Monday, March 24, 2008

More resources - CI Br meeting on biofuels

Hi all- here are links to lots of good paper from a conference organized this time last year by Conservation International Brazil (some Portuguese and some English) -

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Biofuels, cure worse than the disease

By Vandana Shiva *

The commitments adopted to mitigate climate change are inadequate and, in this context, are a false solution biofuels, food of the poor transformed into energy.

New Delhi, February 18 (Tierramérica) - In 2008, nobody can deny climate change caused by human activities. However, the commitments needed to mitigate it and help the most vulnerable to face its effects are insufficient and do not include the recognition of the disaster. The mitigation materials requires changes in tariffs of production and consumption. Globalisation has given impetus in the world as far as the production to consumption and therefore to greater emissions of carbon dioxide. The rules of the World Trade Organization on trade liberalisation forcing countries to follow a path that requires increasing emissions. The same is the World Bank to provide loans to super-highways, power plants termoelétricas, industrial agriculture and retail sales on the part of large corporations.

They are also responsible companies giants such as Cargill and Wal-Mart. Cargill is an important actor in the dissemination of the soybean crop in Brazil and the plantations of palms in the jungles of Indonesia, in whose burning has responsibility. And the model of Wal-Mart, trade centered on long distance, is a recipe safe for the increased burden of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The first step towards mitigation requires a focus on the actions of actual real actors.

Stocks are real, for example, an activity contrary to the farming and local systems of food production, as well as involving loss of rural economies, with low emissions, in the face of the spread of urbanization in charge of construction companies. They also included the destruction of sustainable transport systems based on renewable energy and the promotion of private cars. The real actors are the great global agribusiness, the WTO and the World Bank. Nor are the oil companies and the companies cars that drive this transition to the non-sustainable in terms of mobility.

The Kyoto Protocol prevented completely respond to the need to stop the activities that lead to higher emissions and the political challenge of imposing standards on polluters and making them pay in accordance with the principles agreed in 1992 at the Earth Summit. Instead, Kyoto put in motion the mechanism for the exchange of rights to emissions of gases causing the greenhouse effect, which in fact reward the contaminants to give them rights on the air and market them to contaminate. Today, the market of emissions trading reached $ 30 billion and it is estimated that grow more.

Another false solution to climate change is the promotion of biofuels prepared with corn, soybean, palm oil and pinion. Fuels produced from biomass remain the most important source of energy for the poor in the world: the energy used for cooking comes from biomass not edible, as manure, cow, ear of corn, stems of vegetables and agroforestry species. Biofuels are the industrial food of the poor transformed into heat, electricity and transport.

The President George W. Bush scheduled the production of 132.5 billion litres of biofuels in 2017. Inevitably, the massive increase in demand for grain will occur at the expense of the satisfaction of basic needs of human beings, as people poor, marginalized in the market of food due to the increase in their prices. Firstly, the deforestation caused by the expansion of plantations of soybean and palm is leading to increased emissions of carbon dioxide. The FAO estimates that 1.6 billion tonnes, or 25% to 30% of the gases causing the greenhouse effect released into the atmosphere each year, come from deforestation.

For 2022, the plantations for the production of biofuels can lead to the destruction of 98% of forests in Indonesia. The United States use 20% of their corn to produce 19 billion litres of ethanol, replacing only 1% of the use of oil. If they were 100% of the corn used to produce ethanol, replace only 5% of the oil used today. Clearly this is not a solution either to put a ceiling on the use of oil or to mitigate climate change. These false solutions will not increase more than the climate crisis and at the same time, and poglobili worsen inequality, hunger and poverty.

* Vandana Shiva is biologist, environmentalist and writer.
BIOFUEL SEAL(translated from the original text in Portuguese below using google tools)

The company BioCamp Industry, Trade, Import and Export Ltda Biodiesel is the newest venture to receive a grant of Seal Fuel Social. They are now 28 companies with the identification of the Ministry of Agrarian Development (MDA) as producing biodiesel that promote social inclusion and regional development.

This inclusion and development are done through the generation of employment and income for family farmers framed the criteria of the National Programme for Strengthening Family Agriculture (Pronaf). The installed capacity of the new company, headquartered in the state of Mato Grosso, is about 46 million litres, with the cultivation of soy as a raw material. The production involves 60 families of farmers.

Together, these 28 enterprises have a total installed capacity of 2.1 billion liters, benefiting more than 100 thousand family farmers. Of the companies that participated in recent tenders for delivery of biodiesel in 2008, today, all of the Label Fuel Social.

