AMERICA/ARGENTINA – The government’s initiatives on biofuels for the Bishops are “a clear setback in Argentina’s environmental policy”

Buenos Aires – Biofuel “worth a mass” is the provocative title of an article in one of the main Argentine newspapers which refers to a publication of the Argentine Episcopal Commission “Justice and Peace”. Despite the Latin American economic crisis, Argentina continues to be one of the main biofuel producers in South America, but internal economic pressure has led to negotiations between biodiesel and bioethanol producers with the government, for a new update of prices of its biofuels, which are mixed in oil refineries with gasoline and diesel. The official will is to keep the promise not to increase the final prices of fuel at the distribution pumps until the end of the year, as the managers pointed out last May. The owners of plants that process soybean oil, corn and sugarcane are trying to persuade the Energy Ministry to improve June’s regulated sales prices, which have not yet been officially published and have been frozen since May. According to El Cronista, the ultimate goal is for oil companies not to pass on this possible cost increase to suppliers. But in parallel, biofuel producers have shocked public opinion with an original campaign. In social networks, some figures in the sector have communicated that “God is in favor of biofuels”, based on the support that the National Commission for “Justice and Peace” of the Argentine Episcopate has given to the industry, with a statement entitled “Importance of biofuels”. Citing the encyclical Laudato Sì by Pope Francis, the Argentine Church has however criticized the project of the ruling party which establishes a new regime to promote the sector, reducing the mandatory cut. For the Church, the government’s initiative represents “a clear setback in Argentina’s environmental policy”, as stated in the document sent to Fides, dated June 2, 2021.
“With great commitment, many countries have hypothesized and even increased the transformations of their production or transportation systems as a result of the Paris Agreement”, reads the Bishops’ document, which continues: “Contrary to these guidelines and objectives, it was presented to the Chamber of Deputies of the Nation a bill in the legislative framework on biofuels, which implies a clear setback in Argentina’s environmental policy. The project, in fact, reduces the percentage of use of biofuels envisaged by the current legislation”. “The reduction in the percentage of biofuels contradicts the Principle of Progressivity established by the General Law on the Environment 25675 and the Paris Agreement”, reiterate the Bishops.

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