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Cablegate: Brazil: International Conference On Biofuels, November

VZCZCXRO2361
RR RUEHRG
DE RUEHBR #1393/01 2971251
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 231251Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY BRASILIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2712
INFO RUEHRG/AMCONSUL RECIFE 8614
RUEHRI/AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO 6778
RUEHSO/AMCONSUL SAO PAULO 2951
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA 4019
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEHRC/USDA FAS WASHDC
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BRASILIA 001393

SIPDIS

STATE FOR H, WHA/EPSC F.CORNEILLE, E G.MANUEL,EEB: MMCMANUS
NSC FOR TOMASULO
USDOC FOR SECRETARY GUTIERREZ
USDOC ALSO FOR 3134/USFCS, 4332/ITA/MAC/WH/OLAC
DOE FOR AD/S KUPFER, GARY WARD, AMY CHIANG, CAROLYN GAY, RHIA DAVIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OVIP ECON ENRG EAGR BR
SUBJECT: BRAZIL: INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON BIOFUELS, NOVEMBER
17-21, 2008, SAO PAULO

1. SUMMARY. The Government of Brazil (GOB) is hosting an
International Conference on Biofuels from November 17 through 21 in
Sao Paulo. Brazilian President Lula will speak twice at the
conference; and President Bush has been invited to participate.
Post and the GOB hope to have the U.S. represented as strongly as
possible, including high level Department of Commerce, Department of
Energy, and Congressional participation. The conference is an
attempt by Brazil to redirect the policy debate on biofuels to a
focus more compatible with the types of cooperative efforts we have
undertaken bilaterally. END SUMMARY.

2. The Government of Brazil (GOB) will put on an International
Conference on Biofuels from November 17 through 21 in Sao Paulo.
The Ministry of External Relations'(MRE) Director of the Energy
Department, Andre do Lago, has been briefing representatives from
the various embassies about this conference.

3. According to do Lago, the GOB has invited all members of the
United Nations to send a high-level delegation to this conference,
which is a presidential initiative. The conference will be split
into a technical portion for the first three days (November 17-19)
followed by a two-day ministerial meeting (November 20-21).
Brazilian President Luiz Ignacio Lula da Silva is scheduled to speak
twice, at the end of the technical portion on November 19 and the
conclusion of the ministerial session on November 21.

PARTICIPANTS

4. These are still early days for finalizing the participants,
though do Lago suggests that there may be over 1,000 and some
officials talk of over 2,000 participants. Do Lago said that they
already have confirmation of ministers from 24 countries coming and
that he expected representatives from up to 100 countries. Post has
learned that the Australian Prime Minister and the Philippines
President currently plan to attend. European participation may be
low; Germany, for instance, does not plan to send a minister. At
the briefing, do Lago noted the article in the newspaper saying
that President Bush was planning on attending. (NOTE: Subsequent
press reports on a telephone conversation between Presidents Bush
and Lula have indicated that President Bush may have to decline the
invitation due to the current financial crisis. END NOTE.)

5. Invited U.S. speakers for the first three days are: Daniel
Yergin (pending confirmation)as moderator for the biofuels and
energy security discussion; Amartya Sen, Nobel Prize winner, as
moderator for the session on market development; and Professor Steve
Chu, Nobel Prize winning Stanford Professor as a panelist on
biofuels and international innovation.

TOPICS AND STRUCTURE

6. There will be five topics on the program at both the technical
level and the ministerial portion: (1) biofuels and energy
security; (2) biofuels and climate change; (3) sustainability; (4)
research and development; and (5) biofuels and international market
(trade rules, environmental aspects, etc.). The technical portions
will involve panels with a Brazilian moderator and an international
rapporteur. The reports from the technical sessions will form the
basis of discussion for the high-level government sessions. The
first three days will be open to the public. The high level
governmental events which could include up to 140 representatives,
depending on delegations participating, with an in room audience of
200, will be broadcast by closed circuit television to the other
attendees. The last day, November 21, will feature a speech by
President Lula, and if he were to come, a speech by President Bush.


