The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) realized that it could make a contribution to fighting the virus by putting sugarcane ethanol to good use. Through its members UNICA is donating one million liters of alcohol 70%, that can be used for disinfection or for alcohol gel production, free of charge.
As the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) celebrates its thirteenth anniversary, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed new requirements for 2019. While there are certainly elements of the proposal that deserve applause, EPA could strengthen it in ways that would encourage advanced biofuels to play a greater role greening the U.S. transportation sector.
Since December last year the closing of the EU-Mercosur trade negotiations has continually seemed tantalizingly just around the corner. It is now to the EU to send an unambiguous signal that it really cares about and believes in a fair and free trade deal that will be a tide that raises all boats – not just European ones. This is now crunch time in these lengthy negotiations: the balls is clearly in the EU’s court to get a deal over the line and it needs to step up to its responsibilities.
On 17 May representatives of the European Parliament, member states and the European Commission will meet to negotiate the provisions on biofuels in REDII. This might be the last chance to find a compromise that ensures the future of a technology that is critical to reduce carbon emissions in transport.
The EU has the opportunity to close two major trade deals in 2018: with Mexico and with the Mercosur trading block. But if it fails, the EU’s credibility of promoting free and fair trade would be seriously undermined, as it would be clear that its appetite for free and fair trade goes only so far as its vested interests are not impacted.
The European Parliament will soon vote on the recast of the renewables directive (RED II). One of the most effective solutions available today to decrease carbon emissions in transport is the use of sustainable biofuels. The European Parliament needs to make sure that we harness solutions that can tackle climate change in the short-term. Sustainable bioenergy, particularly sugarcane ethanol, is one of those options.
As we come to the close of a busy year, it’s worthwhile to take time to pause and reflect on everything that we’ve achieved this year. For UNICA it has indeed been an interesting and eventful year, full of activity on two key dossiers that are of critical importance to the Brazilian sugarcane industry: the proposals for the next edition of the Renewable Energy Directive (REDII), and of course, the EU-Mercosur trade negotiations.
Building, in part, on the successes and lessons learned from two signature American policies, Brazil is poised to launch a government program that will support the continued development and use of low-carbon, clean biofuels. This new initiative, dubbed RenovaBio, will play a key role in meeting Brazil’s ambitious commitments made at the Paris climate summit in December 2015.
On April 22, we celebrate International Mother Earth Day. Many people want to take action on that occasion by planting a tree or informing themselves on climate change solutions and environmental conservation. However, in today’s era of post-truth politics and information overload, we often struggle to make sound judgements about what is best for the environment and what is agenda-driven rhetoric. Same goes for lawmakers who are in charge of setting the policies that will lead us to a more environmentally friendly economy and lifestyle.
The revision of the Renewable Energy Directive represents a tremendous opportunity to foster the further development of clean energy in the European Union for decades to come. But the current proposal lacks ambition and is missing a key opportunity in helping to reach the Paris Agreement targets, especially with regards to the transportation sector.
At Politico’s recent debate on decarbonizing Europe’s transport,Maroš Šefčovič said that there is an international consensus that first-generation biofuels should be phased out. This is simply not true. Many countries including Australia, Brazil and the US are all producers of 1G biofuels and have no intention of phasing out these important CO2-reducing petrol alternatives.
The Paris Agreement on Climate Change entered into force in September, starting a coordinated effort by the world’s governments to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and limit climate change impacts. It’s far from the end, though. Entering into force starts the hard work—meeting each nation’s decarbonization targets. Every country’s intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) will reduce emissions and expand economic opportunities for clean energy. More than any other nation, Brazil’s INDC relies on biofuels to meet these goals.
2016 is the ‘year of implementation’. The year we will have to put together the measures needed not only to achieve the 2030 Framework targets and Energy Union goals, but also the COP21 Agreement. we are officially transitioning towards a low-carbon future and need to phase out fossil fuels. How we will get there is the real question we have to address now.
I hope you’ve all had a great winter break and that you’re well rested for what promises to be an exciting year in terms of the transport and energy policy agenda.
We know that 2016 is the year where we need to see things through – the ‘year of implementation’ as Commissioner Cañete has nicknamed it – and a number of big legislative dossiers are headed our way.
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.
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.
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.
“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). ”
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.
I recently attended a conference in Brussels on the negotiations of the Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA). Quite disappointingly, ethanol is not part of the list of green products falling under the scope of the agreement. The biggest challenge of the negotiations is indeed about deciding on the list of products. Every country promoted a list of products, but ethanol was not part of any of the lists suggested, despite its proven environmental benefits.
