For UN, Brazil’s Biofuel Model is a Win, Win, Win Strategy

Brazilian biofuel Brazil's experience on biofuels development strategy is considered to be a model . This according to the adjunct secretary general of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad), Laksmi Puri, relater of plenary Biofuels and International Market: commercial rules, technical issues and social-environmental standards, held November 19 in the city of São Paulo.

"We analyzed the Brazilian model so as to see in which countries it might be reproduced. The use of biofuels as we imagine it is a win, win, win strategy. The environment wins, the commerce wins, and development wins too," said Puri.

The biofuels sector, according to Puri, is a great opportunity, because it is new and dynamic. "What we are doing is try and help developing countries. We help nations to choose the correct model, and all of that needs to go hand in hand with food security," he said.

According to the relater, the commercial system must be open. "The rules and policies of the WTO (World Trade Organization) are still too local. There must also be a revision of taxes on some markets, as well as the issue of subsidies, which lead to an even greater imbalance between wealthy nations and developing ones," she said.

"Agroenergy and biofuels represent a shift in paradigms, a coming together of different people, setting new guidelines for sustainable development and peace promotion," said Roberto Rodrigues, president of the Superior Agribusiness Council at the Federation of Industries of the State of São Paulo (Fiesp) and former Brazilian minister of Agriculture.

According to Rodrigues, there is a widespread consensus regarding the need for seeking understanding among those interested in production of biofuel, which is not a commodity yet, therefore has no international pricing.

"The whole issue involves various aspects. It has to do with institutional models, technology, mandatory mixing of ethanol, and it also involves the logistical and infrastructure issue, as well as tariff-related issues," he said.

Global Warming

"Global warming is a general concern. We must discuss the problem to the maximum. We are holding meetings in Brazil and in South America seeking sustainability standards, with more jobs, more opportunities. We are developing standards for biofuels production with all of the known players involved," said Charlotte Opal, head of secretariat for the Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels of the Lausanne Federal Polytechnics School, in Switzerland.

To the president at the São Paulo Sugarcane Agroindustry Union (Unica), Marcos Jank, the world currently faces two problems: oil scarcity and global warming.

"Presently, there are over 50 forums discussing biofuels around the world. The matter is so present because it stands on social, environmental and economic pillars," said Jank.

"We have people working in the United States and in Brussels. We have developed folders and ads in newspapers and magazines. We receive approximately 340 requests for interviews a day. The new thing is that Europe and the United States have decided to invest in the segment," he said.

With regard to the rules for trade, Corrado Clini, director general for Research and Development at the Ministry of Environment of Italy, claimed that we must use the rationale of global warming, of climate change, so as to change the rules of the WTO concerning biofuels.

According to him, it is still difficult to introduce bioenergy into a national conference. "And this is not just a matter of information, it is a political issue," he said.

As to sustainability, Clini claimed that consensus must be reached in order for a global market to be built. "It takes a global movement for lands to be used in a way that will reduce CO2 emissions. I hope that the European Union and Brazil will be able to create a common market in which to work. We are unable to meet the goal of 10% reduction by 2020 and we are going to need to import. That is good news to Brazil," he ensured.

The International Conference on Biofuels started last Monday, November 17, and will close this Friday (November 21) at the Hyatt Hotel, in the city of São Paulo.

Delegations from 92 countries participated, and approximately 3,000 have enrolled in order to watch the debates. The meeting is a contribution to the international discussion on the challenges and opportunities posed by biofuels, and is an important occasion for approaching, in an objective manner, issues pertaining to biofuels, such as energy security, sustainable production and use, agriculture, industrial processing, as well as issues pertaining to specifications and technical standards, international trade, climate change and the future of biofuels.

The meeting is attended by government officials, international organizations, parliament members, the scientific and academic community, the civil society and NGOs, among others. All of the UN member countries were invited.

The conference was organized by the Interministerial Working Group, integrated by the Ministry of Foreign Relations; the Chief of Staff of the Presidential Administration; the Ministry of Mines and Energy; the Ministry of Agriculture; the Ministry of Environment; the Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade; the Ministry of Science and Technology, and the Ministry of Agrarian Development.




