Brazil Tries to Convince World that Biofuels Won’t Cause Hunger

Biofuel in Brazil Will Brazil be able to persuade about 30 Latin American and Caribbean countries that biofuels production is not a threat to food security in the region? According to the minister of Agrarian Development, Guilherme Cassel, that's what Brazil will try to accomplish.

Brazilians will raise the issue during the 30th Regional Conference of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to be held from the 14th to the 18th of this month in the Brazilian capital Brasí­lia.

"We want to make a point that it is important, not just for Brazil but for the entire world, to develop biofuels policies. We also want to reassert what President Lula has claimed, that it does not necessarily compete with food production. Yes, it is possible to produce biofuel and food," said Cassel during a press conference about the FAO meeting.

One of the four discussion sections, which take place every two years and sets the priorities for FAO action, should tackle the opportunities offered and the challenges posed by bioenergy. According to José Graziano, director at FAO for Latin America and the Caribbean, a consensus has not yet been reached with regard to biofuels production.

"It is a very controversial subject, opinions diverge in Latin American countries," admits the former minister extraordinaire for Food Security and Hunger Combat.

He recognizes that biofuel production using corn in the United States affects Caribbean and Central American countries, which import large amounts of North American corn for animal feed. But he believes that biofuels may also represent a development opportunity to many countries.

"There is this situation and this conflict. But there is also the recognition, by the FAO, of the fact that this is an opportunity of planting fuel, of being able to replace oil, which is selling for US$ 100 per barrel," he asserts, citing countries such as Cuba, Chile and Uruguay, which import 100% of the power they consume.

"Producing energy is a new possibility, and it creates opportunities for farmers to have an alternate source of income," he says.



  • Show Comments (10)

  • jon

    The US is far from being done with hydrcarbons, ethanol is a flirtation for them and the “the bakken oil formation” and if proven, their interest in ethanol from corn will dissipate as they may be assured of a safe, domestic supply of oil..already being supplied from the oil sands in neighbouring Alberta

  • eh

    I for one would prefer nuclear power plants at constant 90% capacity, and aluminum water based fuel cells, but we all know it’s just not going to happen. It’s not a question of Brazil producing ethanol for the whole world, but having the intention of at least trying to advert climate change, bringing agriculture to new places, irrigating the Sahara for all we know, doing something positive with those 100 dollars per barrel, instead of financing corporate speculation. Perhaps the food prices are sky rocketing because of how much modern agriculture is dependent on oil, I don’t believe the truly poor can be affected by global market prices, and forcing a population exodus away from cities should be viewed in a positive light.

  • João da Silva

    [quote]I mean, as if that was the technological leap of the century, wow, there’s no voodoo here kids, it’s just ethanol, to use it in your car you only need to increase the fuel intake mixing ratio. Likewise, the modifications for using pure vegetable oil in a Diesel engine can be done by any kid who knows how to handle a screwdriver, vegetable oil to biodiesel conversion can be made by any 1st year chemistry engineer.[/quote]

    That was a succinct lecture and thanks! Many in this blog including myself have already commented that Brazilian Military government decided in late 70s after the first oil “shock” to develop an alternative fuel so as not to be dependent on OPEC countries.The decision was strategic, as Brazil was not self sufficient in oil and we had to pay a hefty price. The production of ethanol was subsidized when the program was inaugurated. If I recall correctly, the Ford Motors do Brasil launched first a car that was run on ehtanol. A team of Brazilian and American engineers sat together and designed a carburettor to adjust correctly the fuel intake ratio,but also to add an extra inlet to take in gasoline that was squirted into the carburettor to start the engine on a cold day. That car had a plastic tank that carried around 1 1/2 liters of gasoline and it was placed under the hood.It was a simple but highly functional design. The car was launched in 1980 and I used to own one and the mileage was something around 13 KMs/Liter. I still remember that the cars manufactured by neither VW nor GM (Of Brazil) came nowhere near the one launched by Ford in terms of comfort, mileage or low cost maintenance.

    [quote]Seriously, go take a physics class you didn’t in high school, perhaps someday you will understand why ethanol from corn is NOT COMPETITIVE.[/quote]

    I am against using corn as well as sugarcane to produce ethanol to fuel the cars. Especially , when the prices of food items are sky rocketing on the planet.Fine, we have a huge cultivable land mass but we should use it to feed our people and rest of the world.Unfortunately, we are trying to fuel the vehicles and feed the people in rest of the world at the expenses of domestic consumers!

