Latin America and the Caribbean

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Information on biofuels and bioenergy in the Latin America and Caribbean region.

Contents

Sub-regions / Countries

Click the country names to see pages about specific countries. (Blue links indicate pages that exist in the wiki; red links indicate pages that do not exist yet.)

Region-wide organizations/networks:

News

  • Africa: Stop Human Rights Abuses Fuelled By EU Biofuels Policy, Says Actionaid, 25 April 2012 by ActionAid (London): "As the European Commission is given an opportunity to revise the EU's biofuels targets in 2012, a new ActionAid report reveals that the EU continues to ignore that its biofuels policies are driving up global food prices and pushing people in poor countries off their land."
    • "'Fuel for thought' highlights that increased demand for biofuels may push global food prices to crisis levels; EU's biofuels policies alone could push up oilseed prices by up to 33%, maize by up to 22%, sugar by up to 21% and wheat by up to 10%, between now and 20201."
    • "Laura Sullivan, ActionAid's Head of European Advocacy said: 'If it continues to ignore the impacts of its biofuels policy on people living in some of the poorest parts of the planet, the EU will effectively be sponsoring hunger and human rights abuses on a massive scale'."
  • "The ActionAid report, launched at a biofuels debate with participants from the European Commission, United Nations, NGOs and business, shows how a series of dodgy deals by European companies have led to mass displacements and rights abuses in countries in Africa and Latin America." [3]
  • EU biofuel policy could defeat its environmental aims 9 April 2012 by Fredrik Erixon for New Staits Times: "Is it really in Europe's interest to provoke a trade war with emerging markets in Southeast Asia and Latin America over biofuels? Of course it is not. Yet open trade with these regions may become the first casualty when the European Union (EU) moves closer to restricting access to its markets for foreign producers of biofuels."
    • "At the centre of this emerging trade conflict is the Renewable Energy Directive (RED), a law with the noble ambition of substituting fossil fuels with biofuels, yet in a manner that espouses green protectionism in Europe."
    • " EU biofuel policy is generally prejudiced against foreign production. Production in Europe is both heavily subsidised and protected by tariffs, especially ethanol, with tariffs of up to 63 per cent. Total subsidies add up to between 25 and 35 per cent of the market price for the fuel. Unsurprisingly, biofuels consumption in the EU is heavily dependent on local production." [4]
  • Climate impact threatens biodiesel future in EU, 8 July 2011 by Reuters: "Europe's world-leading $13 billion biodiesel industry, which has boomed in the wake of a decision by Brussels policymakers in 2003 to promote it, is now on the verge of being legislated out of existence after the studies revealed biodiesel's indirect impact cancels out most of its benefits."
    • "Biofuels were once seen as a silver bullet for curbing transport emissions, based on a theory that they only emit as much carbon as they absorbed during growth."
    • "But that has been undermined by a new concept known as 'indirect land-use change' (ILUC), which scientists are still struggling to accurately quantify."
    • "'The experts unanimously agreed that, even when uncertainties are high, there is strong evidence that the ILUC effect is significant,' said the report from the Commission's November workshop."
    • "Biodiesel from Asian palm oil, South American soy beans, and EU rapeseed all had a bigger overall climate impact than conventional diesel, said a fourth leaked document."
    • "'Ethanol feedstocks have a lower land use change effect than the biodiesel feedstocks. For ethanol, sugar beet has the lowest land use emission coefficients,' said [an] IFPRI report."[5]
  • Small-scale farmers increasingly at risk from 'global land grabbing', 15 April 2011 by The Guardian: "Fresh evidence from Africa, Asia, Latin America and the former Soviet Union was presented last week at an international conference on 'global land grabbing' convened by the Land Deal Politics Initiative and hosted by the Future Agricultures Consortium at the Institute of Development Studies, where researchers revealed documentation of land deals amounting to over 80m hectares – almost twice what was previously estimated."
    • "With land deals accelerating, particularly in Africa, it is essential that the fine print of such deals is subject to careful scrutiny, and that transparent and accountable governance mechanisms are put in place."
    • "The rush to acquire land is driven by four factors: food price volatility and unreliable markets; the energy crisis and interest in agro-energy/biofuels; the global financial crisis; and a new market for carbon trading."
    • "The commodification and privatisation of land and the dispossession of farmers and herders is seldom taken into account in the boardrooms of corporations or in high-level meetings with governments."[6]
  • Boeing Releases Study On Jatropha Sustainable For Aviation Fuel, 3 April 2011 by AvStop.com: "Boeing released research conducted by Yale University's School of Environmental Studies showing significant potential for sustainable aviation fuel based on jatropha-curcas, an oil-producing, non-edible plant."
    • "The study shows that, if cultivated properly, jatropha can deliver strong environmental and socioeconomic benefits in Latin America and greenhouse gas reductions of up to 60 percent when compared to petroleum-based jet fuel."
    • "A key study finding identifies prior land-use as the most important factor driving greenhouse gas benefits of a jatropha jet fuel. If Jatropha is planted on land previously covered in forest, shrubs or native grasses, benefits may disappear altogether. If the crop is planted on land that was already cleared or degraded, then additional carbon is stored and emissions reductions can exceed the 60 percent baseline."
    • "A second important finding is that early jatropha projects suffered from a lack of developed seed strains, which led to poor crop yields. Advancing jatropha seed technology through private and government research is critical and many Latin American countries are now engaged in supporting such technology development."[7]
  • Boeing study: Biofuel shows ‘significant potential’, 31 March 2011 by Puget Sound Business Journal: "Boeing Co. said a study of using the jatropha-curcas plant as biofuel showed 'significant potential.'"
    • "Researchers studied the environmental and other benefits of the jatropha, an oil-producing and non-edible plant found in Mexico and Central America."
    • "'The study shows that, if cultivated properly, jatropha can deliver strong environmental and socioeconomic benefits in Latin America and greenhouse gas reductions of up to 60 percent when compared to petroleum-based jet fuel,' Boeing said in a statement."[8]
  • Biofuel jatropha falls from wonder-crop pedestal, 21 January 2011 by Reuters: "Jatropha, a biofuel-producing plant once touted as a wonder-crop, is turning out to be much less dependable than first thought, both environmentalists and industry players say."
    • "Some biofuel producers found themselves agreeing with many of the criticisms detailed in a report launched by campaign group Friends of the Earth this week -- 'Jatropha: money doesn't grow on trees.'"
    • "Jatropha has been widely heralded as a wonder plant whose cultivation on non-arable land in Africa, Asia and Latin America would provide biodiesel and jobs in poor countries without using farmland needed to feed growing numbers of local people."
    • "'The idea that jatropha can be grown on marginal land is a red herring,' Harry Stourton, Business Development Director of UK-based Sun Biofuels, which cultivates jatropha in Mozambique and Tanzania, told Reuters."[9]
  • Brazil airline successfully tests aviation biofuel, 23 November 2010 by Stan Lehman: "Brazil's largest airline announced Tuesday that it has successfully conducted what it called the first experimental flight in Latin America using aviation biofuel."
    • "The statement said the biofuel was mixed half and half with conventional aviation kerosene."
    • "Continental, Japan Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Air New Zealand and KLM have held similar experimental flights with biofuel produced from Jatropha and other materials such as coconut oil, algae and the camelina oil seed."[10]
  • UNECE Black Carbon Group Holds First Meeting, 28 June 2010 by Climate-L.org: "The first meeting of the Ad Hoc Expert Group on Black Carbon under the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) was held in Brussels, Belgium, on 17-18 June 2010."
    • "During the meeting, national experts and policymakers from Europe, North and South America and Asia reviewed the current state of black carbon research, discussed knowledge gaps, and explored future strategies for reducing the pollutant’s emissions."
    • "By the end of 2010, the Group, chaired by Norway and the US, is expected to provide options for potential revisions to the 1999 Gothenburg Protocol, enabling parties to the Convention to mitigate black carbon as part of a broader particulate matter strategy for health purposes and to achieve climate co-benefits."[13]
  • Agrofuels in the Americas: An Irrational Strategy, 28 April 2009 by Organic Consumers Association: "The Food First report, Agrofuels in the Americas (PDF file), looks back over the last several years of the ethanol/biodiesel boom. The authors conclude that using crop land to produce fuel is an irrational strategy – one that negatively affects climate change, the environment, food security, and rural development worldwide."
    • "According to a study in the report by Guatemalan researcher Dr. Laura Hurtado, the agrofuels boom has already led to 'considerable loss in the amount of land available for food cultivation' in Guatemala;...small family farmers are being pushed off their land, agribusiness firms are expanding colonial-style plantations, and the human right to food of thousands of indigenous farmers has been systematically violated."
    • "Similar evidence from Brazilian activist Maria Louisa Mendonça finds that 80% of Brazil's carbon dioxide emissions come from deforestation in the Amazon – largely driven by the expansion of soy monocultures....Mendonça debunks the myth that agrofuels are good for rural development in Brazil, citing numerous workers rights violations, industry concentration, health risks to workers, and land evictions."[15]
    • Download the Food First report, Agrofuels in the Americas (PDF file).
  • IDB lends $269 million for three Brazilian ethanol plants 23 July 2008 press release by the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) regarding the Board's approval of three loans today: “At a time of soaring food and energy prices, it is crucial to develop renewable fuels that don’t compete with food crops,” said IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno. “After examining the social, environmental and economic dimensions of these projects for more than a year, we concluded that they will produce clean and sustainable energy and provide quality jobs—without impacting food prices in any way."

