Taking TNI's Advice: The Global Oil Rush
In the Summer 2006 issue of The National Interest, former National Security Advisor Robert C. McFarlane, in laying out a strategy for U.S. energy independence, observed:
"We cannot continue to depend on Persian Gulf hydrocarbons in the meantime as a secure source of supply. For the immediate future, therefore, we should be looking at two countries as integral partners in ensuring the energy security of the Western world.
The first is Brazil. In 1975, after the first oil shock, the Brazilian government made the decision to invest heavily in the technology of ethanol production so as to utilize the country's vast potential for growing sugar cane. Today, about 20 percent of the auto fuel in use in Brazil is ethanol. Brazil produces about 4.2 billion gallons of ethanol (and has about 50 percent of the global ethanol export market); indeed, Brazil has the capacity to become the Saudi Arabia of ethanol, and an important partner in ensuring America's energy security if only we would open our market to it. Today, while we do not tax oil imports, we impose what amounts to a $0.57 per gallon tariff on ethanol imports. Other Western Hemispheric countries with a climate suitable for sugar cane cultivation could become ethanol exporters as well. And Latin American ethanol can easily be exported to the United States via tankers."
Today, President George W. Bush and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva agreed to share technology to develop alternative fuels and have laid
the basis for a biofuels partnership between the United States and Brazil. While the agreement does not affect the tariff still levied against imports of Brazilian ethanol, this does create the basis for boosting the production of alternate fuels throughout the hemisphere.