The Label

Through the Seal Fuel Social, the producer of biodiesel has access to aliquots of PIS / Pasep and contribution to the financing of Social Security (Cofins) with differentiated coefficients of reduction, access to the best conditions for funding at the National Bank of Economic Development and Social (BNDES) and Financial Institutions Credenciadas the Bank of the Amazon (BASA), Banco do Nordeste do Brasil (BNB), Banco do Brasil (BB) or other financial institutions that have special conditions of financing for projects with Seal.

"These rules allow the building of partnerships and economic commitments to social responsibility between the private sector (industry), family farmers and their organizations. It shows that large companies are believing, betting and recognizing the important contribution of family farming in a sector as strategic for the country, such as the energy sector, "says Campos.

The Social Seal Fuel is only granted to producers of biodiesel they buy raw material of family farming in minimum percentage from 50% in the Northeast and Semi-Arid, 10% in North and Central West, and 30% in the South and Southeast . The industries also have to ensure technical assistance and training to farmers.
(Envolverde / Ministry of Agrarian Development)

Biocamp é a nova empresa com Selo Combustível Social

A empresa BioCamp Indústria, Comércio, Importação e Exportação de Biodiesel Ltda é o mais novo empreendimento a receber a concessão de Selo Combustível Social. São agora 28 empresas com a identificação do Ministério do Desenvolvimento Agrário (MDA) como produtoras de biodiesel que promovem a inclusão social e o desenvolvimento regional.

Essa inclusão e desenvolvimento são feitos por meio da geração de emprego e de renda aos agricultores familiares enquadrados nos critérios do Programa Nacional de Fortalecimento da Agricultura Familiar (Pronaf). A capacidade instalada da nova empresa, com sede no estado do Mato Grosso, é de aproximadamente 46 milhões de litros, com o cultivo da soja como matéria-prima. A produção envolve 60 famílias de agricultores familiares.

Juntos, esses 28 empreendimentos possuem uma capacidade instalada total de 2,1 bilhões de litros, beneficiando mais de 100 mil agricultores familiares. Das empresas que participaram dos últimos leilões para entrega de biodiesel em 2008, hoje, todas possuem o Selo Combustível Social.

O Selo

Por meio do Selo Combustível Social, o produtor de biodiesel tem acesso a alíquotas de PIS/Pasep e Contribuição para o Financiamento da Seguridade Social (Cofins) com coeficientes de redução diferenciados, acesso às melhores condições de financiamentos junto ao Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social (BNDES) e suas Instituições Financeiras Credenciadas ao Banco da Amazônia (BASA), Banco do Nordeste do Brasil (BNB), Banco do Brasil (BB) ou outras instituições financeiras que possuam condições especiais de financiamento para projetos com Selo.

“Essas regras permitem a construção de parcerias econômicas e compromissos de responsabilidade social entre setor privado (indústrias), agricultores familiares e suas organizações. Mostra que as grandes empresas estão acreditando, apostando e reconhecendo a importante contribuição da agricultura familiar em um setor tão estratégico para o País, como o setor energético”, diz Campos.

O Selo Combustível Social somente é concedido aos produtores de biodiesel que compram matéria-prima da agricultura familiar em percentual mínimo de: 50% no Nordeste e Semi-Árido; 10% nas regiões Norte e Centro Oeste e, 30% nas regiões Sudeste e Sul. As indústrias também têm que assegurar a assistência e a capacitação técnica aos agricultores familiares.
(Envolverde/Ministério do Desenvolvimento Agrário)

© Copyleft - É livre a reprodução exclusivamente para fins não comerciais, desde que o autor e a fonte sejam citados e esta nota seja incluída.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Estimates Vary for Total Investments in Brazil Ethanol Sector

from ethablog:
When summing up expected investments in new ethanol- and sugar-producing capacities in Brazil, the numbers shift from day to day and from source to source. Dow Jones reports that, in April 2007, BNDES, Brazil’s national development bank, put the figure for the 2008-11 period at 89 projects requiring USD13.1 billion in investments. Unica, the Association of Sugarcane Growers of Brazil’s Center-South, talks of 86 plants, with slated expenditures of USD17 billion. The Vice-President of Morgan Stanley’s research division, Subhojit Daripa, on his turn, speaks of a total of USD33 billion in new investments planned both for the development of greenfield projects and for the expansion of existing plants.
Looming over the sector, Petrobras, the Brazilian state-owned energy company, is a wild card that may sway the development of the industry one way or the other. It has announced a partnership with Japan’s Mitsui to build forty “bioenergy complexes”, as well as two dedicated ethanol pipelines from Goias state, deep in Brazil’s interior, through traditional sugarcane-growing regions in the northwest of Sao Paulo state and on to terminals on the Atlantic.
However, as a cursory examination of Brazilian history shows, talk is cheap and the way things turn out will be determined by the economic fundamentals of Brazil’s energy sector. Petrobras recently announced the discovery of a massive ultra-deep offshore field with ultimately recoverable reserves of between four and six billion barrels of light, 28-degree API oil. That the company will be tempted to shift assets – especially human resources – to this project and away from ethanol and its incipient biodiesel program should not come as a surprise to anyone.
In 2007, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Brazil produced just under 15.8 billion liters of ethanol – a number that works out to approximately 182,407 barrels of gasoline equivalent per day. Before the announcement of the discovery of the new superfield, Petrobras already produced 2,000,000 boe/day, or about eleven times more than all the ethanol produced in Brazil.
No further math required to figure out what tops the list of priorities of Brazil’s federal energy policy, of which Petrobras is the best-known, and most active, instrument.
A further degree of uncertainty is added by the fact that producers could easily switch from ethanol to sugar production, if the prices of sugar were high enough (right now, they aren’t). But unforeseen circumstances in Australia, India, and other big sugar exporters can change the picture and leave ethanol consumers – in Brazil and abroad – high and dry, as happened in 1989, when the sector became deregulated and an ethanol shortage ensued on the domestic market. The fiasco led millions of motorists to queue up at fueling stations and to lose faith in the federal fuel ethanol program, begun in 1975.
Not only can the switch to sugar alter the numbers for ethanol, but a "black" and "gray" market, caused by unequal tax regimens between states and lax surveillance in most parts of Brazil, severely distorts the playing field by encouraging tax evasion and product adulteration. Sindicom, the Brazilian national association of fuel retailers, estimates that this “informal” market may comprise as much as 40% of the total of fuel ethanol sold in Brazil.
So the announcement of new investments in Brazil's sugar and ethanol industry must be weighed against the marginal cost of talk (zero); only a thorough examination of all the underlying political, economic, and social factors can result in a rough understanding of how much ethanol Brazil produces right now. How much it will produce in a few years’ time is anybody’s guess.

Biofuels could be a source of competitiveness,0.php

''''País pode ser competitivo em áreas sensíveis, como biocombustível''''
Denise Chrispim Marin, Brasília
Tamanho do texto? A A A A
A pesquisa encomendada à Universidade de São Paulo (USP) concluiu que os sete países estudados também enfrentam desafios em termos de inovação e que, mesmo com todos os seus dilemas, o Brasil conseguiu resultados expressivos em setores que vão além dos jatos regionais e dos produtos agrícolas. Segundo Glauco Arbix, coordenador do estudo, o Brasil tem a chance de ser competitivo em áreas sensíveis, como os biocombustíveis. Mas dará um grande salto na medida em que suas empresas se expuserem mais à exportação e ao investimento em outros países."O Brasil não tem meninos vendendo balas apenas na avenida Rebouças, em São Paulo. Tem meninos na porta da Embraer, da Natura, da Marcopolo, da Gerdau e de quem pensa em biocombustíveis", afirma Arbix, referindo-se a companhias que investem em inovação e que se embrenharam em estratégias no exterior. "Olhar para fora leva as empresas brasileiras a ter um comportamento mais agressivo e preocupado com a inovação." Reginaldo Arcuri, presidente da ABDI, antecipa que a nova política industrial não deverá eleger setores prioritários. Mas começará pelas cadeias produtivas que já contam com um diálogo organizado com o governo e com experiências inovadoras - como são os casos da automotiva e têxtil. Entre os setores com potencial de sucesso em inovação, Arcuri enumera a indústria de peças e equipamentos aeronáuticos, que se desenvolveu ao redor da Embraer, os fabricantes de peças para a construção naval e os fornecedores de bens para as plataformas e dutos da Petrobrás. Tanto Arcuri quanto Arbix concordam que uma das vantagens do Brasil está na diversidade cultural presente na estrutura social do país. Diversidade é uma espécie de combustível da inovação porque permite conclusões inusitadas para as questões em estudo. Entre os países pesquisados, Japão, Estados Unidos, Irlanda e Finlândia mostram dificuldades em dar curso à diversidade. O Japão percebeu que o motor da inovação está travado pelas estruturas hierarquizadas de suas corporações e pela tradição cultural impermeável aos estrangeiros. Nos EUA, os controles de segurança e a burocracia acabaram por limitar o acesso de pesquisadores de outros países a suas universidades.Precursor na adoção de políticas de inovação, a Finlândia enfrenta o mesmo dilema por conta do clima do país. Mas contorna parte do problema com o contingente de pesquisadores finlandeses espalhados por centros de pesquisa de tecnologia da informação mundo afora - só na Nokia são cerca de 25 mil. Esses centros servem como ''''antenas'''' para soluções inovadoras.

