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Not to contradict what you say, Jérôme, but just a word on Claude Mandil and biofuels.

Three weeks ago he gave an interview to the French business daily La Tribune. In which he points out (as we did in the Biofuels Consultation) that there is little hope for first-generation biofuels in the EU:

Rather than produce ethanol themselves by calling heavily on subsidies, the US and Europe should import from India or Brazil, says the head of the IEA, Claude Mandil.

Plutôt que de produire eux-mêmes de l'éthanol, à grand renfort de subventions, les Etats-Unis et l'Europe devraient s'approvisionner en Inde ou au Brésil, estime le directeur de l'Agence internationale de l'énergie, Claude Mandil.

(From an AFP wire at Pleinchamp.com)

He does mention the environmental problems posed (destruction of the rainforest among them), but that doesn't appear to put him off. And he does go on to say that research should be funded into second-generation biofuels.

But the idea of making a big call on biofuels from emerging agricultural countries so as to be able to go on filling up tanks on cars -- instead of first talking about different ways of reducing consumption -- seems so wrong-headed to me that I wonder what Mandil is playing at. More specifically, what big business interests are behind what he's advocating.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Nov 8th, 2006 at 07:56:45 AM EST
Mandil has been saying so many contradictory things that I'm no longer sure what his actual positions are.

I used to know him when he was the Director for energy at the Ministry of Industry in France in the mid-90s. He had a clear vision of energy policy in my memory (maybe I was more impressionable then). He moved to GDF, failed at getting the top job over there, and jumped to the IEA, in a fairly typical carrer for a top French civil servant, but his positions on energy have become increasingly confusing to me.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Nov 8th, 2006 at 09:01:42 AM EST
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He further says that the emerging agri-countries can produce biofuels cheap enough for them to be taxed (with the French TIPP, or equivalent in other consumer countries, save one as we know ;)) in the same way as oil-based fuels. He doesn't seem to take into account that biofuel prices on the world market will tend to follow oil prices; and that, in any case, the more the US and the EU increase their demand for them, the pricier they'll get. In other words, he's advocating cheap biofuels that can only get more expensive if his advice is followed.

So I'm wondering if his head's screwed on right (this is not the first time I've wondered). Or, that oil companies are interested in taking this import business on.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Nov 8th, 2006 at 09:15:59 AM EST
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