Here we are! In Paris, following another round of negotiations on climate.
I hope an ambitious agreement can be found at the end of these two weeks and we are happy to provide our contribution to the debate. The sugarcane industry is committed as you can see from our pledges:
We pledge to maintain an average 90% GHG reduction for each litre of gasoline replaced by ethanol in Brazil.
We aim at maximising the use of sugarcane residues to supply clean bioelectricity and biofuels.
We do not and never will engage in illegal deforestation activities.
You can come and see our stand, in the UNFCCC area (Blue Zone for the insiders), as of 7 December. We challenge you to answer a few questions on sugarcane. If you are right we will plant a tree in Brazil, with the help of The Green Initiative. You can get some training through our Twitter account @SugarcaneOrg or our website.
Outside the Blue Zone, you’ll have several other chances to hear about us, starting from Sunday 6 December at the “World Climate Summit”, where our very own Elizabeth Farina, UNICA’s CEO, will speak in an interactive panel discussion on bio products and biofuels.
Elizabeth will also speak at the “Sustainable Land Use in Brazil” on Monday 7 December, together with a group of representatives from - among others - the Brazilian agribusiness association, WWF Brazil, and the World Resources Institute.
Finally, on 8 December, the Environment Department of the San Paulo State will launch the Climate Protocol of the State of Sao Paulo at the Brazilian Embassy. As a signatory, UNICA will be there, delivering a few words about the importance of this protocol and how sugarcane can contribute to the reduction of emissions.
Follow us on Twitter for more insights!
The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (known by the acronym “UNICA”) issued the following statement regarding the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) final renewable volume obligations for 2014-2016 through the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). It should be attributed to Elizabeth Farina, UNICA President.
“UNICA is heartened by EPA’s recognition the RFS requirements for advanced biofuel can and should increase. Today’s decision appears to leave the door open for continued American access to sugarcane ethanol from Brazil, one of the cleanest and most commercially ready advanced biofuels available today.”
“EPA has taken another step toward a cleaner, healthier environment, and Brazilian sugarcane producers stand ready to make even higher volumes of advanced biofuel available to America. According to the latest estimates, Brazil is on track to produce nearly six percent more sugarcane ethanol this year compared to 2014 – an additional 450,000 gallons. Under the right market conditions, Brazil has the capacity to produce up to two billion additional gallons of this advanced biofuel for export according to installed capacity figures.”
“America and Brazil have built a thriving global biofuels market, creating economic growth and environmental benefits, through good policy implementation. UNICA applauds today’s decision by EPA to maintain that growth by encouraging production of clean, low-carbon fuels.”
# # #
The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association is the leading trade association for the sugarcane industry in Brazil, representing 60 percent of the country’s sugarcane production and processing. More information on sugarcane ethanol and its role as an advanced biofuel is available at www.sugarcane.org/rfs
With COP21 around the corner we thought it was important to highlight the way sugarcane ethanol can contribute to tackling climate change, and what are some of the steps which need to be taken in order to use sugarcane ethanol’s full potential to decarbonize the transport sector.
This week, we have published an op-ed which does precisely that on the EurActiv website. You can access it by clicking here.
For your convenience, you can also read the op-ed below. And if you happen to be in Paris and would like to find out more about Brazilian Sugarcane, come and visit our booth in the UNFCCC area.
Cleaner Fuels are necessary to tackle climate change
Imagine that it is Monday, 14 December. A new week is starting. A few days ago, after two weeks of intense rounds of negotiations, world leaders reached a binding agreement to help limit global warming to around 2.7°C. Everyone is happy with it. Poor countries, richer countries, experts, NGOs. It’s over. Finally, a successful COP.
True, it’s less than the original goal of 2°C, but it’s an important step, and the good news is that they agreed to include a five-year review clause, meaning that we actually have a shot at reaching the initial objective in the future, if governments agree to increase their ambition. Everyone can finally rest and prepare for the Christmas holidays.
Soon, it’ll be 2016. So now what?
Say the scenario above happens. Reaching an agreement and committing to honouring it is the first step to dealing with climate change. The second is turning that agreement into reality. We keep hearing that everyone has to play a part in decarbonising the global economy; 2016 will be the year we’ll have to put our money where our mouth is.
The IEA recently released data showing how the global demand for transport fuels has risen systematically since the early 1970s. Realistically, an agreement at COP21 is not going to change this trend anytime soon. Global economies will continue to develop, and so will the number of vehicles on the road and their related emissions.
