Ethanol and Hydropower Put Brazil on the Right Side of Development, Says UN

Innovative energy technologies and policies have placed Brazil in a good position to realize many of its sustainable development goals, a new United Nations report found.

The study, "Brazil: A Country Profile on Sustainable Energy Development", was conducted by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in cooperation with the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs and two Brazilian research organizations, COPPE of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and CENBIO of the University of São Paulo.

The report found that atmospheric emissions from the energy supply in Brazil are relatively low compared with those of other countries with a similar energy demand, due in large part to Brazil’s ethanol program for biotransport fuels and because of the high share of hydropower.

"Brazil is generally heading in the right direction for realizing many of its sustainable development goals", the report concluded, and added that the country now has "an excellent opportunity to ‘leapfrog’ to higher levels of sustainable development". 

Still, the report found that air pollution levels in major cities were unacceptably high and that more needed to be done to increase access by the poor to electricity.

The study, a first-of-a-kind publication, presents a novel approach for the comprehensive assessment of national energy systems within a sustainable development context. 

The framework, systematic approach and guidelines proposed in this study represent an attempt to move forward with the practical implementation of effective mechanisms that permit incorporation of sustainable development concepts. 

At the same time, the study considered the sustainable development criteria and goals defined by Brazilian experts.

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