It's easy to blame Republicans for our environmental troubles but this ethanol stuff was trumpeted by Al Gore and environmental groups for 15 years, and they only figured out it must be stupid when Republicans agreed and made it into law.
It's only getting worse. A bill approved today by the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee will expand ongoing efforts by Brazil and the United States to promote the production and use of biofuels, according to the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association.
The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) represents the top producers of sugar and ethanol in the country's South-Central region, especially the state of Sao Paulo, which accounts for about 50% of the country's sugarcane harvest and 60% of total ethanol production. UNICA develops position papers, statistics and specific research in support of Brazil's sugar, ethanol and bioelectricity sectors. In 2007, Brazil produced an estimated 490 million metric tons of sugarcane, which yielded 30.5 million tons of sugar and 22.3 billion liters of ethanol.
"It shows a clear desire by the U.S. Congress for a positive and long-term partnership between the world's top two producers of ethanol, the United States and Brazil," said UNICA president and CEO Marcos Sawaya Jank, who earlier today met with Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) to express appreciation for US help in making them rich. "This legislation will help expand the reach of sustainable and renewable biofuels that increase energy security for consumers and raise incomes for agricultural communities worldwide."
Senate Bill 1007, sponsored by Indiana's senior Senator, expands on an existing Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in March of 2007 by Presidents George W. Bush of the United States and Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil, and virtually guarantees its longevity.
Senator Lugar describes it as a significant piece of legislation (naturally) that directs the Secretary of the State Department to work with Brazil and other governments to promote accelerated development of sustainable biofuels production.
"Latin America's soil and climate are ideal for growing sugarcane and specialty energy crops for production of biofuels. The United States and Brazil are the region's biofuels leaders, but more countries in the region can and should get into the business of producing domestic biofuels to increase employment, boost rural incomes, improve trade balances, as well as gain protection from the whims of the international oil market whose gyrations have wiped out many nations' recent gains in poverty reduction," Lugar concluded.
A total of US$58 million has been earmarked for the renewed pact. Along with promoting accelerated development of sustainable biofuels and other renewable energy production, the bill helps establish voluntary carbon trading markets, leverage private investment in new energy, promote research and further integrate the Hemisphere's energy infrastructure.