What we can do however is to make sure that the demand for cleaner transport fuels rises and that their share in the fuel mix increases as well. In other words, we need to make sure the carbon intensity of transport does not follow the same path as its growth, but rather the opposite.
Fuel efficiency gains have been and will continue to be made, but they are likely to be outpaced by demand growth. So, solving the transport emissions issue will have to be dealt with by other means, one of which is using the cleanest biofuels.
The government of Brazil has clearly stated in its climate pledge that the transport sector will have to contribute to the effort, and that it will rely on sugarcane ethanol for this. Why? Because a litre of sugarcane ethanol emits on average 90% less CO₂ than petrol, and reduces local pollutants when compared to diesel.
It is simply the easiest and cheapest way to reduce emissions in the sector, which is why Brazil has indicated in its INDC (Intended Nationally Determined Contribution) that it would increase the share of sustainable biofuels in the Brazilian energy mix to 18% in 2030 to reduce transport emissions in the country. More specifically, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said sugarcane ethanol and other derivatives would account for 16% of the energy mix in 2030.
At EU level, the debate around biofuels has momentarily stopped with the closure of the ILUC file in April this year. However, transport remains one of the key sectors where emissions cuts will be required in order to meet the 40% GHG emission reduction EU target by 2030. In 2016, the EU will look at transport as one of the three non-ETS sectors (along with buildings and agriculture) where emissions cuts can and must be achieved.
One major issue remains open though. No differentiation is made amongst first generation biofuels. Yet, there are those which have adverse consequences on the environment, but also the ones which are actually sustainable, such as sugarcane ethanol. Never mind the fact that sugarcane residues are also used to produce second-generation biofuels and bioelectricity. The absence of distinction hurts one of the cleanest available transport fuels in the world today.
At EU level, one opportunity to make full use of the advantages of sugarcane ethanol will be the review of the RED, in which a distinction between low- and high-ILUC biofuels can and should be made. This may seem like just a nuance, but it is critical in order to give a role to sustainable first generation biofuels. Recognising this simple fact would make it easy to seize the low-hanging fruit that they are, given how easy it is to blend them to reduce the carbon intensity of other transport fuels for which demand will rise.
One may think that sugarcane ethanol is there to compete with electric vehicles. The opposite is true in fact. We believe that the use of sustainable biofuels is actually complementary with electrification of mobility. Realistically, liquid fuels will retain an important – perhaps the biggest – role in transport in various combinations. Our conviction is that hybrid ‘electric + low-ILUC biofuels’ vehicles will be the optimal formula to cut emissions in transport by 2030. We want to be part of the solution.
Géraldine Kutas is Head of International Affairs at the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA).
The Office of Management and Budget has begun reviewing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) final Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volume targets for 2014-2016, signaling an end to the long and winding road toward regulatory certainty for America’s advanced biofuels market.
The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) has supported EPA’s RFS implementation decisions in the past, but formally opposed EPA’s proposal to significantly reduce RFS volume targets for 2014, 2015, and 2016 based on three fundamental issues:
Lower Statutory Volumes Are Unsupported And Unnecessary
Reducing statutory volumes of advanced biofuels and total renewable fuels is unnecessary, in part because Brazil can increase production and export higher volumes of sugarcane ethanol under the right market conditions to help meet EPA goals.
According to the latest sugarcane harvest estimates, Brazil is on track to produce nearly six percent more ethanol this year compared to last – an additional 450,000 gallons. And under the right market conditions, Brazil has the capacity to produce up to 2 billion more gallons of sugarcane ethanol for export to America in future years, according to installed capacity figures from Brazil's National Agency of Petroleum, Natural Gas, and Biofuels (ANP). But sugarcane producers need consistent, long-term policy signals if they are to plan properly and deliver these higher volumes of clean biofuel.
Volume Reductions Outstrip EPA Authority And Undermine RFS Intent
EPA lacks the proper rationale to lower advanced biofuels and total renewable fuels volume targets in the proposed manner and amount, and the RFS statute does not support this action. EPA was never granted complete discretion to reduce advanced biofuels – instead it is only authorized to reduce biofuel volumes when projected volumes are less than minimum applicable standards.
In addition, EPA’s proposed reductions run counter to Congressional intent to increase domestic consumption of low-emission fuel. Congress structured the RFS so advanced biofuels would eventually supplant conventional biofuels in America’s fuel supply, but the proposed rule discourages cleaner fuels while incentivizing less-efficient and more polluting conventional and fossil fuels.
