WASHINGTON – The United States and Brazil have announced a new partnership to boost research on and production of ethanol and other alternative fuels.
Accord. The accord, signed in Brazil March 9, calls for increased research and common standards for biofuels to be commercialized in international markets. Together, the United States and Brazil account for 70 percent of global ethanol production.
“There’s a lot we can do together. I appreciate so very much the idea of Brazil and America sharing research and development opportunities,” President Bush said March 9 in a joint appearance with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, following a tour of an ethanol research facility outside Sao Paulo, Brazil.
In Brazil, the leaders said the pact between the world’s leading ethanol producers would bolster global energy security while providing new environmentally friendly economic opportunities for farmers across the Americas.
Cooperation. Under a memorandum signed earlier in the day by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Brazil Foreign Minister Celso Amorim, the two nations pledged closer cooperation on researching alternative energy production, promoting alternative fuels in the region and developing industry-wide standards and codes that could lay the groundwork for a global biofuels market.
“It makes a lot of sense for countries like China and India to understand the potentials of alternative sources of energy,” Bush said.
In his Jan. 23 State of the Union address to Congress, Bush said reducing dependence on oil and addressing global climate change by reducing the use of fossil fuels are top priorities for his administration.
The president called on Congress to support his initiative to reduce gasoline consumption by 20 percent over the next decade from consumption levels projected by the Department of Energy if no action is taken.
U.S.-Brazilian energy cooperation arose from the president’s previous visit to Brazil in 2005, when Lula briefed Bush on his country’s progress in ethanol production and “flex-fuel” vehicles.
Production. Eight in 10 new cars in Brazil run on ethanol produced from sugar cane, which experts say is 33 percent cheaper to produce in Brazil than in the United States.
The United States depends on maize for its ethanol production. Production of biodiesel, which can be manufactured from plant oils derived from African palm, sunflowers, cotton seeds, castor beans and other sources, would help Brazilian farmers, too, particularly in the country’s northern region, Lula said, where many of these plants are native and abundant.
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