BP's sugar cane climate vandalism in Brazil - your signature wanted!

The oil giant BP plans to invest the equivalent of 4 billion euros in Brazil to produce ethanol from sugar cane. Its first factory started up last year, the second is in planning. Together they’ll produce 870 million litres a year. There’s lots of money to be made currently with ethanol, which is mixed in with motor fuels as supposed “biofuel” to pretty up the climate statistics. The gigantic sugar cane monocultures needed for this are destroying the Cerrado savannahs and rain forests in Brazil. Lend your signature to a campaign to try to stop this wholesale destruction by going to  http://www.regenwald.org.


In its 100th year BP is making vast profits. With lots of cash to spend the third largest oil company is more and more turning into a general energy supplier.
On that path BP does not shrink from tapping the last oil reserves, such as oil sands in Canada, or from investing in agrofuels that take away the living space of people, animals and plants.
Agrofuel devastation is especially visible in Brazil. In the words of President Lula da Silva, the country sees itself as the “green Saudi Arabia of the South”.

He offers enterprises ideal conditions to invest in gigantic monocultures and industrial installations for agrofuel.

This at the cost of rain forests, precious water resources, soils and people whose sustenance foundations are being taken away.

And all that in the cloak of climate protection through “biofuel”. No wonder BP is coming to the feast.

In the federal state Goiás, southwest of the capital Brasilia, stands Tropical Bioenergia, BP’s new Brazilian acquisition.

Situated in the heart of the Cerrado savannah, the industrial complex started operation a year ago.

Now sugar cane plantations are shooting up in the area like mushrooms, displacing food production, with no end in sight to the displacement push.

While cattle farmers and soya growers are pushing further north in the Cerrado and into the rain forests, the vast green cane desert has already grown to 458,000 hectares in Goiás; about 60,000 hectares feed the BP ethanol refinery.

BP lobbying is in full swing. In the US the corporation is working to have import duties on Brazilian ethanol scrapped. It also wants it made easier for ethanol to enter Europe.

For years the association of the Brazilian sugar cane industry, UNICA, has been pounding on the doors of the EU Commission and EU Parliament to try to smooth the path.

And that’s worked. In May 2008 the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, signed a German-Brazilian energy agreement in Brazil.

Although they know better, German politicians have fallen for the populist enticement of agrofuel.

Step on the gas with fuel from the field is the message BP is drumming home, touting itself as climate protector.

In Germany, where BP owns 2,400 petrol stations of the Aral brand and operates the Castrol brand, ethanol is admixed to petrol for cars. That pretties up the German climate numbers, while in Brazil the Cerrado savannah and rain forests go up in flames, true to BP’s anniversary motto: 100 years of operating at the frontiers.

There’s a letter ready for you to sign at  http://www.regenwald.org. Or do your own to BP p.l.c. , Mr Tony Hayward, CEO , 1 St James's Square London SW1Y 4PD, UK , Tel +44 (0)20 7496 4000; Fax +44 (0)20 7496 4630,  tony.hayward@bp.com, copy to: Mr Carlos Minc, Environmental Minister, Environmental Ministry, Esplanada dos Ministérios, Bloco B, 5º andar 70068-900 - Brasília – DF, Brasil, Phone: +55-3317-1058/1289; Fax: +55-3317-1755,  carlos.minc@mma.gov.br.