Reducing Clean Fuels Consumption Threatens Climate Goals
Eschewing clean and renewable biofuels in favor of gasoline undermines President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, the recently announced bilateral climate agreement between America and Brazil, and both countries’ INDC pledges for December’s COP21 international climate summit.
Transportation fuel generates 28 percent of U.S. emissions and 17 percent of Brazil’s emissions, but EPA and lifecycle analyses from around the world have found sugarcane ethanol is 90 percent cleaner than conventional gasoline on a full lifecycle basis. Ethanol has consistently been proven the cheapest and most efficient fuel feedstock produced at a commercial scale to replace fossil-based transportation fuels. Every gallon of biofuel creates long-term climate benefits as well as short-term public health benefits, and EPA’s proposal threatens climate action.
Don’t Reverse Course On The Road To Sustainable Transportation
America and Brazil have built a global biofuels market through good policy implementation, creating economic growth and environmental benefits. EPA’s proposed RFS volume reductions threaten that growth and hamstring the promise of advanced biofuels to create sustainable transportation.
UNICA urges EPA to not rewrite the RFS program goals before they can be achieved, but if it continues to assert it has authority and rationale to reduce statutory volumes for biofuels, EPA should do responsibly by:
- Only lowering statutory volumes by an absolute minimum, because ample supply of advanced biofuels exists and can meet increased annual volumes.
- Keeping volume requirement reductions for advanced biofuels and renewable fuels above 20 percent in 2015 and 2016, considering statutory reset previsions.
- Changing Equivalence Values for low-lifecycle emission fuels like sugarcane ethanol to help increase advanced biofuel supply and help obligated parties meet statutory volume requirements.
EPA has the power to spur advanced biofuels by maintaining their statutory volume requirements and encouraging production of low-lifecycle emission fuels. Let’s not reverse course on the road to sustainable transportation by artificially lowering demand.
Yesterday, President Dilma Rousseff visited the Sugarcane Technology Center (CTC), a world leading technology company gathering knowledge of the entire sugarcane value chain, and inaugurated its brand new biotechnology laboratory. Started as an association of sugarcane ethanol industries in 1969, the CTC was restructured in 2011 as a private company, and in 46 years it revolutionized the Brazilian sugarcane productivity and sustainability.
CTC focuses on cutting edge technologies working, for instance, on second-generation ethanol while improving the productivity of the sugarcane. The center has developed a new technology named “Flex Straw” to improve the collection and processing of sugarcane straw. This new technology generates additional 100,000 tons of sugarcane waste during the harvest, which, on average, could produce electricity to power a city of around 125,000 inhabitants. The sugarcane residue can be used to produce bioelectricity and second-generation ethanol, allowing companies to increased by 50% the production of ethanol out of the same volume of cane. Moreover, studies conducted by the CTC contributed to improve the quality of the sugarcane itself, which as a result is more resistant to insects and more tolerant to herbicides.
To say it with numbers, this all translates in circa USD 3 million per year of loss avoidance!
However, what makes innovation crucial in the development of any country is that its benefits are not constrained to one sector, it spillovers to the whole society. The innovation developed in CTC not only boosts the productivity of the sugarcane sector, but also puts Brazil in the forefront of the fight against climate change. That was the message the Brazilian President delivered during her visit to the CTC.
Speaking about the target to reduce Brazil’s GHG emissions by 43% by 2030 and the challenges to cut emissions in transport, President Rousseff stated: “One of the basis of this reduction is certainly in the fuel matrix, which happens to be the most difficult sector to cut GHG emissions in the world. But, In Brazil, we have an advantage: no car runs without ethanol in the country. We are committed to raise the contribution of ethanol in our fuel matrix from 30 to 50 billion liters.”
In the EU, the Commission has just adopted the Horizon 2020 work programme for 2016-2017, which foresees €10 million for the development of next generation biofuel technologies in each year of the programme. It is still early to say whether this will be enough to boost research and innovation in biofuels, considering the uncertainty regarding the 2030 Climate and Energy Package and the role biofuels will play in the long run. But chances are that, thanks to innovation, Brazil will overtake the EU in the development of clean fuels to decarbonize transport.
On Sunday, Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff formally announced her country’s GHG emission reduction pledge at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. Looking back at some of her country’s achievements in the fight against climate change, Mrs. Rousseff said ambitious actions would still be undertaken.
And they are ambitious indeed! Brazil will reduce its greenhouses gas emissions of 37% by 2025 and 43% by 2030, compared to 2005 levels, Mrs. Rousseff declared. In perspective, that’s even more ambitious than the EU’s pledge of 40% in 2030 compared to 1990 levels!