Bernanke wants to eliminate tarifffs on Brazilan biofuels

U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has said he favors cutting high tariffs on Brazilian ethanol. He thereby joins a growing rank of world leading economists, energy experts, social scientists, international development institutions (like the IMF and the World Bank), economic think tanks (like the OECD), key food and agriculture analysts (like the FAO and the IFPRI) and development organisations, who have all spoken out in favor of international free trade in biofuels. Many of these analysts have said current high food prices are partly the result of protectionism in the biofuels market.Biomass based fuels can be made in a far more efficient, environmentally friendly and cost effective way in countries like Brazil and other nations in the Global South. Countries in the North should import these fuels, which would end pressures on food markets and benefit consumers. But both the EU and the US levy high tariffs on these biofuels, to protect their own inefficient, subsidized producers.Speaking before the Senate Banking Committee, Bernanke said in this context:
As you know, I favor open trade and I think allowing Brazilian ethanol, for example, would reduce costs in the United States.Most of the ethanol made in the United States comes from corn, and domestic production is protected from much more efficient and cost-effective sugar-based Brazilian ethanol by a steep, US$0.54 per gallon tariff. This uncompetitive reliance on corn has distorted global food markets. Bernanke said it was hard to say how much current strong demand for ethanol was boosting food prices.
But it is the case that a significant portion of the corn crop is being diverted to ethanol, which raises corn prices. And there's some knock-on effects. For example, some soybean acreage has been moved to corn production, which probably has some effect on soybean prices. So there is some price effect on foodstuffs coming through the conversion to energy use.Promoting free trade in biofuels combined with a framework that ensures environmental and social sustainability, will unlock a large and efficient biofuel potential that benefits consumers everywhere. According to researchers, such a global 'biopact' between the North and the South may help alleviate poverty in developing countries, where large rural populations can benefit from the new biofuels opportunity (previous post). Some analysts, like the WorldWatch Institute have even concluded that, with good policies, biofuels can help end hunger [entry ends here]

Bovespa SRI criteria

CES-FGV designed a questionnaire to verify the performance of the companies which issued BOVESPA's 150 most liquid stocks, which considers the “ triple bottom line ” concept (developed by the English consulting company SustainAbility ). The TBL concept involves the integrated analysis of environmental, social and economical aspects. Specifically in ISE questionnaire, to these three TBL principles were aggregated three more: a) general criteria (which inquires, for example, the company’s commitment to global compacts and if the company publishes social balances); b) nature of the product criteria (which inquires if the company publishes social balances, if the company's product causes damages and risks to consumers health, among other issues); and c) corporate governance criteria. The environmental, social and economical dimensions were divided in four groups of criteria: a) polices (commitment indicators); b) management (program, target and monitoring indicators); c) performance; and d) legal compliance. With regard to the environmental dimension, companies from the financial sector answer to a differentiated questionnaire, and the other companies are divided in “high impact” and “medium impact” (they receive the same questionnaire, but the weightings are different). The fulfilling of the questionnaire is voluntary (the questions are objective), and demonstrates the company commitment with sustainability aspects, which are considered increasingly important all over the world.

Criteria for Inclusion in the Portfolio
The index portfolio will include the stocks that meet cumulatively the following criteria: a) to be among the 150 best classified stocks considering the negotiability index, measured in the twelve months preceding the beginning of the reevaluation process;b) to have a trading session presence of at least 50%, measured in the twelve months preceding the beginning of the reevaluation process;c) to meet the sustainability criteria approved by ISE Board. Companies that are under composition with creditors, have filed for bankruptcy, are under a special regime or were/are subject to a trading halt of its security over an extended period of time will not integrate ISE.