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Master Thesis

The revolution of biofuels, at what price? A case study on the programs for indian biodiesel and brazilian bioethanol

Abstract : Since the beginning of the 2000s, the world has witnessed a craze for biofuels, as fossil fuel prices started to dangerously skyrocket. In this paper we analyse two major biofuel programs that will provide the reader with an overview of the issues at stake in current production of crop-based fuels. On the one hand, it will be analysed the Brazilian bioethanol program - whose inception dates back to 1975, the period when the world experienced its tirst oil crisis - and on the other hand its Indian biodiesel counterpart, created in 2003 as a response to current oil prices surge. Both programs had a common economic "raison d'être", as their main purpose was to curb national dependence on oil fuels, whereas concerns in the social and environmental fields have been subsidiary. The comparison between both programs will stress the extent to which classic (economic) but also more recent (environmental and social) world concerns have been addressed. At a moment when the debate on food security has reached its height, we will focus our analysis on the sustainability of both biofuel programs. To do so, this paper will analyse recent political discourses and national strategies in order to apprehend the underlying logic of both projects ; one can easily draw the conclusion that economic concerns very often prevailed in biofuel strategies, with little attention being paid to the potential impacts of the program on the society and on the environment - even though India's choice to grow jatropha as the main feedstock for its biofuel program relied on hopes that it would avoid conflict between fuel and foodstuff production. The comparison between both programs will also allow us to sketch a set of good management practices to be undertaken in the field of biofuels, which we will draw on from the analysis of the Brazilian "success story" and from its public policy choices. In the light of tbis experience, the Indian case can be regarded as a counter-example, but it highlights the difficulties that many biofuel newcomers will have to face. Good management is not the only key for a sustainable biofuel program, as social and environmental aspects (cf. land-availability, protection of forests) must be taken into account according to the specificities of each country.
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Master Thesis
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Submitted on : Tuesday, April 9, 2013 - 4:55:32 PM
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  • HAL Id : dumas-00809717, version 1



Diego Juca Donizeth. The revolution of biofuels, at what price? A case study on the programs for indian biodiesel and brazilian bioethanol. Political science. 2008. ⟨dumas-00809717⟩



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