  • Show Comments (8)

  • Falupa

    Exactly. This biofuel is just a theory. There is no proof it has actually worked before or that it will. There is still much discretion over whether or not this model will be able to produce the fuels that we are looking for. It is also a terrible alternative. It might be a renewable energy, unfortunately it is something that is going to take a significant hurt on most sugar producers in the region. It will create a drastic shortage on supply and possibly hurt the economy.

  • The cure for Ch C

    then what is the solution?
    Ok, FAB, you seem to have intimate knowledge of the problems of the sugar cane production.

    I am an environmentalist so I am sad to hear of all the problems the cane production is causing. I’ll yield to you on this subject.

    So are you suggesting the solution is to use the land for growing food? I would not disagree with that. How to make this happen? Would the cane workers then be given jobs farming for better pay? Is there any way to have sugar cane production without massive pollution?

    I am not here to say everything going on in Brazil is good…only and idiot would say that. My main reason for speaking here is to combat the stream of endless negatively from Ch C.

    Just as believing everything going on in Brazil is good would make someone an idiot, believing everything going on in Brazil is bad would make someone an idiot…no names needed here.

  • forrest allen brown

    The cure for Ch C,

    i hold land in the state of PB&PE

    and asking a person to cut and carry 12 tons of cane a week for the money 300 reals a month
    is not much more than slavery.

    and when they burn the fields fo days you cant even drive from JP to recife
    the local hospitals and clinics fill up with people that have lung isius.

    and the streams , river and even the ocean get part of the black suit

    the poulition from the fields are killing local fish , anmials ,birds , and showing up in the
    food chain of the workers and in toxins in the bodies NOT just the workers but there kids also.

    the large cane growers have even sent pople from IBAMA to my land to make me open my land to them for cain growing instead of
    food stuffs and and live stock
    and to let them take water from my lakes i grow fish in

    we are in court as we speak
    them with there assocation
    me with the local doctors , bigilost, and cemist
    proving there way is killing any hope of doing good
    for the npeople and the land

  • The cure for Ch C

    where does ch c get his ridiculous facts?
    Brazil is 16th on the list of highest polluters by country. If you want to break it down PER CAPITA, then it ranks 3rd. What’s more important, total emissions or per capita?

    I have lived in the Northeast where there are large number of sugar cane fields. Why don’t you fly over there and ask some of the workers if they are deplored at their conditions or just happy to have a job?

    Naturally it would seem to be slave like wages to those of us from Developed Nations…but Ch c always seems to forget that Brazil is a DEVELOPING nation. They can’t go from no jobs to an equal standard of living of the rich nations overnight.

    Having lived there on and off during the past three years I can tell you from a first person perspective that things are exponentially better than they were when I first arrived and that every person I have met says things have changed radically for the better in the time of Lula’s presidency…do you ever wonder why he has such a high approval rating that would never exist in any developed nation?

    I’m not naive enough to believe that there isn’t corruption in the administration or that Lula probably doesn’t know about it. I also know that part of it is good timing on Lula’s part to be in office during this period. However, you have to look at what is more important. Would you take corruption in politics if it improved the lives of millions of poor Brazilians???

    Crime has decreased, the middle-class has grown greatly and poverty has been reduced with help from the Bolsa Familia Program, government housing and the economy in general.

    I’ve been in favelas. My wife teaches children in poor areas whose families have benefited from the Bolsa Familia.

    What do you REALLY know about Brazil CH C? Basically, nothing.

  • FAndrade

    It works!
    I only have one comment to make regarding ethanol as an alternative to carbon fuel. It works!
    Brazil has been using ethanol for decades and it has worked for us. Many European and Asian countries are signing agreements to import Brazilian ethanol and some are establishing mandates on a percent of ethanol per gallon of gas. Sadly the US has unfair tariffs and strongly campaigns against it. Looking at recent developments it is easy to predict that the US is going to be isolated in this issue. Obama is a supporter of corn ethanol and for the time being, Americans will just continue to drive their big cars and continue to pollute the world while blaming China and other emerging countries for trying to develop and reduce poverty.

