Lula da Silva holding the first sample of H-Bio, Brazil's new kind of biodiesel
Recently we reported that biofuels would feature on the energy agenda of the G8 summit in St-Petersburg. Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who is one of the five leaders from developing nations invited at the Summit, wrote an op-ed piece on what he would say to G8 leaders.
The essay focuses on biofuels, and we pick it up there (see the full post for the entire article):
Summit offers chance to gain consensusMeanwhile, the G8 has adopted a document on Global Energy Security, which contains a section on the promotion of bioenergy world wide [§33-36].
BY LUIZ INACIO LULA DA SILVA
Energy security is another issue for which we need to find global solutions. Despite individual national energy needs, we all share the common challenge of ensuring access to clean energy from reliable suppliers at affordable prices.
It is with this aim that I will take to Saint Petersburg news of the successes Brazil has been achieving in developing biofuels. I want to share my enthusiasm for the excellent prospects of ethanol, biodiesel and H-bio (which is an innovative combination of vegetable oils and fossil fuels).
• First, these products constitute renewable energy alternatives, which allow us to diversify the world's energy supply while lessening the undesirable dependency on a limited number of sources and suppliers.
• Second, these products protect the environment, both by emitting fewer of the gases responsible for the greenhouse effect and by using agricultural wastes and depleted lands.
• Third, these biomass products are development tools with a strong positive impact on society. Given the abundance and variety of their feedstocks and the versatility of the technology employed, these products facilitate job creation on small and family farms, as well as in related industries. Moreover, they generate export revenue for countries that in many cases depend on a single export commodity and which now lack energy resources.
Using the full potential of biofuels, however, depends on creating new models of energy cooperation. We need to join efforts to create and disseminate these technologies and open up world markets for new fuels. Toward this end, Brazil proposes the creation of an Ethanol Forum that would gather together the major current or potential producers and consumers to assist in establishing international standards to deal with logistical and technical issues associated with production and supply of these fuels. It makes perfect sense for Brazil and the United States to work closely together toward the goal of a true globalization of biofuels, because our two countries together account for 70 percent of the current world production of ethanol.
Given that each country can produce and consume different kinds of biofuels, it's no longer a question of dividing up the world between producers and importers nor of creating new dependency relationships. Our aim is to maximize the advantages that these new sources of energy can produce, in terms of agricultural diversification, job creation and environmental conservation. The potential benefits of energy from biofuels are limitless, as are their sources of supply.
ethanol :: biodiesel :: biobutanol :: biomass :: bioenergy :: biofuels :: energy :: sustainability :: Africa ::
During the Group of Eight (G-8) Summit in Saint Petersburg this weekend, I will participate together with the leaders of the world's major industrial and emerging economies in an expanded dialogue -- begun in Evian, France, in 2003 and enhanced in Gleneagles, Scotland, in 2005 -- concerning important issues on the global agenda.
At a time when global challenges are increasing in the areas of trade liberalization, economic coordination, environmental protection and security, the Saint Petersburg meeting is a cause for optimism and hope.
President Vladimir Putin's invitation for Brazil and other developing countries to participate in the G-8 discussions is particularly praiseworthy because it contributes to international governance.
Discussions are now under way at the United Nations and in the Bretton Woods institutions regarding the need to reform some multilateral forums so that they better reflect the realities of the world today. The mechanism of the expanded G-8, even with its limitations, contributes to a more-legitimate debate on a new international order. After all, the major challenges the G-8 confronts are global issues that call for solutions involving the entire world.
My life experience, both as a labor leader and as a politician, has been forged through dialogue, through negotiations. I've learned that it is through candid conversations, looking into the eyes of one's interlocutors without giving up one's own convictions, that we can bridge differences and expand consensus. I am confident that at the Saint Petersburg meeting my colleagues and I will not fail to demonstrate political leadership and courage.
These virtues are particularly necessary at this juncture, when what is at stake is the very credibility and viability of the World Trade Organization, one of the pillars of multilateralism. In Saint Petersburg, we will have what may be our last opportunity to break the logjam of the Doha Round -- so that additional trade liberalization helps sustain the current period of solid growth in the world economy while providing leverage for development. Thus, we can break the cycle of inequities, which in so many cases is responsible for the extreme poverty and violence that especially afflict the poorest countries.
Political will needed
The ministerial meeting in Geneva, at the beginning of July, made patently obvious what everyone already knew: that negotiations conducted exclusively at a technical level cannot advance in the absence of political will.
For my part, I will take to the meeting Brazil's willingness to make the concessions that are within our reach for the purpose of reaching an agreement. I trust that my counterparts will take a similar approach because history surely will not forgive us if we fail to fulfill, for a few more years or even decades, the legitimate aspirations of the international community, particularly those of the most impoverished countries.
The other issues on the Saint Petersburg agenda call for equally ambitious and innovative initiatives.
In the field of education, for example, Brazil offers professional teacher training to poor countries, which could be financed, in part, by G-8 members. We also want to see an expansion for other countries of the program that converts poor country debts into investments in local educational programs.
We will also present a significant proposal that connects to two other issues: combating pandemics and introducing innovative mechanisms for financing development. This involves the establishment of an international central mechanism for purchasing medications to combat AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis in developing countries, to be funded by a dedicated international tax on airline tickets.
This plan is already being implemented in quite a few countries, including in Brazil.
We are all taking ambitious proposals and expectations to Saint Petersburg. I am confident that we will return home with new reasons for hope and a new commitment to global partnership and solidarity.
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was elected president of Brazil in 2002.
Source: Miami Herald.
More information: G8 adopted text on Global Energy Security - promoting bioenergy, § 33-37.