<body> -------------------
Contact Us       Consulting       Projects       Our Goals       About Us
home » Archive » Bioenergy_trade
Nature Blog Network

    Spanish company Ferry Group is to invest €42/US$55.2 million in a project for the production of biomass fuel pellets in Bulgaria. The 3-year project consists of establishing plantations of paulownia trees near the city of Tran. Paulownia is a fast-growing tree used for the commercial production of fuel pellets. Dnevnik - Feb. 20, 2007.

    Hungary's BHD Hõerõmû Zrt. is to build a 35 billion Forint (€138/US$182 million) commercial biomass-fired power plant with a maximum output of 49.9 MW in Szerencs (northeast Hungary). Portfolio.hu - Feb. 20, 2007.

    Tonight at 9pm, BBC Two will be showing a program on geo-engineering techniques to 'save' the planet from global warming. Five of the world's top scientists propose five radical scientific inventions which could stop climate change dead in its tracks. The ideas include: a giant sunshade in space to filter out the sun's rays and help cool us down; forests of artificial trees that would breath in carbon dioxide and stop the green house effect and a fleet futuristic yachts that will shoot salt water into the clouds thickening them and cooling the planet. BBC News - Feb. 19, 2007.

    Archer Daniels Midland, the largest U.S. ethanol producer, is planning to open a biodiesel plant in Indonesia with Wilmar International Ltd. this year and a wholly owned biodiesel plant in Brazil before July, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday. The Brazil plant is expected to be the nation's largest, the paper said. Worldwide, the company projects a fourfold rise in biodiesel production over the next five years. ADM was not immediately available to comment. Reuters - Feb. 16, 2007.

    Finnish engineering firm Pöyry Oyj has been awarded contracts by San Carlos Bioenergy Inc. to provide services for the first bioethanol plant in the Philippines. The aggregate contract value is EUR 10 million. The plant is to be build in the Province of San Carlos on the north-eastern tip of Negros Island. The plant is expected to deliver 120,000 liters/day of bioethanol and 4 MW of excess power to the grid. Kauppalehti Online - Feb. 15, 2007.

    In order to reduce fuel costs, a Mukono-based flower farm which exports to Europe, is building its own biodiesel plant, based on using Jatropha curcas seeds. It estimates the fuel will cut production costs by up to 20%. New Vision (Kampala, Uganda) - Feb. 12, 2007.

    The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has decided to use 10% biodiesel in its fleet of public buses. The world's largest city is served by the Toei Bus System, which is used by some 570,000 people daily. Digital World Tokyo - Feb. 12, 2007.

    Fearing lack of electricity supply in South Africa and a price tag on CO2, WSP Group SA is investing in a biomass power plant that will replace coal in the Letaba Citrus juicing plant which is located in Tzaneen. Mining Weekly - Feb. 8, 2007.

    In what it calls an important addition to its global R&D capabilities, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) is to build a new bioenergy research center in Hamburg, Germany. World Grain - Feb. 5, 2007.

    EthaBlog's Henrique Oliveira interviews leading Brazilian biofuels consultant Marcelo Coelho who offers insights into the (foreign) investment dynamics in the sector, the history of Brazilian ethanol and the relationship between oil price trends and biofuels. EthaBlog - Feb. 2, 2007.

    The government of Taiwan has announced its renewable energy target: 12% of all energy should come from renewables by 2020. The plan is expected to revitalise Taiwan's agricultural sector and to boost its nascent biomass industry. China Post - Feb. 2, 2007.

    Production at Cantarell, the world's second biggest oil field, declined by 500,000 barrels or 25% last year. This virtual collapse is unfolding much faster than projections from Mexico's state-run oil giant Petroleos Mexicanos. Wall Street Journal - Jan. 30, 2007.

    Dubai-based and AIM listed Teejori Ltd. has entered into an agreement to invest €6 million to acquire a 16.7% interest in Bekon, which developed two proprietary technologies enabling dry-fermentation of biomass. Both technologies allow it to design, establish and operate biogas plants in a highly efficient way. Dry-Fermentation offers significant advantages to the existing widely used wet fermentation process of converting biomass to biogas. Ame Info - Jan. 22, 2007.

    Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited is to build a biofuel production plant in the tribal belt of Banswara, Rajasthan, India. The petroleum company has acquired 20,000 hectares of low value land in the district, which it plans to commit to growing jatropha and other biofuel crops. The company's chairman said HPCL was also looking for similar wasteland in the state of Chhattisgarh. Zee News - Jan. 15, 2007.

    The Zimbabwean national police begins planting jatropha for a pilot project that must result in a daily production of 1000 liters of biodiesel. The Herald (Harare), Via AllAfrica - Jan. 12, 2007.

    In order to meet its Kyoto obligations and to cut dependence on oil, Japan has started importing biofuels from Brazil and elsewhere. And even though the country has limited local bioenergy potential, its Agriculture Ministry will begin a search for natural resources, including farm products and their residues, that can be used to make biofuels in Japan. To this end, studies will be conducted at 900 locations nationwide over a three-year period. The Japan Times - Jan. 12, 2007.

    Chrysler's chief economist Van Jolissaint has launched an arrogant attack on "quasi-hysterical Europeans" and their attitudes to global warming, calling the Stern Review 'dubious'. The remarks illustrate the yawning gap between opinions on climate change among Europeans and Americans, but they also strengthen the view that announcements by US car makers and legislators about the development of green vehicles are nothing more than window dressing. Today, the EU announced its comprehensive energy policy for the 21st century, with climate change at the center of it. BBC News - Jan. 10, 2007.

