Brazil's biofuel industry in full swing

It was announced last week that two universities, one in Brazil and one in China, are to partner on developing climate change technologies. The result is the creation of the “Brazil-China Center for Innovative Technologies, Climate Change and Energy”.

Such collaborations are more than symbolic, and are needed if new technologies are to be shared quickly around the globe. It is significant that the countries in partnership are two of the so-called “BRICS”. I have written before about the needs of technology transfer to allow developing countries to adapt to climate change quickly enough.

One project will look at different ways of estimating GHG emissions, to feed into mitigation policies. Less welcome is that biofuels will be one of the centre’s initial research areas, mapping sources in Brazil and China, and developing common approaches to their exploitation.

It is well-documented that biofuels do not always reduce emissions when their entire production cycle is considered, and it is generally agreed that their exploitation played no small role in the global food price spike of 2008. However, if this collaboration results in the agenda moving towards more sustainable types of biofuels (if such a thing is possible), then is it to be welcomed.

In any case, such collaboration between research institutions is welcome if new technologies are to be shared quickly, and hopefully this new centre will bring fresh thinking.

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