IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

The sustainability of ethanol production from sugarcane

Listed author(s):
  • Goldemberg, José
  • Coelho, Suani Teixeira
  • Guardabassi, Patricia
Registered author(s):

    The rapid expansion of ethanol production from sugarcane in Brazil has raised a number of questions regarding its negative consequences and sustainability. Positive impacts are the elimination of lead compounds from gasoline and the reduction of noxious emissions. There is also the reduction of CO2 emissions, since sugarcane ethanol requires only a small amount of fossil fuels for its production, being thus a renewable fuel. These positive impacts are particularly noticeable in the air quality improvement of metropolitan areas but also in rural areas where mechanized harvesting of green cane is being introduced, eliminating the burning of sugarcane. Negative impacts such as future large-scale ethanol production from sugarcane might lead to the destruction or damage of high-biodiversity areas, deforestation, degradation or damaging of soils through the use of chemicals and soil decarbonization, water resources contamination or depletion, competition between food and fuel production decreasing food security and a worsening of labor conditions on the fields. These questions are discussed here, with the purpose of clarifying the sustainability aspects of ethanol production from sugarcane mainly in São Paulo State, where more than 60% of Brazil's sugarcane plantations are located and are responsible for 62% of ethanol production.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Energy Policy.

    Volume (Year): 36 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 6 (June)
    Pages: 2086-2097

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:36:y:2008:i:6:p:2086-2097
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    in new window

    1. Moreira, Jose R. & Goldemberg, Jose, 1999. "The alcohol program," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 229-245, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:36:y:2008:i:6:p:2086-2097. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.