Authors: Catherine M. Chiong Meza, Gerard P.J. Dijkema
Addresses: Energy & Industry Section, Infrastructure Systems & Services Department, Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management, Delft University of Technology, P.O. Box 5015, GA, Delft 2600, The Netherlands. ' Energy & Industry Section, Infrastructure Systems & Services Department, Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management, Delft University of Technology, P.O. Box 5015, GA, Delft 2600, The Netherlands
Abstract: Triggered by the distress around climate change and security of supply, European countries struggle to diversify their energy portfolio while producing less carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, favouring a transition to avoid a system collapse. However, this situation is not new. Thirty years ago, prompted by two consecutive oil crises, Brazil started its transition to a less oil-dependent economy, and has now reached a relatively stable bio-ethanol economy. This paper analyses the historical transition of Brazil using a multidisciplinary systemic approach, where we portray transition dynamics at the agent layer, interaction layer and system layer, and demonstrate the relevance of information feedback. The shift of Brazil to a bio-ethanol economy was an objective-oriented transition wherein the government was the initiator of the transition process. We conclude that, despite the historical and geographical differences and the risks of a direct institutional transplantation, European countries can benefit from the lessons learned from the Brazilian experience.
Keywords: transition dynamics; bioethanol economy; Brazil; energy infrastructures: modelling; biofuels; information feedback; critical infrastructures; carbon dioxide; CO2 emissions; carbon emissions; energy security; climate change.
International Journal of Critical Infrastructures, 2009 Vol.5 No.4, pp.368 - 388
Published online: 04 Nov 2009 *Full-text access for editors Access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article