For a leading developing economy to make such a commitment sends two messages.
The first is that yes, developing countries also need to do their part. As Mrs. Rousseff put it in her speech, COP21 is an opportunity to shape a “common response to the global challenge”, with “common but differentiated responsibilities”.
The second is that world leaders are finally confident that economic growth does not necessarily have to go in pair with dirty energy consumption. Clean energy sources are no longer a dream, or the luxury of rich countries. It’s now a fact: technology is ready; all we need is to use it and encourage its deployment wherever possible.
By 2030, said Mrs. Rousseff, Brazil will get 66% of its electricity from hydropower and 23% from other renewables, such as bioelectricity. It will also raise the share of renewables in its total energy mix to 45% (the role of renewables in Brazil have declined in percentage over the past years), with a 16% share for first and second-generation ethanol. Strong government objectives and steering will give the right signal for investors too, who will eventually make it happen and revamp the sugarcane sector.
It’s true the detailed breakdown of these numbers – needed to know how we’ll convert the targets into meaningful reality – remain to be known. This is something which will have to be discussed as a second step, by establishing a permanent dialogue between the government and stakeholders such as the Brazilian Coalition for Climate, Forest and Agriculture for instance.
But in the meantime, let’s celebrate Brazil’s ambitious pledge to the global effort against climate change, and the recognition that ethanol will be called to play a key role in it.
To kick the season off, I’ll be in Stockholm this week to talk about second generation biofuels, and in particular the outlook for ethanol produced in Brazilian bio-refineries. I thought it was a good opportunity to give you a short overview of what I’ll cover.
Renewables make up for around 40% of Brazil’s overall energy mix. That’s right, 40%. With a share of around 16% of this mix, sugarcane is the number one source of renewables in the country. Hydropower – the number one renewable in Europe – only comes second in Brazil. Today, sugarcane is used for two things mostly: sweetening your coffee and running cars on ethanol (mainly the juice), and producing bioelectricity (bagasse).
But 2G ethanol opens new opportunities: it reduces GHG emissions by more than 90% compared to gasoline, it increases ethanol production by 50% and it doesn’t compete with food crops as it’s based on crop waste. Indeed, by using the sugarcane residues, second-generation ethanol refining maximizes resources efficiency.
This is what one of Brazil’s biggest energy companies, Raizen, does at its new 2G plant. By using enzymes to transform the cellulose of sugarcane residues (bagasse and straw), the plant produces 42 million liters of second-generation ethanol the cost of which are expected to fall below those of 1GE in the next five years. Interestingly enough, the plant is co-located to an 80-years old sugar and 1G ethanol production facility.
The GranBio plant in Brazil, is another good example of what sugarcane can bring to the energy sector. Aside from the 82 million liters of bioethanol it can produce annually, the plant also co-generates electricity and heat with bagasse and lignin. As such, it produces enough power for 300,000 inhabitants. Not bad for bioelectricity, right?
With the right harvesting and processing techniques, these companies show that second-generation biofuels bring their own set of opportunities, not least of all the ability to literally double Brazil’s biofuels production without increasing planted surfaces, by using waste as feedstock. Also, they’re available all-year long, and they’re almost carbon-neutral.
At a time when energy efficiency, decarbonisation, and waste reuse are topping the environmental agenda, the reality of proven solutions such as bioethanol and bioelectricity must be acknowledged and supported with the right public policies in order to be able to release their full potential.
That’s the story I’ll tell the folks in Stockholm, in a nutshell. Stay tuned for more!
Considering the traffic these days in Brussels, it really looks like EU institutions are back to school, and so are we! Let’s have a look at what’s coming our way to give you a little taste of what we’ll be talking about over the next few months.
And talking about traffic and transport, the months ahead will be rich of news in the sector.
COP21 is approaching fast (less than 100 days to go now) and the pressure is rising for World leaders to work towards and reach an ambitious and binding climate deal in Paris. The European Commission has committed to reducing its GHG emissions by 40% in 2030, and given the extent of the challenge, all sectors will have to make the necessary efforts to achieve this objective. Indeed, according to the latest Commission reports, the pace of renewables’ penetration in the transport sector has been slow so far (only 5.7% in 2014). All eyes have now turned to the post-2020 framework, around which most of the EU transport debate will revolve in the coming months.
