenergy access in emerging economies. So far, a total of 19 countries and 12 international organisations have agreed to join the GBA.
Seven of the 19 countries are from the G20, four are among the G20 invitee countries, while eight are neither G20 members nor invitees.
Among the organisations that have joined the alliance are:
Asian Development Bank
World Economic Forum
International Energy Agency
International Energy Forum
International Renewable Energy Agency
International Civil Aviation Organisation
PM Modi launched the GBA in the presence of leaders from the US, Brazil, the UAE, Singapore, Italy, Argentina, Bangladesh, and Mauritius.
Why is This Important?
Biofuels refer to the renewable fuels derived from biomass, meaning biowaste that comes from agricultural, animal, or industrial production. Biofuels are known to be significantly cleaner than conventional fossil fuels.
Climate change and the need to increase the use of alternate fuels that can protect the environment are topics that have been discussed in many global events over the years, with many climate activists urging state leaders to work together to achieve the goal of sustainable energy.
In a statement on Saturday, the government said,
“GBA will support worldwide development and deployment of sustainable biofuels by offering capacity-building exercises across the value chain, technical support for national programs and promoting policy lessons-sharing.”
It added, "It will facilitate mobilizing a virtual marketplace to assist industries, countries, ecosystem players and key stakeholders in mapping demand and supply, as well as connecting technology providers to end users. It will also facilitate development, adoption and implementation of internationally recognized standards, codes, sustainability principles and regulations to incentivize biofuels adoption and trade."
PM Modi emphasised the need for more countries to come together in this endeavour. He said, "Today, the need of the hour is that all countries should work together in the field of fuel blending. Our proposal is to take an initiative at a global level to take ethanol blending in petrol up to 20 percent."
PM Modi went on to add,
“Or alternatively, we could work on developing another blending mix for the greater global good, one that ensures a stable energy supply while also contributing to climate security.”
The White House too released a statement stating that the GBA’s founding members will make efforts to add more countries to the group.
“The Alliance is focused on securing the supply of biofuels, ensuring these biofuels remain affordable and are produced sustainably. Founding members of the Alliance will continue outreach to other countries committed to these shared values with the goal of adding more countries to this effort,” the statement from the White House read.
Since When Has This Been In The Pipeline?
Earlier in February this year, the Modi government had announced that Brazil, India, and the US, as leading biofuel producers and consumers, will work together with other interested countries and agencies to develop the GBA, as per a report in The Indian Express.
The US and Brazil are seen as global leaders in biofuels and account for 52 percent and 30 percent of global ethanol production, respectively.
In July, consultations about the GBA were held on the sidelines of the G20 energy ministers’ meeting in Goa, in which 19 countries had expressed their interest in joining the alliance.
India is the world’s third largest consumer of crude oil. Thus, increasing the use of biofuels is likely to significantly help in reducing the country’s carbon footprint.