Using fossil fuels to provide transport, power industries, agriculture and cities threatens the climate with anticipated consequences for ecosystems, the economy and society as a whole. Yet access to energy improves lives and is necessary for social development. This is especially important for less developed regions in Africa and Latin America, but also to maintain the standard of living in developed countries. This leads to big questions. Can we replace oil, coal and natural gas while also providing an economically strong base from which to grow Can a renewable energy option provide for energy and food security, be environmentally sound, promote economic development and also be affordable and politically viable in developing regions? This policy brief sets out some of the ways that bioenergy could help answer these questions.