After the disappointment of not winning concessions from Member States on any of their main points, MEPs have – against the will of many – voted in favour of the Council ILUC text. Now it’s time to turn the ‘ILUC page’ and look beyond 2020. Policymakers need to set up a credible framework for the post-2020. Low-ILUC biofuels should be promoted and sugarcane bioethanol is one of those.
I just can’t help praising the decision taken by the Brazilian government to increase, today, the ethanol blend in gasoline to 27%. A question came straight to my mind: Is the EU not simply lagging behind? Is it not incredibly ironic to see Europeans getting cold feet about moving to a 6.5% content of ethanol (in energy) in petrol?
“Well before we started thinking about our New Year’s resolutions, the European Commission published on 16 December its work programme for 2015. We can only applaud the targeted nature of measures envisaged and this new Commission’s desire for better regulation. However this ‘to do list’ seems to be overlooking some crucial aspects, that we hope the Commission will address in the course of 2015.
After more than a year of deliberation, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced it will not finalize 2014 volume standards under the renewable fuel standard (RFS) program before the end of the year. The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) issued the following statement in response.
A Ecofys study published yesterday – on behalf of the European Oilseed Alliance (EOA), the European Biodiesel Board (EBB) and the European Vegetable Oil and Protein meal Industry (FEDIOL) – gives new life to biofuels and certainly brings new elements to the debate on ILUC, currently at a standstill. It argues that the European Commission based its conclusions – hence its legislative proposal to amend the RED and FQD – on wrong assumptions and underestimated the benefits of biofuels by as much as 50%.
On 24 October European leaders reached an agreement on the framework which will set the energy and climate scene for the next 15 years. The conclusions call on the Commission to examine instruments for “renewable energy sources in transport” post 2020 in a comprehensive and technologically neutral way, which could possibly involve an extension of the Fuel Quality Directive (FQD) after 2020.
“After two intense weeks of confirmation hearings in the Parliament, the Junker Commission has been confirmed by the Parliament. It was described by Mr Juncker himself as the “last-chance Commission”. When it comes to climate and energy policy however, Mr Juncker’s team failed to go down that ambitious route by omitting an important contributor to future emission reductions in transport: biofuels.
After a short break occasioned by the European elections in May, it will soon be time for new and returning Members of the European Parliament to embark on second reading discussions on ILUC. Member States adopted their common position on 13 June and, as soon the text is presented to MEPs in Plenary, the second reading phase will start. In this important new step of the process, UNICA would like to send a few words to the members of the recently formed Environment Committee, who will have a special role to play on the dossier in the second half of the year.
Today, European Energy Ministers finally adopted the Council’s position on ILUC. I have expressed already my disappointment for the lack of ambition showed by Member States. This deal doesn’t lead to a better framework for investments in the biofuels sector, especially in advanced biofuels, and the future discussions with the European Parliament do not let envisage any positive developments.
“The debate over American biofuels policy has centered on the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS), but there’s another issue unfolding under the radar with significant implications for renewable fuels – the Reid vapor pressure (RVP) volatility waiver.
RVP may be a technical issue, but inconsistent application of the volatility waiver by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is limiting widespread introduction of E15 ethanol-blended gasoline, threatening compliance with the RFS, and creating an arbitrary barrier to ethanol use in America.
After the stalemate at the December Council where a blocking minority of Member States prevented the adoption of a Council common position on ILUC, Member States’ Permanent Representatives finally agreed today on a compromise text proposed by the Greek Presidency after two Ad Hoc Working Party meetings took place in April and May. The Council position will still need to be officially endorsed by EU Energy Ministers on 13 June.
This week the United Nations scientific panel on climate change (IPCC) published its latest report on climate change. The report, echoing its past findings about a clear link between climate change and human factors driving that change, argues that immediate action is required on the matter to reduce the variety of risks in the future that come from climate change.
Later this week, European heads of government will meet in Brussels to discuss, among other issues, the European Union’s 2030 Climate and Energy Package which – as I mentioned in my previous blog – effectively called for an end to the Fuel Quality Directive after 2020 and for a phasing out of public support for first generation biofuels in transport.
The annual EU-Brazil summit will take place next week here in the European Union capital, Brussels. There will be plenty of bonhomie as these summits go. We can reasonably expect trade to be one of the most important items of the political agenda, alongside other global challenges such as economic growth and climate change. That includes the EU-Mercosur trade agreement negotiations, since the EU is Brazil’s biggest trading partner and Brazil is the most important market for the EU in the Latin American region.
