July 5, 2017 / 10:00 PM / 6 months ago

Brazil to speed up adoption of biofuel mandates -industry group

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - The Brazilian government will use a fast-track legislative tool to speed up implementation of a program that aims to boost biofuels use by setting mandates for fuels distributors, an ethanol industry leader told Reuters on Wednesday.

André Rocha, head of the National Sugar and Ethanol Council, said the government will issue a presidential decree to implement the program, called RenovaBio.

He said a decision was reached on the strategy for the new legislation after a meeting on Tuesday gathering industry representatives and high-level government officials.

“That is the fastest way to put the program to work. A normal draft-bill would take years to get approved by the Congress,” said Rocha.

A presidential decree takes effect immediately after its publication but needs to be voted in Congress within four months.

The RenovaBio plan aims to cut carbon emissions by boosting use of biofuels, helping Brazil meet its pledge to cut heat-trapping gases under the Paris climate agreement.

According to the program, ethanol and biodiesel mills would issue certificates of emissions reductions (CERs) that would be transferred to fuel distributors when they buy the biofuels. Each distributor would be required to hold a certain number of CERs at the end of a year, according to mandates that would be set by the government.

The system is expected to create a secondary market for the certificates, possibly at local stock exchange B3, since fuel distributors that do not have enough certificates would have to buy them to fulfill their annual mandates.

RenovaBio is seen by sugar and ethanol experts as a lifeline to mills in Brazil struggling to compete with cheaper gasoline and diesel in local market.

Writing by Marcelo Teixeira; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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