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Clean energy policies for China: the case of ethanol

  • Marcos Fava Neves
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    Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to discuss the need of sustainability in its three major pillars for the future: profit, planet and people. Actions for companies and governments are listed, and a more in-depth discussion is performed towards one of the most viable clean and renewable fuels used by society until nowadays, ethanol. The basics of this industry, the experience of Brazil in 40 years of usage of this fuel to the car fleet and recent developments are raised. Design/methodology/approach – Traditional case study methodology is used to focus the analysis on the sugarcane industry in Brazil. This case study of this industry, together with previous projects done in 15 years of experience in this industry, is used to reach the objective of showing how this integrated chain works and addressing the importance of ethanol as an energy alternative for China. Findings – China can start adopting an E10 policy (10 percent of anhydrous ethanol blended to gasoline) to contribute to reduce transport pollution in major cities. In order to have ethanol, China may invest more in the country to produce ethanol from cane and from cellulosic sources. Instead of importing oil, substitute part of its imports and consumption towards ethanol, bringing a clean fuel to the country to be blended with gasoline. China can also develop second generation ethanol to be used and generate jobs and invest in producing ethanol in some African countries and even invest in ethanol production in Brazil and import to China. Research limitations/implications – The paper is a suggestion of policies, based on the experience of Brazil. Further debate should be done to deepen the analysis of all possible points listed. It is based on a case study of one industry. Practical implications – There is a preliminary suggestion of policies and strategies for the Chinese Government, together with possible partnership models and benefits to society. Social implications – China can reduce dependencies on oil and on some unstable environments; generate jobs and employment; increase relationship with Brazil and African nations, which will be future suppliers of food also to China; reduce pollution in large cities, improving the quality of the air; possibilities of international investments for Chinese people and companies, making profits outside China and repatriating this resources and contribution to mitigate climate change over the world. Originality/value – The paper brings to Chinese community information about one of the most competitive bioenergy programs on the world and suggests possible ways of partnering towards sustainable development.

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    Article provided by Emerald Group Publishing in its journal China Agricultural Economic Review.

    Volume (Year): 2 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 4 (November)
    Pages: 472-483

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    Handle: RePEc:eme:caerpp:v:2:y:2010:i:4:p:472-483
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