Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Join Brazil in planting oil

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Join Brazil in planting oil: Only radical solutions will overcome the energy and environmental crises while promoting equality

"Rich countries have unsustainable patterns of production and consumption. They are responsible for 41% of total carbon dioxide emissions, and their overall consumption of raw materials is four times greater than that of all other countries combined. With those conditions, there is no possibility of a sustainable future.

When I began my term of office, the rate of deforestation in Brazil had been increasing by an average of 27% per year. From the second half of 2004 onwards, however, we put measures in place to monitor tree-felling and to address the issue of land distribution, with the result that the rate of deforestation has fallen dramatically. In a country that suffers from profound social inequalities, however, the success of environmental policy ultimately depends more than anything on economic and social measures that are themselves geared towards the preservation of our environment.

More than 40% of Brazil's energy comes from "green" sources, in comparison with around 7% in rich countries.

The ethanol Brazil produces from sugar cane is attracting worldwide interest, for it is one of the cheapest and most dependable types of fuel derived from renewable sources. Three-quarters of the cars now being produced in Brazil have "flex-fuel" engines, capable of running on either ethanol or petrol, or any mixture of the two."

· Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is the president of Brazil.

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