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About this book

This book provides a timely and insightful analysis of the expansion of biofuels production and use in recent years. Drawing on interviews with key policy insiders, Ackrill and Kay show how biofuels policies have been motivated by concerns over climate change, energy security and rural development.

Table of Contents

Frontmatter

Part I

Frontmatter

1. Biofuels and Biofuels Policies — An Introduction

Abstract
In recent years, for a number of reasons, governments have been increasing their efforts considerably to promote the production and use of energy derived from renewable sources. Concerns have been raised, for example, over the dependence on fossil fuels, the utilisation of which has considerable climate and environmental impacts. Moreover, in the case of oil, this creates an economic dependency of the vast majority of countries globally which lack oil resources upon the limited number of countries which have those resources, with many of whom political relations, and thus trade, are seen to be unstable and unreliable. There is also a widely held economic concern with oil that we are seeing the depletion of finite reserves, with consequences also for the price of oil.1
Robert Ackrill, Adrian Kay

2. Brazilian Biofuels Policy — An Introduction and Overview

Abstract
In this chapter we review the development of Brazilian biofuels policies. Through this chapter, a number of key features will be explored which will highlight just how different Brazilian policies are from EU and US policies. First, Brazil’s ethanol (or ‘alcohol’) policies are fundamentally different from its biodiesel policies. Second, Brazil’s ethanol policies have a much longer continuous history than those of either the US or EU. On the other hand, Brazil’s biodiesel policy is newer than EU and US biofuels policies. A further difference is that, with ethanol in particular, there is more or less a free market in Brazil. We introduce these concepts here, returning to analyse them further in later chapters.
Robert Ackrill, Adrian Kay

3. EU Biofuels Policy — An Introduction and Overview

Abstract
In this chapter we review the development of EU biofuels policy. We shall see clear evidence of all three of the main biofuels policy drivers at work, but with the environmental-climate change driver having a bigger role in the genesis of current EU policy than is the case with US policy. Moreover, as demonstrated in Chapter 2, whilst the environmental dimension is now a central aspect of policy in Brazil, it was not always so. As with Brazilian and US policy, clear distinctions must be drawn between supply and demand of biofuels, and between ethanol and biodiesel. In the EU, however, an additional dimension to incorporate is that between the member states and the (supranational) EU. As will be seen, policy was initially under national jurisdiction, with common EU policies emerging only relatively recently, yet rapidly. Nevertheless, with many elements of policy enacted by Directive rather than Regulation, there still remains considerable national variation in implementation, as elaborated on below.
Robert Ackrill, Adrian Kay

4. US Biofuels Policy — An Introduction and Overview

Abstract
Whilst all three drivers of biofuels policy identified in the previous chapters are present at different times and in different combinations in the US case, the particular influence of energy security considerations makes US biofuels policy distinctive. Of the three drivers, energy security has been the most enduring in the discourse and outcomes of US biofuels policy. The origins of current policy can be traced to the oil price shocks of the 1970s that revealed the macroeconomic vulnerability of the US resulting from its dependence on imported oil. Whilst sensitivity to the economic and national security consequences of importing significant shares of US total energy consumption diminished somewhat in policy-making calculations in the following decades, the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001 and — in particular — the Iraq war from 2003 set a context for energy security concerns to be a central influence in the significant US biofuel policy reforms of the last decade. These reforms established the backbone of goals, instruments and settings in current US biofuels policy.
Robert Ackrill, Adrian Kay

5. Comparing Biofuels Policy Drivers — Common Themes, Differences and Issues for Analysis

Abstract
The analysis in this chapter is built around two themes: first, we review the material from Chapters 1–4, to identify common themes, similarities and key differences between the policies of Brazil, the EU and US; second, we introduce briefly the ideas that will form the basis of the more formal analysis contained in Part II of the book.
Robert Ackrill, Adrian Kay

Part II

Frontmatter

6. The Challenge of Policy Capacity in Biofuels Policy Design

Abstract
A feature of biofuels policies that we have been reminded of in writing this book is the sheer ambition of policy-makers in seeking to establish and drive the rapid and considerable expansion of biofuels production and use. Yet this ambition has another dimension to it: are policymakers in the 21st century capable of such direction of markets? The scale of policy-makers’ ambition runs counter to several decades of debates and literatures on government overload, the shift from government to governance, the hollowed out state and government failure. These concepts reflect changing economic and political relationships, not only domestically but also internationally, as trade barriers come down and economic interdependencies — via increasingly global supply chains — expand. Against this theoretical and empirical background, the capacity of policy-makers to deliver on their promises over biofuels cannot be taken for granted.
Robert Ackrill, Adrian Kay

7. Biofuels Policy Design and External Implementation Challenges

Abstract
The era of globalisation, as elucidated in Chapter 6, is characterised by widespread claims of a spatial transformation of governance from national to international and transnational scales. This chapter examines biofuels policy-making in these multi-scalar terms, examining the intersection of domestic policy processes and the international arena in the implementation of biofuels policy. We argue that whilst none of the three cases of biofuels policy processes in this book can be presented as operating exclusively within their respective national boundaries, biofuels policy in the EU, US and Brazil is an important example of the constraining power of domestic policy designs manifest even across multi-scalar policy-making structures.
Robert Ackrill, Adrian Kay

8. External Dimensions to Biofuels Policies

Abstract
One of the consistent themes to have emerged from our interviews for this project was that biofuels policies, initially, were established as domestic policies. Over time, however, as biofuels policies have stimulated growth in biofuels markets, external dimensions have come increasingly to the fore of the policy debate, as analysed in Chapter 6 and, in particular, Chapter 7. As Part I demonstrated, as a domestic construct only EU policy has had a significant external dimension to it, given the need for imports to enable the EU to deliver on its policy mandates. Other policies did not preclude trade, but nor did they include imports as a core dimension of delivery on the (domestic) policy. That said, interviews revealed that Brazil’s government has sought to promote the development of an international market in biofuels, within which biofuels can be traded freely, just like other commodities.
Robert Ackrill, Adrian Kay

9. Biofuels Policy Challenges

Abstract
Biofuels policies — and biofuels policy-makers — face considerable challenges in delivering on existing policy goals, let alone looking to expand biofuels markets. In this chapter, we focus on three of these challenges, two of which have been central to the biofuels debate in recent years, the third notable for being largely absent. The first two policy challenges — food v. fuel and ILUC — arise from the implementation of biofuels policies. Moreover, they have similar underpinnings, in that they result from the complexity and interconnectedness of the markets wherein biofuels are produced.
Robert Ackrill, Adrian Kay

Backmatter

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