Brazil's Lula to talk up alternative fuels at G8 summit
By Chris Cermak Jul 15, 2006, 13:43 GMT
Washington - Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will make the case for alternative fuels and relay his own country's experiences, at a meeting with world leaders at the G8 summit in St Petersburg, Lula wrote in The Wall Street Journal Friday.
As oil prices once again climbed to record highs on Friday, Lula said that ethanol, produced in Brazil from sugar cane, had played a 'decisive role' in his country's achieving energy independence.
Lula, along with the leaders of China, India, Mexico and South Africa, has been invited for an 'outreach session' in the Russian city on Monday, the last day of the G8 meeting, for talks on combating poverty and boosting global development.
Ethanol currently provides about 40 per cent of Brazil's fuel for cars, while flex-fuel cars, developed in 2003, have allowed car owners the option each day of filling their tanks with ethanol or petrol.
Lula will also meet with US President George W Bush on Monday in St Petersburg to discuss greater cooperation in this area. Brazil is the world's largest ethanol producer, with the US a close second. Together the two countries produce about 70 per cent of the world's ethanol production.
In the Journal op-ed piece, Lula said he would call for a greater use of alternative fuel technologies in developing countries, as a means of combating poverty.
'In poor countries, production of ethanol and biodiesel can have an extremely positive impact,' Lula wrote, adding that it could create jobs and help rural populations in particular.
Sugar cane, one of the best ways of producing ethanol, grows best in tropical climates, potentially offering poorer African and Caribbean nations a chance to take advantage of the high global demand for energy.
Ethanol has been produced in Brazil since the 1970s, replacing about 800 million barrels of oil in the past 30 years, equivalent to two years of current oil production in Brazil, Lula wrote.
Lula admitted that the use of ethanol would not cure all current fuel supply problems, but insisted that it could become 'a key part of the solution.'
British Prime Minister Tony Blair earlier this year also advocated that ethanol be produced in African countries, with the help of a cooperation agreement between Great Britain and Brazil.
The G8 summit in St Petersburg is expected to lead to further deals between industrialized nations and Brazil to promote the production of ethanol in poor countries.
The South American country already has an agreement with the United States to promote the use of ethanol globally.
Lula insisted that Brazil was not seeking to achieve a 'dominant global position' in the ethanol sector, but wanted to globalize the industry and pass on its technology instead.
The Brazilian president was scheduled to leave Brazil Friday night, and is expected to travel to Russia with the Brazilian minister for development, industry and foreign trade, Luiz Fernando Furlan.© 2006 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur