Dec 21, 2022
In Panama City, Panama, U.S. Grains Council staff in Latin America and the Caribbean (LTA) participated in the VII Energy Week organized by the Latin American Energy Organization (OLADE), the Energy Secretariat of Panama and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), in collaboration with EnergyNet.
Delegates from more than 21 countries attended the event, the most relevant in the region, to discuss energy-related topics, including governments, companies, academia and international agencies. Issues highlighted in this year’s Energy Week edition included innovation in the energy sector; access and efficiency; sustainable energy development; renewable energies; regional security; and integration mechanisms.
Juan Sebastian Diaz, USGC Latin America regional ethanol consultant, participated in the “Sustainable Mobility” session to discuss opportunities and challenges facing biofuels and electromobility in the region. Diaz was joined on the panel by representatives from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the IDB, U.N. Environment Programme, the World Bank (WB) and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA).
“During the panel, the Council was able to demonstrate that biofuels, and particularly ethanol, are still valid within the region as one of the most efficient and easily accessible mechanisms to meet the international call to decarbonize the transportation system in their respective countries,” Diaz said. “We highlighted the momentum that Central America is having by embracing biofuels programs in the near future and encouraged the audience to expand ethanol usage based on their current capabilities.”
According to OLADE, the transportation sector in Latin America and the Caribbean is responsible for nearly 22 percent of the emissions of short-lived climate pollutants and represents 15 percent of total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. If the trend scenario continues, it is estimated that GHG emissions will increase by 50 percent by 2050. Transportation is one of the primary sources of air pollution in cities, strongly impacting public health.
In this sense, biofuels, especially ethanol produced from corn, emerge as a sustainable option to provide efficient fuel and help reduce carbon dioxide (C02) emissions in the transportation sector. The Council has a regional incidence strategy in the area to promote public policies favorable to biofuels, as well as to achieve higher blends of ethanol mixed with gasoline and reduce trade barriers to the entry of U.S. ethanol.
“We believe the Council’s participation in this important event helps create awareness of government officials in the region about the role of biofuels in the energy transition,” Diaz said. “During the panel, attendees agreed that ethanol is a simple, practical and economical way to decarbonize the region’s transportation system.”
The Council engages governments and industries across the Latin America and Caribbean region to develop the ethanol market and promote sales of U.S. ethanol. USGC ethanol promotion efforts focus on at least four areas, including demonstrating the environmental and human health benefits of ethanol; working with local leaders to develop biofuels policies with a role for trade; addressing trade barriers and logistical constraints to imports; and showing ethanol’s value as a source of octane.
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