The Global Empire of Biofuels
Last updated: July 25, 2007
July 9, 2007
David Gow in Brussels
Friday July 6, 2007
This time it looks as if the Middle East with its carnivals stands no chance against Rio.
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President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva told an EU-sponsored international conference that second-generation biofuels would help reduce the gap between rich and poor nations by enabling more than 100 countries to become producers, compared with the 20 which currently produce energy for the world's 200 states.
He said his country's use of biofuels had reduced its dependence on fossil fuels by 40% and created 6 million jobs while cutting deforestation by a half.
"I am convinced we can repeat these results in many poor and developing countries in Africa, Central America and the Caribbean," he said.
In return, the European commission president, José Manuel Barroso, and the EU trade commissioner, Peter Mandelson, agreed that Europe would have to slash its tariffs - now 70% - on Brazilian exports of bio-ethanol. The EU has set itself a binding target of 10% of all vehicle fuel to come from biofuels by 2020, but admits that much of this will be met by imports.
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The EU now gets 1.8% of its vehicle fuel from biofuels, including ethanol, but Mr Mandelson warned that imports had to be sustainable.
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July 10, 2007
This may well be the one single most important piece of news ever reposted on this blog under the tag of 'Arab oil'. The significance of it is hard to overestimate. The countdown to the end of the Middle East may have began.
WASHINGTON, July 6 — A powerful House Democrat said on Friday that he planned to propose a steep new “carbon tax” that would raise the cost of burning oil, gas and coal, in a move that could shake up the political debate on global warming.
The proposal came from Representative John D. Dingell of Michigan, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and it runs directly counter to the view of most Democrats that any tax on energy would be a politically disastrous approach to slowing global warming.
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July 11, 2007
Swedish Trade Minister has suggested the European Union (EU) to remove import tax on ethanol due to the increasing demand for renewable fuels including ethanol based fuels towards a cleaner environment on July 9, 2007.
The EU has set a target that biofuels are to make up 10 percent of the transport fuel supply by 2020 but the tax value imposed is currently between 40 and 75 percent, depending on the price of ethanol.
"It seems inconsistent to prevent imports of cost-effective ethanol at a time when the EU is trying to expand use of this fuel," Tolgfors said.
Since the demand for biodiesel and ethanol is likely to increase, a larger number of producing countries was also needed.
"In a longer time of frame, second generation cellulose-based ethanol production is likely to make European ethanol production more effective, and so competitive on the world market."
Currently on a world tour to promote the creation of a world market for biofuels, Tolgfors described Indonesia and Malaysia, both of which are planning on production of ethanol in the future, as having great potential.
July 25, 2007
This one comes from one of the big oil themselves. While not exactly calling for fuel tax, it comes close.
WASHINGTON, July 19 (Reuters) - ConocoPhillips Chief Executive James Mulva said on Thursday the U.S. government should encourage investment in alternative energy by providing "price insurance" to remove the risk from a drop in conventional energy prices.
He also suggested in a wide ranging speech on energy policy that the government should phase out tariffs on imported ethanol, saying they penalize lower-cost and less carbon-intensive imports. (Reporting by Chris Baltimore)
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