  • eh

    Ethanol from corn for biofuels is and will remain a very stupid thing to do. Now if you understood anything from engineering , you would understand that ethanol from sugar cane and corn have different properties and purity levels, and you would know that while the US doesn’t have any biofuels policies, it still uses a sizable quantity of ethanol in industry. Now soy is constantly used as vegetable oil, I’m not sure what your criticism is about. Who knows where you found Brazilians who believed the flex fuel fuel mixer was developed by Brazilian engineers, but then again, the only issue was finding a cheap and easy way to measure the quantities of ethanol and gasoline in the mixture, which could have been discovered in any university in the world, perhaps by luck, the rest was pretty straight forward, everyday engineering, which perhaps was done by Brazilians engineers that work for Bosch. I mean, as if that was the technological leap of the century, wow, there’s no voodoo here kids, it’s just ethanol, to use it in your car you only need to increase the fuel intake mixing ratio. Likewise, the modifications for using pure vegetable oil in a Diesel engine can be done by any kid who knows how to handle a screwdriver, vegetable oil to biodiesel conversion can be made by any 1st year chemistry engineer. The only reason USA choses to kill for oil, instead of developing alternatives or drilling for deep sea oil, is because it is of profitable, do you really expect the rest of the world to stand up and applaud? Seriously, go take a physics class you didn’t in high school, perhaps someday you will understand why ethanol from corn is NOT COMPETITIVE.

  • DU 48

    chc -before he chokes on his last laugh
    chc does, from time to time, make some imformative comments but he does himself no credit at all by painting all Brazilians with the same brush, as in his ‘what a bunch of liars and junkies Brazilians are’.
    Dishonesty, corruption and despair exist everywhere, Brazil included – but after all, many of these ‘dubious’ values and human excesses have been imported especially from the old world – and have, of course, flourished.
    Brazil has had to go through many changes in a very short period of time – something that is often forgotten.
    That is why perhaps it is particularly Brazil’s task to bring about the changes needed to transform the social, political and economic life -by tapping into the vast cultural and human resources available and promoting what is sometimes called ethical individualism.

  • ch.c.

    “Brasil passou a ser o quarto paÀƒ­s do mundo em emissÀƒ£o de gases de efeito estufa”
    And guess what :

    Brazilians crooks expect to receive…..CARBON CREDITS…..from developed nations !!!!!!!!!!!!

    Just another Brazilian scam trying to get money through lies..

    You were against the USA ethanol from corn…but guess what :
    Brazil is increasing its bio diesel and ethanol…from soyabeans and corn.
    You even just increased your mandatory mix from 2 to 3 % for bio diesel.
    In reality 15 % of your soyabeans and corn production will be used for bio diesel and ethanol…in 2010 !!!!
    And increasing thereafter….of course !

    Of course you are right….and the USA were/are and will remain…wrong !!!!

    That is the Brazilian UNcommon sense !

    So much that until only recently….YOU criticized the USA for producing ethanol from corn.
    And now you are just saying the opposite for YOUR corn and soyabeans..

    Same for your sugar ethanol :
    Still not competitive with gasoline despite your “irrefutable proof” that it is…since 2005.
    So much that oil price more than doubled since then, ethanol prices collapsed…..AND IS STILL
    NOT COMPETITIVE !!!!!!!!!

    What a bunch of liars and junkies Brazilians are.

    Ohhhh and the flex fuel engine was NOT developed by Brazilians Engineers….as you have been brainwashed to believe…..BUT by a GERMAN COMPANY CALLED….BOSCH.
    It is this company that received the award FROM YOUR MINISTER OF SCIENCES…..and not Brazilian engineers !!!!!!!

    Another simple proof how Brazilians enjoy so much to caress their navel…when they have no reason to !!!!!


  • eh

    There’s no such thing as a free lunch, but ALL the carbon dioxide you will EVER be able to extract out of sugar cane was absorbed by the plant during the past 6 months, which is MUCH better than putting carbon dioxide back in the atmosphere which was once removed from it millions of years ago. Things like the burning before cutting can be easily replaced by mechanized cutting at a profit, and water pollutants can be pumped back to soil, increasing productivity, although I would argue water pollution is easier to handle than climate change, just a thought. The “Savanna” Brazil’s Southwest, the country richest region was wasted for centuries on non mechanized cattle grazing. Due to new technologies, this region suddenly became very productive for agriculture, with abundant water resources, and actually near to civilization, where sugar cane production, ethanol and sugar account for only 1% of Brazil’s agricultural output. Of course our forests burn, we have forests(unlike so many others), and sometimes they burn, or people burn them, which account for more than half of Brazil carbon emissions, seriously, making Brazil look like World’s 4th industrial power or that we have 100% of arable land cultivated encrusting on the Amazon(probably the worst soil in the country for agriculture), enough Brits actually heard of Brazil’s ethanol production, now a smear campaign is at full swing? You can add 20% of ethanol on your car TODAY, and help the economies of struggling tropical countries all over the world, what more could you actually want? I mean, it’s not pumping out of the ground and shipping it for 5 dollars and selling it for 100 dollars, but nothing is perfect, is it?

  • bo

    I’m almost certain…
    it’s the U.S.

