Biofuels production in Mexico a complex problem

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González-Aguirre, Rosa Luz
Quintero-Ramírez, Rodolfo
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In Mexico the possibility of producing biofuels has generated a wide range of political, economical and technical comments and opinions. This is due mainly to the fact that the oil industry has contributed heavily to the direct financing of the Mexican government for the last 70 years, in 2007 this income represented 37% of the total expenditure of the Government and any change to this situation is looked upon with great suspicion and so there are not clear strategies of how to bring renewable energies (v. gr. bioenergy) into Mexico. The analysis of the present and future of energy, especially oil, has become complex and difficult. Several points of view concerning biofuel production have created at least two groups: one that is in favor because bioenergetics are a better source of fuels, its renewable nature goes quite well with the notion of sustainable development and in some instances it is looked as a way to help and support rural development, particularly in poor areas; the second group opposes biofuel production considering that there will be a competition for resources between agriculture for food and feed purposes and energy, and that from the perspective of climatic change biofuels are not an answer in the long run; one of the main oppositions comes from the oil company, PEMEX, which has operated as a government monopoly and the production of the biofuels in some way will open up its structure and the company will have to share its enormous power. The major differences and discrepancies among groups are on the economic impact, where questions such as: who will pay for the subsidy required for biofuel production?, how will biofuel be introduced into the market?, what are the real and true benefits and problems associated with biofuels?. They have not been answered. In this presentation we will discuss three different perspectives about biofuels production, in order to propose some scenarios and guidelines for a national program in this field.
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