The Commission is getting ready and is scheduled to release a Communication on the Decarbonisation of Transport in the first half of 2016. The question is: what is this strategy going to look like? A few weeks ago, the Commission closed a consultation on the review of the 2011 White Paper on Transport. The verdict? It’s something that UNICA has been advocating for long time: intermediate targets are needed if the EU is serious about achieving its long-term transport decarbonisation objectives. So most of the respondents also said!
The role of electric cars will be important, there’s no one denying that. But in 2030, 90% of EU vehicles will still be running on fuel, according to a recent E4Tech report. That’s why we’ll also need lighter and more efficient cars. The Commission has said it is looking at stricter emission standards for road vehicles. But and perhaps most importantly, we’ll need cars using cleaner fuels. Smarter fuels. And that’s where ethanol can make a difference.
Too often biofuels are seen as a unitary group of transport fuels, regardless of their differences. Smart biofuels are those using production processes, which are responsible and sustainable. Not only do they help decarbonize transport, they can also contribute to a thriving economy. Don’t take our word for it, take that of the Director General of the Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO)! Brazilian sugarcane ethanol does precisely that. It reduces GHG emissions by 90% compared to traditional fossil fuels, it is mostly grown on degraded pastureland, hence not competing with food crops, and it’s creating good jobs.
But that’s not all. You’ve probably heard of ‘Smart Cities’, the more efficient, sustainable cities of the future. Sugarcane ethanol can also help make these cities a reality through waste-to-energy processes. One example: bagasse, the fiber residues resulting from sugarcane processing, can and has been used to generate bioelectricity in Brazil, where this has helped reduce emissions of more than 300 million tons of CO₂ in the atmosphere since 2003. Adding to its lower GHG emissions and air quality advantages over traditional fuels, smart biofuels will need to play a role in urban transportation if we are to build a truly sustainable transport system for EU citizens.
The choice is simple; either we stick with the old policies, which fail to make real progress, or we adopt new, smarter ones, which include a role for all greener transport solutions, including ethanol. We still have a few months to help the EU do that, so let’s get back to work!
The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (“UNICA”) this week submitted formal comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency opposing changes to the proposed Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volume targets for 2014, 2015 and 2016.
In the past UNICA has supported EPA's decisions implementing the RFS and as a result of Brazil’s long-term commitment to sugarcane ethanol, Brazilian sugarcane ethanol producers have supplied the majority of the U.S.’ undifferentiated advanced biofuels since EPA began implementing the RFS.
But now, UNICA urges EPA to reconsider its proposal to reduce required volumes of advanced biofuels and total renewable fuels for 2015, 2016, and possibly beyond. UNICA has three issues with EPA's proposed significant reductions of the statutory volume requirements:
- Lowering the statutory volumes by the specified amounts is not supported by the statue nor necessary, at least in 2016 when Brazil could export higher volumes of advanced biofuels under the right market conditions. We believe EPA understates the capacity and ability of Brazilian imports to assist in implementation.
- EPA lacks proper rationale to lower the advanced biofuels and total renewable fuels volumes in the manner and amount it proposes.
- EPA's proposed reductions do not support Congressional intent on the RFS jeopardize progress toward increased use of low-emission fuels, nor do they support President Obama's Climate Action Plan or the recently announced bilateral climate agreement between the U.S. and Brazil.
Brazilian Investments Mean More Supply Than EPA Estimates
Brazil’s sugarcane ethanol producers are investing over $3.5 billion through 2017 in new ethanol pipelines, inland waterways, and port facilities. Sugarcane ethanol production is continuing to rise and preliminary figures for 2015-2016 estimated 7.8 billion gallons produced.
About 65 percent of Brazil’s vehicle fleet is composed of flexible fuel vehicles, which can run on E25 instead of E100, allowing hydrous ethanol production to be dehydrated and fulfill export contracts. This flexible hydrous ethanol market means export commitments would not suffer even if faced with a negative harvest season and thus, lower volumes of sugarcane ethanol.
EPA’s proposal opines Brazil cannot supply the 3-4.7 billion gallons in advanced biofuels it calculates would be required between 2015-2016 under the RFS statutory volumes, and Brazil would be unlikely to reach such figures when its highest level of U.S. exports was 680 million gallons in 2006. But in fact, UNICA forecasts under the right market conditions, Brazil can have the capacity to produce an estimated 2 billion gallons of sugarcane ethanol for export to America in 2016, according to installed capacity figures from Brazil's National Agency of Petroleum, Natural Gas, and Biofuels (ANP).