  • João da Silva

    [quote]”Apesar dos nÀƒ­veis modestos de industrializaÀƒ§Àƒ£o na maior naÀƒ§Àƒ£o da AmÀƒ©rica Latina, o Brasil passou a ser o quarto paÀƒ­s do mundo em emissÀƒ£o de gases de efeito estufa”, afirma o Independent.[/quote]

    Do you know who are the other 3 top ranking ones,Bo? I am curious. I think China and India are the two of the “Other 3”. I am trying to recall the third one.

    May be Forrest, with his encyclopedic knowledge will enlighten us 😉

  • bo

    Once again….
    Brazil tries to puff their chest out as if they’re a world leader in this new “technology” when in reality, once again, as in most things, Brazil is an example of what NOT to do….

    Brasil Àƒ© exemplo de desvantagem do etanol, diz jornal britÀƒ¢nico
    ‘The Independent’ diz que indÀƒºstria estÀƒ¡ ligada ÀƒÂ  poluiÀƒ§Àƒ£o e ao desmatamento.[/b]

    A experiÀƒªncia do Brasil com o etanol pode servir como um exemplo para o mundo das desvantagens apresentadas pela suposta “revoluÀƒ§Àƒ£o energÀƒ©tica” criada pelos biocombustÀƒ­veis, segundo uma anÀƒ¡lise publicada pelo jornal britÀƒ¢nico The Independent nesta terÀƒ§a-feira.

    O jornal diz que apesar de os biocombustÀƒ­veis serem quase irresistÀƒ­veis aos polÀƒ­ticos que querem ser vistos como preocupados com os efeitos da mudanÀƒ§a climÀƒ¡tica, a produÀƒ§Àƒ£o do etanol no Brasil tem, no fim das contas, um efeito negativo no combate ao problema porque tem gerado desmatamento e poluiÀƒ§Àƒ£o.

    “A indÀƒºstria do etanol no Brasil estÀƒ¡ ligada ÀƒÂ  poluiÀƒ§Àƒ£o do ar e da Àƒ¡gua em uma escala Àƒ©pica, ao desmatamento da floresta amazÀƒ´nia e da mata atlÀƒ¢ntica e ÀƒÂ  destruiÀƒ§Àƒ£o da savana na AmÀƒ©rica Latina”, diz o vice-editor de assuntos internacionais do jornal, Daniel Howden.

    Segundo o Independent, as conseqÀƒ¼Àƒªncias da “modesta reduÀƒ§Àƒ£o” provocada pelo etanol na emissÀƒ£o de diÀƒ³xido de carbono nas ruas das cidades brasileiras podem ser vistas nas “gigantescas cicatrizes das plantaÀƒ§Àƒµes de soja na AmazÀƒ´nia” e nas “nuvens negras dos campos de cana-de aÀƒ§Àƒºcar em chamas”.

    O jornal diz que o efeito final do etanol no combate ÀƒÂ s emissÀƒµes que provocam as mudanÀƒ§as climÀƒ¡ticas Àƒ© negativo.

    “Apesar dos nÀƒ­veis modestos de industrializaÀƒ§Àƒ£o na maior naÀƒ§Àƒ£o da AmÀƒ©rica Latina, o Brasil passou a ser o quarto paÀƒ­s do mundo em emissÀƒ£o de gases de efeito estufa”, afirma o Independent.

    Segundo o jornal, isso estÀƒ¡ sendo causado por um desmatamento desenfreado, um fenÀƒ´meno que, por sua vez, segue os passos do aumento no preÀƒ§o dos produtos agrÀƒ­colas.

    “Enquanto os preÀƒ§os dos produtos usados na produÀƒ§Àƒ£o de biocombustÀƒ­veis aumentavam nos Àƒºltimos 18 meses, as taxas de desmatamento quebraram todos os recordes”, afirma o jornal.

    O Independent diz que, ao mesmo tempo em que o mundo acorda para as ameaÀƒ§as da mudanÀƒ§a climÀƒ¡tica, “incentivos perversos causam um ataque aos pulmÀƒµes do planeta”.

    Howden diz que o ambientalista brasileiro FÀƒ¡bio Feldman, que ajudou a passar a lei estipulando o mÀƒ­nimo de 23% de etanol a ser adicianado a todos os combustÀƒ­veis, estÀƒ¡ agora preocupado com o legado da decisÀƒ£o.

    “Algumas plantaÀƒ§Àƒµes de cana-de-aÀƒ§Àƒºcar sÀƒ£o do tamanho de paÀƒ­ses europeus – essas monoculturas imensas tÀƒªm substituÀƒ­do ecossistemas importantes”, diz Feldman, segundo o jornal.

    O jornal conclui dizendo que a razÀƒ£o pela qual o argumento de que o mundo pode “plantar” o combustÀƒ­vel que precisa parece muito bom para ser verdade Àƒ© porque realmente Àƒ© muito bom para ser verdade.

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