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date: 14 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Brazil and Argentina had been developing biofuels that could offer them the opportunity to have a prominent position in a future oil-free economy. In the latter part of the first decade of the 2000s, Brazilian diplomacy, in particular, knew how to take advantage of its clean energy matrix to build an image of a country at the forefront of energy solutions. However, after the discovery of oil in Brazil and shale in Argentina, biofuels became a low priority and almost disappeared from the political agenda. This process followed the movement of Latin American center-left governments—the “pink tide”—which saw the oil industry as the basis for national empowerment. The emergence of oil populism, which exploits the mystification of state oil companies and oil as a panacea for the illnesses of underdevelopment, led Brazil and Argentina to waive a potential leading role in a future low-carbon economy.

Keywords: oil, biofuel, populism, Argentina, Brazil, pink tide

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