Brazilian sugarcane ethanol producers well-founded comments on the RFS urge EPA to set volume targets that are in line with Congress’ and the Administration’s twin goals of replacing fossil fuels with advanced biofuels and other renewable fuels, and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from transportation fuels.
Centering the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) debate on volume targets for all biofuels has let two key benefits of advanced biofuels slip out of focus: the potential for non-corn ethanol to drastically cut lifecycle emissions compared to gasoline, and the ability of biofuel feedstocks to be sustainably grown without harming the environment.
Apparently, the current European Commission’s long term strategy is now formally not to have one.
On Wednesday, this Commission formally mapped out, in the first step in a long legislative process ahead, its much awaited perspective on what it thinks the European Union’s longer term climate abatement goals should be to 2030. This perspective is dubbed the ‘2030 Framework on Climate and Energy’.
With the European Commission days away from releasing its policy proposal on so-called 2030 climate and energy targets, it’s worth taking stock of how this position will negatively impact the decarbonization of the transport sector and how once again this Commission is failing to recognize the role of sustainable biofuels, no matter their potential to reduce GHG emissions.
In 2013, advanced biofuels continued to flourish, and Brazilian sugarcane producers stayed active in sharing vital facts about clean, advanced renewable fuels like sugarcane ethanol. Heading into the New Year, it’s clear the decisions confronting lawmakers and EPA regulators on the RFS will have a great impact on our world’s journey towards decreasing greenhouse gases and improving energy security. Here’s our wish list naming what we would like to see under the tree or delivered in 2014.
EU Member States on Thursday confirmed what many European biofuel watchers had assumed for many weeks: the issue of biofuels and their potential indirect effects (so-called Indirect Land Use Change) won’t be addressed until the next European Parliament and the next European Commission takeover in late 2014.
Ahead of the adoption of the Political Agreement on the ILUC dossier in the Energy Council on 12 December 2013, a group of NGOs put out a briefing on the biofuels policy review and on the three main issues in the debate: the cap for land-based biofuels, the weakening of the 20% RED target and the inclusion of ILUC factors for accounting purposes.
A cap such as the one proposed by the Commission and defended by the NGOs is just a clumsy attempt to find a quick remedy to issues that remained unsolved in 2009, bringing no evident benefit in the long term. In fact, such a black and white approach would not take into account the good performances of well-performing conventional biofuels such as sugarcane ethanol.
A couple of new reports released this month in Brussels carry a similar message: Sustainable biofuels, like sugarcane-based ethanol from Brazil, will need to play a significant role if the decarbonization of European transport is going to happen longer term.
There’s also another important message in the two studies, one by E4Tech and the other by CE Delft/TNO: the EU still has an opportunity — especially with a new Commission and new European Parliament taking over in 2014 — to cultivate the right policy environment in order to move industry toward producing more advanced biofuels and enabling higher blending rates of sustainably produced biofuels for gasoline and diesel.
In response to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unveiling a proposal that could cut next year’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) target for advanced biofuels by 20 percent, Leticia Phillips, the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association’s (known by the acronym “UNICA”) North American Representative issued the following statement.
As an indication of how the European Union biofuels dossier remains stuck in a holding pattern, the European Parliament’s Energy Committee has canceled a planned vote on whether to give the EU’s Parliament Rapporteur a mandate to hold negotiations with EU Member States and the European Commission to come up with a grand compromise on the dossier.
These inter-institution discussions are an important indication in the EU policymaking phase that signals that a conclusive policy text is likely to be around the corner. But this was not the case for the EU biofuels policy.
The United Nations’ Committee on World Food Security (CFS) met last week in Rome and, not surprisingly, biofuels were again at the centre of a hot debate. Governments, industry, civil society and academics all represented at the meeting could agree on an overall mild conclusion which asks for further assessment, given the very controversial topic to which they were confronted.
Ecofys, a well-respected Dutch consultancy, is out with a new study that effectively eviscerates the association of biofuels with “land grabbing,” that favorite charged-phrase NGOs pedal that industry is in the business of pushing locals off their land.
The meaty conclusion from Ecofys: “At best, only 0.5% of all deals in the Land Matrix concern land grabs for EU biofuels.”
The late U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan is often credited for quipping that everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but not to their own facts.
Fresh export data from Brazil reminded me of that saying because it will come as an unwelcome reality check for naysayers of sugarcane ethanol. Let’s turn to the facts to debunk two leading myths circulating around Washington, D.C. about Brazilian sugarcane ethanol.
