The Ethanol Summit 2009 is in full swing in Sao Paulo, Brazil with President Bill Clinton kicking off the festivities yesterday. His main message was that while biofuels are an important element in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, it cannot happen at the continued destruction of rainforests.
In an article published by Reuters yesterday, Clinton was quoted as saying, “What people are worried about Brazil is not (whether) you have the most efficient biofuel in the world… everybody knows that is true.”
“(But) the world would say if we let Brazil help us solve our problem at the price of more rainforest destruction, have we really gained anything? That’s what you have to answer.”
This statement was given to a group of international businessmen, the majority of which are in the biofuels industry, who may have noted a discrepancy in Clinton’s observation. According to UNICA (The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association) “…biofuels are typically not grown on rainforest land or land used to grow fuel.”
It could be argued that the bigger issue of linking rainforest destruction to biofuels production is the ongoing heated debate on indirect land use which calculates the impact of the “land” used when calculating the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. I have no doubt that the issue of indirect land use change will take center state at some point during this year’s Ethanol Summit and we’ll cover that dicussion here on DomesticFuel.