    The new Canadian government is investing $840,000 into BioMatera Inc. a biotech company that develops industrial biopolymers (such as PHA) that have wide-scale applications in the plastics, farmaceutical and cosmetics industries. Plant-based biopolymers such as PHA are biodegradable and renewable. Government of Canada - Jan. 9, 2007.

Creative Commons License

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Ted Turner: biofuels "key" to revive WTO trade negotiations

Very important news. Earlier we hinted at the fact that biofuels might revive the collapsed WTO trade negotiations known as the Doha Development Round which is aimed at creating a global trade regime that is more fair to the developing world. No major news source however looked at this potential role of biofuels in the negotiations. As we have written on numerous occasions, our mission at the Biopact is to make the case that it is time to get rid of EU/US agricultural subsidies and trade barriers (which are the cause of the deadlock), and to open the market to biofuels produced by developing countries. The resulting 'win win' situation would bring millions of jobs to the world's poorest, cut their energy bill, increase energy security in the West, bring the EU/US abundant and competitive biofuels (unlike their own which need subsidies) and bring a more equitable distribution of capital and wealth on a global scale.

Now CNN/AOL Time Warner boss Ted Turner thinks biofuels are indeed the key to resolve the deadlocked trade negotiations and he sums up the exact same reasons as we have been doing here. He urges negotiators to save Doha, using bioenergy as the lever.

Turner told a public forum at the World Trade Organization yesterday that biofuels — liquid fuels made from plants and trees, including biodiesel for trucks and generators and ethanol for cars and cooking — can do more than fight global scourges like pollution and global warming.

They can also solve the bitter dispute that scuttled the commerce body’s trade liberalization talks two months ago by providing rich countries a means of keeping their farmers in business, instead of doggedly subsidizing products that can be farmed more cheaply in poor nations, such as cotton, sugar beets or cane and rice.

The Doha round of trade talks was launched in Qatar’s capital in 2001 with the aim of boosting the global economy by lowering trade barriers across all economic sectors, with a particular focus on helping developing countries by boosting their export growth.

The talks came to a screeching halt in July, largely over the unwillingness of rich countries like the United States, the 25-nation European Union and Japan to offer deeper cuts in subsidies paid to farmers or ease access to their agricultural markets for foreign goods. Recent meetings in Brazil and Australia have only confirmed the deep divisions among the organization’s 149 members.

"I would have preferred to stand in front of you under different, more encouraging circumstances since it is always easier to find your way to the door with the lights on," WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy told the forum of academics, activists and government officials. "We missed an important opportunity to advance our plea for a stronger multilateral trading system," Lamy said.

Turner talked of the promising opportunities in corn, sugar beets and sugar cane that can be converted into ethanol, and palm, soy and rapeseed oil that can be transferred into biodiesel. These sources, he said, would provide poor countries with local jobs through substituting the fuels for oil imports:

:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

He said subsidies and tariffs should be replaced by support for biofuels. "Farmers have always grown crops for food and fibre," Mr Turner said. "Today, farmers can grow crops for food, fuel and fibre. The global demand for biofuels is huge and rising. "That's why I'm confident that in the near future, farmers' incomes will be assured, not by subsidies and tariffs, but by market forces."

Mr Turner was speaking in his role as chairman of the United Nations Foundation, which was set up in 1998 after he gave $1bn to support UN causes and activities.

The UN Foundation is promoting the production and use of biofuels in developing countries and wants to attract more foreign and domestic investment in the area.

"By investing in biofuels, developing countries can produce their own domestic transportation fuels, cut their energy costs, improve public health, create new jobs in the rural economy and ultimately build export markets," Mr Turner said:

It is very interesting to hear Mr Turner's ideas, but of course many questions remain: Turner rejected a question later at a media conference concerning how biofuel production can be safeguarded against new forms of subsidies. It is unclear what protection poor countries would have under WTO rules for protecting biofuel producers from competitors in rich countries aided by government subsidies.

Moreover, nothing would change if the West were merely to replace its agricultural subsidies for food and fibre crops, and transfer them to energy farming. So it remains to be seen how this proposal will be worked out technically.

But one thing is certain, if tariffs and subsidies in the EU and the US are removed, and if a global level playing field for trade is created, then the developing world has an enormous opportunity to benefit and lift millions out of poverty by producing and exporting biofuels to these markets. The global South has the competitive advantage: plenty of unused arable land, suitable agro-ecological conditions, where tropical crops with high yields can be grown.

We will follow up very closely on this issue and report back as soon as more details emerge.

More information:

Forbes: Turner Sees Biofuels As Key To Trade - Sept. 25, 2006

International Herald Tribune / Associated Press: Ted Turner tells WTO of benefits in biofuel use - Sept. 25, 2006

BBC: Biofuels 'answer' to trade talks - Sept. 25, 2006

MercoPress: Biofuels could be key at WTO - Sept. 25, 2006

South Africa Business Report: Let green energy rescue Doha negotiations, says Ted Turner - Sept. 25, 2006

India Business Domain: Biofuels can break WTO deadlock, says Ted Turner - Sept. 25, 2006


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home