Battles over Biofuels in Europe: NGOs and the Politics of Markets
AbstractIn this paper, we argue that a consortium of NGOs has played a significant role in shaping the market for, and restricting the use of, biofuels as an alternative to conventional fuels for road transport in Europe. This paper considers why a number of NGOs (Greenpeace, Oxfam, WWF, RSPB, Friends of the Earth) have chosen to enter the biofuels debate, and how they have variously developed policy, agreed a political campaign, and exercised political influence, in a key area of the world's response to major global climate change: how to reduce the carbon footprint of transport. We found that in many cases the development of NGO policy has been driven more by narrow political opportunities for influence than by broader and more coherent policy responses to global climate change or economic development, or indeed rigorous assessment of the scientific evidence. The research provides evidence of how NGO policies and lobbying significantly affected biofuel policy changes, review processes, target reductions, and sustainability regulation in the UK and in Europe. We consider that politically instituted markets, such as the one for biofuels, are examples of the emergence of new forms of governance of capitalist political economies facing a novel and pressing combination of drivers (climate change, energy security, resource constraints, and sustainable land-use). Politically instituted markets open up possibilities for political intervention from non-governmental or party-political actors, in ways that other markets do not. If political shaping of markets by NGOs becomes more widespread, issues of democratic legitimacy and public scrutiny will become ever more pressing. The paper is based on in-depth interviews with senior scientific directors and policy-makers in five NGOs, and of senior officials in UK government departments and the European Commission (DG Environment and DG Transport and Energy). It forms part of a wider ESRC research project in Brazil, the USA and Europe on the Transition to Sustainable Bioeconomies.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Sociological Research Online in its journal Sociological Research Online.
Volume (Year): 15 (2010)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Contact details of provider:
NGO; Biofuels; Europe; Policy; Markets; Transport;
You can help add them by filling out this form.
CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
- Mohr, Alison & Raman, Sujatha, 2013. "Lessons from first generation biofuels and implications for the sustainability appraisal of second generation biofuels," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 114-122.
- Berti, Pietro & Levidow, Les, 2014. "Fuelling expectations: A policy-promise lock-in of UK biofuel policy," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 135-143.
- Upham, Paul & Tomei, Julia & Dendler, Leonie, 2011. "Governance and legitimacy aspects of the UK biofuel carbon and sustainability reporting system," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(5), pages 2669-2678, May.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Catherine Norris).
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.