The present and the future of ethanol in the world is being debated in the São Paulo Ethanol Summit 2007. "The New Frontiers of Ethanol – Challenges of Energy in the 21st Century" is the central theme of the meeting, which began yesterday, June 4, at the World Trade Center, in São Paulo.
"Brazil is the leader in production of ethanol and has changed from the country of the future, as many people say, to the country of the present in the sector," stated the former prime minister of Spain, Felipe González, who was one of the speakers in the first panel of the meeting.
The meeting covered matters connected to the production of renewable fuels, concerns with the environment and possible lack of food for the inhabitants of the planet.
According to González, the excessive dependence on renewable energies is a challenge for humanity. "The great producers of fossil fuels are not concerned with diversifying their activities," he said.
The former prime minister of Spain called attention to the problem of non-renewable energy prices due to the supposed future lack of fossil fuels. "It is necessary to observe that the evolution of demand is greater and greater than the production capacity," he said.
He also stated that one of the solutions to this problem would be the implementation of a nuclear energy program or the production of renewable energies. In the case of renewable energies, he mentioned Brazil as one of the main hubs and production models for this alternative.
In Latin America, according to González, energies to solve the problems of development of fossil and renewable fuels are not lacking and, in his evaluation, the production of foods will not be affected if the production of renewable fuels is planned.
"I have noticed a false interest behind critics who say that production of renewable fuels will threaten the production of foods," he concluded.
Roberto Rodrigues, former minister of Agriculture of Brazil and current coordinator of the Agribusiness Center at the Getúlio Vargas Foundation (FGV), stated that the great challenge of the 21st century is energy security, and Brazil has a historic opportunity to cause a revolution in the sector. "For the first time in history, Brazil is not going to be behind anyone. It is the leader of this innovative ethanol project," stated Rodrigues.
According to him, of the ten problems that humanity is going to face in coming years, four will be related to agriculture: energy, water, food and climate change. "Agroenergy provides leverage for development, but it is necessary to promote it," recalled Rodrigues.
And it was exactly about the importance of promotion of the Brazilian project for production of ethanol that the acting President of Brazil, José de Alencar, spoke at the opening of the meeting. "It is this government's mission to spread around the world the importance of replacement of fossil fuels for renewable fuels," he said.
For Alencar, since the beginning of its term in office, the government of Brazil has been working on stimulating the production of ethanol. "President Lula is discussing this matter during his trip to Asia and Europe," he said.
"Brazil has land, water, sun and Embrapa (the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation). For this reason the country can lead this sector of interest to the whole world," he said.
According to Alencar, the Ethanol Summit will contribute to talks about the possibility of biofuels being a new strategy for the planet. "We offer hope to poor countries by joining social development and environmental preservation. Of course this also depends on market opening and the reduction of subsidies granted by some countries," he explained.
The president of the São Paulo Sugar Cane Agroindustry Union (Unica), Eduardo Pereira de Carvalho, spoke about the importance of expanding the debate on the matter. "Instead of meeting, presenting our proposals and applauding ourselves, we want to debate with the society through researchers, thinkers and specialists," explained Carvalho.
Anba – www.anba.com.br