Events

2011

2009

  • 22-23 April 2009, São Paulo, Brazil: BioPower Generation Americas. (Themes: Latin America, biomass, commercialization)
    • From the conference website: "The inaugural BioPower Generation Americas event will highlight the developments and opportunities in Latin America’s biomass power generation market. There is great potential in the region for bio power to satisfy the increasing demand for energy. Key issues to the development of the market include setting effective policies and developing secure, sustainable feedstock supplies. Another opportunity is the benefit of CDM as a co-financing option for biomass power generation. This event will look at the entire bio power generation value chain to evaluate the main opportunities for this continuously growing sector in Latin America." [16]

2008

Issues

Trade - The Caribbean Basin Initiative.


Latin America and the Caribbean edit

Regional institutions: Inter-American Development Bank (IDB Biofuels Sustainability Scorecard) | International Ethanol Commission
Caribbean Basin Initiative | Southern Agricultural Council
Organizations: LAC-CORE
Countries - Caribbean: Antigua & Barbuda | Aruba | Bahamas | Barbados | Cayman Islands | Cuba | Dominica | Dominican Republic | Grenada | Guadeloupe | Haiti | Jamaica | Martinique | Puerto Rico | St. Kitts and Nevis | St. Lucia | St. Vincent and the Grenadines | Trinidad & Tobago | Turks & Caicos Islands | Virgin Islands
Central America: Belize | Costa Rica | El Salvador | Guatemala | Honduras | Mexico | Nicaragua | Panama
South America: Argentina | Bolivia | Brazil | Chile | Colombia | Ecuador | French Guiana | Guyana | Paraguay | Peru | Suriname | Uruguay | Venezuela

Regions edit
Africa | Asia | Europe | Latin America and the Caribbean | Middle East | North America | Oceania & Pacific
See also: International cooperation | International organizations


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