  • Brian J. Donovan

    Why the Ethanol Import Tariff Should be Repealed
    Why the Ethanol Import Tariff Should be Repealed

    Repeal Would Enable Ethanol Demand to Move Beyond Being Just a Blending Component
    in Gasoline to a Truer Transportation Fuel Alternative

    The question is whether the 54 cents per gallon tariff the United States places on imported ethanol should be eliminated when:
    (a) U.S. farm acreage is being diverted from the production of food crops to energy crops and record high corn prices are impacting the agriculture, food and beverage industries;
    (b) American families and businesses are paying record high prices for fuel;
    (c) U.S. oil companies are using ethanol merely as a blending component in gasoline rather than a true alternative transportation fuel;
    (d) The renewable fuels standard (À¢€œRFSÀ¢€Â) requires that gasoline sold in the United States contains a renewable fuel, such as ethanol, and the expanded RFS specifically requires the use of an increasing amount of À¢€œadvanced biofuelsÀ¢€Â – biofuels produced from feedstocks other than corn; and
    (e) U.S. oil companies, due to a loophole in the Caribbean Basin Initiative, are currently allowed to import thousands of barrels of ethanol every month without having to pay the 54 cents per gallon tariff.

    The Ethanol Import Tariff should be repealed for the following reasons:
    (a) Record prices for gasoline are increasing the costs of producing, transporting, and processing food products. Research shows that energy prices are quickly passed through to higher retail food prices, with retail prices rising 0.52 percent in the short-term for every 1 percent rise in energy prices. As a result, a 10 percent gain in energy prices could contribute 5.2 percent to retail food prices.

    (b) Imported petroleum does not pay a tariff, yet clean, renewable ethanol from our own hemisphere is assessed a 54 cent-per-gallon tariff.

    (c) Elimination of the ethanol import tariff would provide the U.S. with sufficient ethanol to move ethanol demand beyond being just a blending component in gasoline to a truer fuel alternative and create the required fueling infrastructure.

    (d) The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 sets a new RFS that starts at 9.0 billion gallons of renewable fuel in 2008 and rises to 36 billion gallons by 2022. Of the latter total, 21 billion gallons of renewable fuel in U.S. transportation fuel is required to be obtained from renewable fuel, other than ethanol derived from corn.

    (e) U.S. oil companies, due to a loophole in the CBI, are currently allowed to import thousands of barrels of ethanol every month without having to pay the 54 cents per gallon tariff.

    At a time of record high gas prices, repeal of the 54 cents per gallon import tariff on foreign ethanol would create market competition by allowing U.S. blenders to purchase cheaper ethanol from foreign sources, which could help lower gas prices, increase the supply of ethanol to coastal markets, and ease the economic strain that is impacting the agriculture, food and beverage industries.

    U.S. oil companies, corn farmers and fertilizer producers are benefiting from the 54 cents per gallon import tariff on foreign ethanol at the expense of the average American consumer. At a time when our own governmentˢ۪s Federal Reserve Chairman is saying food inflation and fuel costs are contributing to our dangerous economic condition, working toward eliminating this barrier to free market competition is more needed than ever.

    Please feel free to visit the Renergie weblog ( for more information.

  • Robert Pritchett

    Doing it for the right reasons – Global Warming isn’t it
    I laud the efforts of Brazil in being self-sustaining, but citing Global Warming as a reason is bunk.

    Is anybody paying attention to Global Cooling?

  • ch.c.

    Ohhh yessssss !
    “Brazil’s experience on biofuels development strategy is considered to be a model “
    Yessssss…it creates a lot of jobs….sugarcane cutters !
    A win, win, win strategy.

    And about the “social-environmental standards”
    Sure such as the Standards Wages for these sugarcane cutters, slaves alike working conditions, and the annual fields burning creating a lot of carbon dioxine !

    Did you know that due to your fields burnings and deforestation BRAZIL IS THE WORLD 4TH MOST POLLUTING COUNTRY ?

    “Indonesia and Brazil respectively are the world’s third- and fourth-largest emitters of greenhouse gases after China and the U.S., the World Bank has said.”

    And WHO is targeted for pollution by the filthy Robin the Crook ? Hmmmmmm


    SIMPLE !

    But the guilty ones remains of course….the developed nations….in your view !

    SO WRONG !

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