Catholic bishops slam Brazil ethanol growth plans

Roman Catholic bishops warned on Thursday that a rapid increase in cane ethanol production in Brazil could have a devastating social and environmental impact in the countryside.

Brazil is a pioneer in using ethanol as an automotive fuel and is the world’s largest exporter of ethanol and second largest producer after the United States.


The Brazilian National Bishops’ Council, or CNBB, said at a news conference that such expansion could exacerbate income inequality in the countryside.


Cardinal Geraldo Majella Agnelo, president of the CNBB, also warned that expanding cane cultivation could encroach on primary forests, increasing deforestation rates. "We are going to turn the country into a huge cane (plantation)," he said.