EPA’s At An RFS Crossroads – Avoid The Wrong Route
Congress’ intent in establishing the RFS, EPA’s action to date, President Obama’s Clean Power Plan goals, and the U.S.-Brazil climate accord show international leadership and commitment to ensuring emissions reductions. But EPA's Proposed Rule threatens the integrity of these commitments and UNICA urges EPA to avoid action reducing advanced biofuel imports or prioritizing less-efficient fuels over sugarcane ethanol, certified as 90 percent cleaner than conventional gasoline.
If EPA continues to assert it has authority and reasonable justification to reduce statutory volumes for biofuels, UNICA urges EPA to:
- Lower statutory volumes only to the absolute minimum. UNICA supports efforts to increase the annual volumes for these fuels and believes they should not be lowered any further in 2015, 2016 or beyond.
- Avoid reducing volume requirements for advanced biofuels or total renewable fuels below 20 percent in 2015 and 2016 in view of statutory reset provisions.
- Consider changing Equivalence Values ("EVs") for low-lifecycle emission fuels like sugarcane ethanol to spur further growth in advanced biofuels and help obligated parties meet statutory volume requirements.
UNICA understands EPA finds itself at an RFS crossroads, but EPA needn't rewrite the program’s goals before they can be achieved, and should not unfairly affect Brazilian exports. EPA can stimulate the market for advanced biofuels by keeping as close to the statutory volume requirements as possible and encouraging importation and production of low-lifecycle emissions renewable fuels, rather than discouraging them by lowering demand.
Today, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is visiting Washington, D.C. to strengthen the relationship between two of the Western Hemisphere’s biggest nations. But as with any successful relationship, compromise is key on important issues, and President Rousseff plans to discuss several three issues critical to the global ethanol trade with President Obama.
America’s Renewable Fuel Standard
The issue: The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is significant for both America and Brazil’s ethanol industries, and is a central topic for President Rousseff’s visit. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) identifies sugarcane ethanol as an advanced biofuel because it reduces emissions 61 percent compared to gasoline.
Between 2012-2014, over one billion gallons of sugarcane ethanol flowed from Brazil to U.S. vehicles, and while sugarcane ethanol comprised only two percent of all renewable fuel consumed by Americans, it provided nearly 15 percent of the U.S. advanced biofuel supply. EPA’s recent RFS proposal significantly reduced target volumes for advanced biofuels below Congressionally mandated levels, but increased requirements for advanced biofuels in 2015 and 2016.
Our position: Americans deserve access to the cleanest possible fuels, but reducing RFS target volumes threatens the future of U.S. ethanol supplies. EPA should protect the RFS’ integrity by maintaining volume requirements for advanced biofuels, and should guard against using the regulatory process to impose anti-competitive requirements on foreign biofuels.
Climate Change and Transportation Emissions
The issue: Brazil and the U.S. must consider transportation sector emissions as negotiators work toward an international climate change agreement at December’s COP21 conference in Paris. The World Energy Council reports fossil fuels currently represent 63 percent of all global emissions, with transportation fuel generating 28 percent of total U.S. emissions and 17 percent total Brazilian emissions.
Transportation emissions aren’t limited to ground transport however, and biofuels must become viable alternatives to aviation fuel. The international aviation industry is committed to growing at a carbon-neutral rate until 2020 then reducing emissions 50 percent by 2050, but biofuel production and consumption must expand to achieve this goal. The U.S. and Brazil have cooperated on technological innovation exchange since 2011, and numerous commercial and military flights have since demonstrated the potential of aviation biofuels.
Our position: Ethanol is arguably the cheapest option available to replace fossil-based transportation fuel at large scale. Some commercial technologies can reach virtually zero emissions, and every gallon of biofuel creates long-term climate benefits and short-term public health benefits. The U.S. and Brazil must work together to develop solutions on a global scale, including incentive policies (tax or environmental) to encourage production and consumption, or private sector cooperation to drive investment and innovation.
Bilateral Cooperation to Benefit Both Countries
Brazil and the U.S. are proof pragmatic public policy can create economic growth and environmental benefits. Earth has an urgent need for low-carbon, sustainable transportation fuels, and as the two biggest ethanol producers and exporters in the world, our countries have much to share in experience and technology with other nations.
As the world’s two largest ethanol producers, Brazil and the U.S. have a responsibility to collaboratively build a global biofuels market providing clean, affordable, and sustainable solutions to the planet’s growing energy needs. Brazil’s government and sugarcane ethanol industry are committed to not only expanding the mutually beneficial relationship with America, but to growing the international biofuels market.