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November 3, 2008
Brazil pioneers energy independence with ethanol

For years now — and throughout this year’s U.S. presidential campaign — Americans have been debating how to achieve energy independence.

Brazil is the second largest producer of ethanol after the U.S., which uses corn rather than sugarcane.

Even though the global financial crisis has hit the Brazilian ethanol industry hard, global demand for sugarcane-based ethanol is growing. Brazil expects to harvest 12 percent more cane than last year and plans to increase exports by 25 percent.

Correspondent Edie Magnus and Producer Bryan Myers report from Brazil, where ethanol has transformed the country’s transportation.

For more on worldwide use of ethanol and other fuel, see our map on global energy.

See blogger reactions to ethanol use below.


Though Brazilian ethanol has been touted as a model for success, growing demand could push cane growers into the forests and contribute to massive deforestation.

“Rick’s Blog” says Brazil’s experience with pollution showcases the downside of energy reform.

In contrast, The “Automotions” blog praises the Brazilian ethanol industry as a “brilliant” program that will lead to energy independence.

David Morton writes in the “Rabbit Valley Road” blog supports Brazil’s efforts and decries corn-based ethanol.

The “AutoBlogGreen” details the arrival of a new car to Brazil — modified to suit Brazilians’ taste for ethanol fuel.

Last year, President George Bush signed a deal with his Brazilian counterpart, Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, to develop alternative fuel sources.

In an October debate between John McCain and Barack Obama, the former said that unlike his opponent, he would eliminate the tariff on ethanol from Brazil and oppose subsidies.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user visionshare under a Creative Commons license.

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1 comment


Didn’t know exactly where to put this comment, but kudos again for your video player–it’s the best I’ve found on the web. If only your colleagues at the WSJ would use it ;-) Anyway, it makes your site a daily destination.

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