Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Brazil - U.S. agreement on ethanol

Brazil and the U.S. agreed on collaboration in the production of ethanol [1]. The use of ethanol instead of fossil fuels is in itself a good thing, but the agreement can be met with some reservation.

What is concerning is the effect that mass production of sugar cane, the source of ethanol fuel, can have on the Amazon rain forest. [2] The cultivation of soy for biodiesel has proven to be a disaster for the rain forest. Extensive production of sugar cane for foreign markets could have the same effect.

All problems, like all solutions, are local. [3] Brazil should meet its 'problem', in this case mobility, which is local, with a solution that is local. Therefore, Brazil should produce ethanol for its own market, and maybe a bit beyond, and should share its knowledge through licensing. This way, mass exportation and exploitation can be avoided. If the export of ethanol will expand, the deforestation of the Amazon will go into hyper drive.

[1] Bush hails biofuels pact in Brazil - International Herald Tribune - March 9, 2007
Brazil farmers boost land for sugarcane - BusinessWeek - April 9, 2007
[3] Cameron Sinclair - Architecture for Humanity -
TEDtalks - July 25, 2006

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