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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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  • Adiran Kay
  • Robert Ackrill
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    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 Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University in its series Crawford School Research Papers with number 1204.

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    Length: 35 pages
    Date of creation: Jun 2012
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:een:crwfrp:1204

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    Keywords: biofuel; economy; policy; transition;

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

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