Generation of Alcohol Production Scenarios as Support for the Formulation of Public Policies Applied to the Adaptation of the National Sugar and Alcohol Industry to the Climate Changes (AlcScens)

FAPESP Research Program on Global Climate Change - Process 08/58160-5


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The theme of climate changes is no longer an issue restricted to academic area and became part of the everyday life of people and discussions subjects of national and international development policies, as the possibility of climate change is getting bigger in the most drastic way. Thus, the main approach recommended at this time is starting to develop ways, techniques and methods of adaptation of the human activities to these changes, because the costs and impacts of inaction can be very high. 

The agriculture and the cattle raising, while activities that directly depend on environmental conditions for its performance, may be severely affected by the climate changes, mainly in tropical regions. This is worrying for Brazil because of the importance of agribusiness to the economy and to society as a whole. Among the agricultural crops of great importance for the country, the sugar cane has a special feature in the context of climate change due to the expansion of the use of alcohol fuel in Brazil and in the world, in the coming years, as a way of mitigating the emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs). 

There is, first, a great interest in the expansion of areas for planting sugar cane aimed at meeting the growing demands of alcohol fuel, whereas, on the other hand, several justified restrictions by the potential impacts on the environment, in the food and nutritional security, in the demographic dynamics and in human health and, also, the concerns about the effects of climate change on agriculture. This expansion should be properly planned, also considering, the adaptation to the climate changes, so that Brazil does not miss a great opportunity for business and development, but also, does not have economic, social and environmental damages because of hasty decisions and without the necessary technical and scientific basis. 

This case shows that the great challenge is to adapt a complex productive system, with several inter-relations, to the climate changes, and as such will be handled in the Project by experts from several knowledge areas, such as, climatology, demographic dynamics, food and nutritional security, scientific communication, public policy, geo-processing, environment, human health and scientific and technological development. The tool to be used in the analysis on the capacitation of adaptation of the sugar and alcohol sector to the climate change and, in general, to the adaptability of the agribusiness as a whole, will be the scenery of the production of ethanol fuel and associated impacts.