The latest comments come from both Shell and BP America, producers and importers of renewable fuel, and a joint letter by the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) and the American Petroleum Institute (API), two trade associations that represent many importers of renewable fuel in the United States.
Sugarcane ethanol producers are stepping up our profile in the debate over the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). We’ve been active for a while sharing vital facts about clean, advanced biofuels like sugarcane ethanol and lending our expertise and support to policymakers currently exploring the issue. Here’s a quick update on our activities so far and future plans.
Sugarcane ethanol plays a modest but important role supplying the United States with clean renewable fuel. Last year, Brazilian sugarcane ethanol comprised only 3 percent of all renewable fuel consumed by Americans, but provided nearly one-quarter of the U.S. supply of advanced biofuels. These vital facts are getting lost in a debate that’s heating up in Washington, D.C., so sugarcane ethanol producers plan to step up our profile.
Most Americans who start the day stirring a spoonful of sugar into their coffee would be surprised to learn they generally pay more for the sweetener than residents of other countries buying it on the global market. Major American commodities traders track two prices for sugar – a world price and a more expensive U.S. price. Why the difference?
The day we have all been waiting for has come. Over the last few months, governments have been working on a document that needs signatures of more than 130 international leaders coming to Rio from all over the world. Keeping in line with the level of ambition associated with the summit the paper is called “The Future We Want”. It is meant to commit its signatories to do their best to put the world on a more sustainable development path and ultimately a green economy.
Today is Earth Day. And this year we have a number of reasons to celebrate it. Perhaps the most significant one is the chance to build the future we want. In June, the world will see Brazil hosting the largest forum ever in the history of the United Nations: Rio+20. The UN Conference on Sustainable Development represents a historic opportunity to define pathways to a more sustainable future. World leaders, along with thousands of participants from the private sector, NGOs and other groups, will come together to shape a more sustainable world where economic growth, poverty reduction, social equity and environmental protection go hand-in-hand.
As I write this, my Brazilian and American colleagues from government and private sector are working around the clock to ensure that President Dilma Rousseff’s trip to Washington D.C. on this upcoming Monday is a great success. Success for Brazil and success for the U.S. And because this is the President’s first trip to the U.S. in her current post it makes it all the more important. I am particularly glad that this meeting takes place at a time when the ethanol import tariff is an issue of the past. So, we can strike that item off the agenda once and for all.
When we created Sugarcane.org last year, our intent was to continuously provide pertinent information for a growing audience of people who wanted to learn more about different aspects from sugarcane: products, sustainability, benefits, the Brazilian experience, global policies and much more.
We wanted to let you know that we have just up-loaded additional information and materials on the website.
A lot. And the Americans will be the first to tell us.
After more than three decades, the U.S. government lifted its tariff on ethanol giving the American public greater access to and an increase in environmental benefits starting in 2012. This is clearly a significant step forward, but I can’t help but think that we are missing out here in Europe?
That’s the question many of us are grappling with today. With the aim of meeting environmental goals, the European Commission is now due to finalize the very last provisions of the sustainability criteria it established two years ago in both the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) and Fuel Quality Directive. The criteria were created as a mechanism to ensure that biofuels marketed in the European Union (EU) truly help in mitigating climate change and preserving biodiversity.
Last week, at the annual EU-Brazil Summit, the EU and Brazil have been discussing how to jointly tackle our global challenges – chief among them trade, climate change and economic growth. For the last four summits, leaders have pledged their unwavering commitment to work together. But were there actual results?
For five years now, European and Brazilian policy makers and officials convene to exchange views on big ticket issues for Brazil and the EU. This week they will meet in Brussels – what better place if you want to advance some critical issues between major trading blocs. The Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and business leaders plan to discuss ways to tackle common global challenges and work on strengthening ties between the EU and Brazil. Renewable energy is important to Brazil so we can safely assume it will feature on the agenda. As most involved parties, we too recognize that there is a lot to gain from a dynamic strategic partnership. Climate change, competitiveness, innovation and trade are global challenges, and they require global solutions. But most of all they require a genuine level playing field.
Brazilian consumers were shaken up in recent weeks by the steep price of ethanol at pumps throughout the country. People wonder why this happened and if it will happen again in the future. The most radical critics even said we could be facing a potential fuel shortage and raised doubts about the very future of ethanol. All of this calls for a careful analysis of the issues.
By 2050, the world’s population will add another 2.5 billion people who will need to eat and power their lives. Global energy needs will likely double, and carbon dioxide emissions could increase by 80 percent. These alarming figures help explain why global leaders are searching for clean, renewable options to provide energy and reduce petroleum use. Sugarcane can help.