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Policy capacity for the transition to a biofuels economy: a comparative study of the EU and USA

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  • Kay, Adrian
  • Ackrill, Rob

Abstract

The scale of the ambition to decouple emissions growth from energy consumption in the economy runs counter to several decades of debates and literatures on the limits of government. Transport biofuels are an early and influential case of the policy capacity challenge in the transition to low-carbon economies. The case stands analytically for the policy-maker’s dilemma of maintaining longer term policy goals as credible commitments, even though considerable flexibility and adaptability in policy-making is required to reach those far horizon goals in conditions of high technological and market uncertainty. In such terms, this paper compares US and EU biofuels policy processes, revealing an intertemporal choice which tests the capacity to account for the future benefits of a low carbon future in current policy processes; because if the pathway to their achievement is uncertain and politically contested in the implementation phase, then those future benefits may be heavily discounted, shortening policy-maker horizons and rendering the overall transition process politically vulnerable.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Agricultural Economics Society in its series 86th Annual Conference, April 16-18, 2012, Warwick University, Coventry, UK with number 135122.

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Date of creation: Apr 2012
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Handle: RePEc:ags:aesc12:135122

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Keywords: Biofuels; Policy Capacity; Policy Implementation; Policy Making; Crop Production/Industries; Q28; Q41; Q48;

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  1. Bouët, Antoine & Dimaranan, Betina V. & Valin, Hugo, 2010. "Modeling the global trade and environmental impacts of biofuel policies," IFPRI discussion papers 1018, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  2. Verdonk, M. & Dieperink, C. & Faaij, A.P.C., 2007. "Governance of the emerging bio-energy markets," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(7), pages 3909-3924, July.
  3. Haas, Peter M., 1992. "Introduction: epistemic communities and international policy coordination," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 46(01), pages 1-35, December.
  4. Robert Ackrill & Adrian Kay, 2011. "EU Biofuels Sustainability Standards and Certification Systems – How to Seek WTO‐Compatibility," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(3), pages 551-564, 09.
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