PRIVATE SECTOR, LEGISLATORS AND SIDE EVENTS

7. Do Lago said that the GOB wanted the private sector, as well as
NGOs and the academic community, present and participating through
side events. The Brazilian export promotion agency (APEX) plans to
have a trade fair on biofuels at the same time, at a hotel across
the street and the Brazilian ethanol trade association UNICA is also
planning a private sector meeting during the conference. Also,
during the Biofuels Steering Committee Meeting with Under Secretary
Reuben Jeffery earlier that same day, the Steering Committee agreed

BRASILIA 00001393 002 OF 002


to hold a meeting on the margins of the conference, including the
private sector advisory committee.

8. The Brazilian Senate is inviting legislators from around the
world to attend the conference and participate in a side event on
the afternoon of November 19. Securing U.S. participation is
proving to be problematic. As of October 15, apparently no U.S.
legislators had accepted, , according to Thalis Murrieta, Advisor to
Brazilian Biofuels Senate Subcommittee Chairman, and the person
tasked with coordinating the event. (NOTE: This lack of positive
response could be due in part to conflicts with the schedule for
Congressional reorganization. END NOTE.) In a separate meeting,
Murrieta told Econoff that though the Brazilians have secured
participation from German, Swiss, Brazilian, African, and U.K.
panelists, they have not yet accepted the UK offer because they are
hoping to maintain that spot for a U.S. legislator instead. Many
other countries are also registered to have delegations attending
the event. Murrieta stresses that without the presence of the
United States as the world's largest producer of ethanol and
Brazil's major biofuels ally, the event will miss an opportunity to
have a significant impact on how legislatures globally address the
topic. The legislative organizers, who had been working through the
Brazilian Embassy in Washington, have requested U.S. assistance in
lining up a participant for this session. (NOTE: Embassy is
reaching out to some likely candidates and would appreciate
department assistance in securing someone to represent the U.S. in
an event which could have long term repercussions for the world
ethanol market. END NOTE.)

9. Post is also looking for participants who could make a valuable
contribution to the discussions in the side events as well, and
would welcome Washington input. These events include:

- Meeting presided over by the Economic and Social Development
Council-CDES (Nov. 17)

- Luncheon hosted by the MRE for specialists in biofuels from
International Organizations (Nov. 18)

- Meeting presided over by the Brazilian Academy of Sciences and the
University of Sco Paulo (Nov. 18)

- Luncheon hosted by the Getulio Vargas Foundation (Nov. 19)

WEBSITE AND POINTS OF CONTACT


10. The MRE has just set up a website for information on the
conference: http://www.biofuels2008.mre.gov.br which includes the
program.

11. COMMENT: Post believes that Brazil taking a leading role on
redirecting the policy debate is a positive development, one that we
should support and encourage. High level U.S. presence at this
event will serve to reinforce the Brazilian effort to shift the
international view of biofuels to, according to the conference
subtitle, biofuels as a driving force for sustainable development.
Given U.S. and Brazilian cooperation on sustainability in
international fora recently, as well as MRE's repeated reassurances,
it appears that the GOB has decided not to try to differentiate
sugar from corn ethanol. Instead they appear to have chosen to
stand side by side with the U.S. in countering critics of ethanol
and working together to create a global marketplace for ethanol.
Brazil is relying on U.S. participation to help bring international
attention and lend credibility to the event. Post is hoping we
won't miss the opportunity to shape the debate, help create a global
marketplace for biofuels, and continue to solidify a deepening
bilateral relationship with energy security and geopolitical
implications. Post requests high level participation from the
Commerce Department and the Energy Department to help ensure that we
use this opportunity to define biofuels as a clean energy
alternative with great commercial opportunities, as well assistance
in securing appropriate Congressional representation.

SOBEL

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