Brazil to launch international pro-ethanol campaign

May 17th, 2008 - 7:20 am ICT by admin  

Lima/Rio de Janeiro, May 17 (DPA) The Brazilian government plans to launch an international campaign to defend the use of ethanol as an alternative to oil-derived fuels, a key advisor to Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said Friday in Lima. On the sidelines of the European Union-Latin America and the Caribbean (EU-LAC) summit in the Peruvian capital, Marco Aurelio Garcia, Lula’s main advisor on international affairs, described as “nonsense” the environmental criticism that claims that ethanol production leads to an increase in the destruction of the Amazon.

Garcia stressed that biofuels are “a highly positive factor for environmental conservation” and noted that the Brazilian government, which along with the US is responsible for over 70 percent of the world’s ethanol production, intends to counter criticism with an “international advertising campaign.”

Lula’s advisor agreed with the Brazilian president that criticism to ethanol springs from “a campaign of international oil firms.”

“Oil firms are not interested (in the production of biofuels). The only one that is interested is (Brazilian state oil company) Petrobras,” Garcia said.

He explained that Lula intends to organize an international scientific convention in Brazil at an unspecified date to promote debate among experts for and against biofuels, to “definitively clear that question”.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel Wednesday signed a deal on biofuels with Brazil, amid criticism within both countries over the deal’s possible impact on the rainforest and over the conditions of workers in plantations that grow sugar cane for biofuels.

The environmental organization Greenpeace, in turn, Thursday protested biofuel production at the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, in southeastern Peru, claiming ethanol will have a severe impact on the native forests of Latin America.

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