Sao Paolo's state prosecutor sought to enjoin regional farmers from employing a low-tech form of sugar refining that involves burning sugar cane. Arguments against the practice included its harms to air quality, its release of greenhouse gas emissions, and its harmful affects on human health--particularly that of farm workers. Hearing the case on appeal, the Superior Court of Justice determined that burning should be permitted only in exceptional circumstances, and that sugar refining in general must be less polluting, even if that means being more capital-intensive. In arriving at its decision, the Court acknowledged the appellants' argument that burning cane does not add greenhouse gases to the atmosphere on a net basis over a multi-year timeframe, because it only releases gases absorbed by the cane over the prior 12-18 months. The Court pointed out, however, that burning released in less than an hour greenhouse gases that were absorbed over the course of a year or more.
No case documents are available.