FAO Points to Brazil as Example to the World in Bio-Energy

Under the pressure from soaring oil prices and growing environmental constraints, momentum is gathering for a major international switch from fossil fuels to renewable bio-energy sources such as sugar cane or sunflower seeds, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said today, April 25.

"The gradual move away from oil has begun. Over the next 15 to 20 years we may see bio-fuels providing a full 25% of the world’s energy needs," Alexander Müller, the new Assistant Director-General for FAO’ Sustainable Development Department, Alexander Müller, said at the agency’s Rome headquarters.

FAO’s interest in bio-energy stems from the positive impact which energy crops are expected to have on rural economies and the opportunity offered countries to diversify their energy sources.

"At the very least it could mean a new lease of life for commodities such as sugar whose international prices have plummeted," FAO’s Senior Energy Coordinator Gustavo Best noted.

Factors pushing for such a momentous change in the world energy market include environmental constraints such as increased global warming and the Kyoto Protocol’s curbs on emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses as well as a growing perception by governments of the risks of dependence on oil.

"Oil at more than 70 dollars a barrel makes bio-energy potentially more competitive," Mr. Müller said. "Also, in the last decade global environmental concerns and energy consumption patterns have built up pressure to introduce more renewable energy into national energy plans and to reduce reliance on fossil fuels."

FAO highlighted Brazil as an example for the rest of the world. Latin America’s largest country is the world’s biggest producer of bio-ethanol and 1 million Brazilian cars already run on fuel made from sugar cane, with most new cars powered by "flex fuel" engines. Introduced three years ago they use either gasoline or bioethanol, or any mix of the two.

Europe lags well behind Brazil in bio-ethanol production and consumption, but the European Union (EU) has set itself the target of increasing the share of bio-fuels in transport to 8 per cent by 2015. However, if oil prices stay high, things could move even faster, FAO noted.

Europe is already the world’s largest producer of bio-diesel, now made from rapeseed, soya or sunflower seeds.

"The beauty of bio-energy is that production can be tailored to local environments and energy needs," Mr. Best said. "Where there’s land, where there’s farmers, where there’s interest, bio-energy may be the best option. And if we add some sound analysis and good business models, we will get that option right."

But he stressed that FAO was focusing on the likely benefits for small farmers. One hazard is that large-scale promotion of bio-energy relying on intensive cash-crop monocultures could see the sector dominated by a few agro-energy giants, without any significant gains for small farmers.

Mercopress – www.mercopress.com

Tags:

  • Show Comments (0)

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

comment *

  • name *

  • email *

  • website *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Ads

You May Also Like

Brazilian Brokerage Firm Looks Overseas to Fund Farmer Investment Fund

Based in São Paulo, Brazil, Terra Futuros, a brokerage firm which operates in the ...

U.S. Mad Cow Gives Brazil a Boost

Despite being the world’s largest exporter in terms of volume, Brazil lags far behind ...

Why We Failed: Brazil and World Politicians Can’t See Humanity, Only Voters

Everyone knows that the Copenhagen meeting failed in its attempt to impede the climate-change ...

Brazil Industry and Services Shrink in First Quarter

Brazil’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) – the sum of all goods and services produced ...

Brazil Has Shown That ‘Another World Is Possible’

Imagine more than one 150,000 people from one hundred  and thirty five different countries ...

Wall Street and Frankfurt Behind Brazil, Says US Ambassador

The American Ambassador to Brazil, John Danilovich, said today that he views Brazil as ...

More Blacks and Less Whites in Brazil

The distribution of the Brazilian population by color or race presented a slight alteration ...

Thanks to a 50% Hike in Beef Prices Brazil Exports 22% Less and Earns 18% More

From January to August, Brazil's beef exports fell 22% year-on-year to 711,716 tons swt ...

IDB to Hold Its Next Annual Assembly in Brazil

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva received the president of the Inter-American Development ...

Indian Airline Orders Five Jets from Brazil’s Embraer

Embraer announced today at the Paris Air Show that Indian start-up airline Paramount Airways ...