Legal and Policy Challenges for the World Economy
New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series
Edited by Benjamin J. Richardson, Yves Le Bouthillier, Heather McLeod-Kilmurray and Stepan Wood
Chapter 13: Brazilian Policy on Biodiesels: A Sound Means of Mitigating Climate Change?
Solange Teles da Silva* and Carolina Dutra** 1. THE MAJOR ISSUES Climate change, resulting from the accumulation of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the atmosphere from anthropogenic activities, is the major twenty-first century challenge for humankind. Changes in precipitation, leading to floods, droughts and heat waves, as well as sea level rises and other ecological impacts, will have a profound impact on human life and the entire biosphere. Under the international regime of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its Kyoto Protocol, the climate system is presented as a shared resource the stability of which is a ‘common but differentiated responsibility’ of all nations to ensure. Yet, while developing countries do not have quantified GHG emission limitations or reduction obligations under the current international regime, their governments, including that of Brazil, have introduced some measures that could help address climate change. One such measure is the development of biofuels, which are touted by some people as a clean, renewable energy source. Already, biofuels have emerged as significant sources of energy in some countries. In 2003, renewable energy provided 13.3 per cent of the world’s total primary energy supply, with biofuels accounting for nearly 80 per cent of all renewable energy (Food and Agricultural Organization, 2007, p. 98). For several decades, Brazil has been the world’s leading producer and consumer of biofuels. Yet, even here, fossil fuels such as oil, coal and natural gas still account for about half of Brazil’s energy matrix (Brazil, Ministério de Minas...
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