Will Brazil-US's ethanol alliance threaten the Amazon rain forest?

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The Brazilian President is scheduled to meet the United States counterpart later this week. Both the presidents are expected to forge a proposed ethanol alliance in the meeting. Though this alliance may bring in foreign economy and other opportunities to both the countries, it may also pose risks for the environment.

Am sure, a top U.N. environmental official, Achim Steiner, executive director of the U.N. Environment Program would support this. He also justifies on it saying, that with the increase in international demands for ethanol and other biofuels, the Amazon rain forest would be threatened more and more, provided safeguards are not put in place.

This is because; the largest remaining tropical wilderness of the world is the agriculture’s target area. A justification of the fear, the main bio-fuel of Brazil is ethanol made from sugarcane. And, sugarcane is now cultivated to its minimum in the Amazon.

This situation is raising fear among some environmentalists that increase in demands for the fuel could eventually force cane growers into the rainforest!

According to The Associated Press, after meeting with Brazil’s ministers of environment, energy and foreign relations in the capital of Brasilia, Steiner told,

I think at the end of the day … it’s a question of whether the Amazon is sufficiently protected and whether the expansion of the ethanol production happens in the context of government policies that try and direct that growth potential in a sustainable base.

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