publication . Article . 2020

Why does the European Union produce biofuels? Examining consistency and plausibility in prevailing narratives with quantitative storytelling

Juan José Cadillo-Benalcazar; Sandra G.F. Bukkens; Maddalena Ripa; Mario Giampietro;
Open Access English
  • Published: 19 Nov 2020 Journal: Energy Research & Social Science, volume 71, page 101,810 (issn: 22146296, Copyright policy)
Abstract
Abstract This paper seeks to clarify the confusion created by the simultaneous use of non-equivalent policy discourses about biofuels within the EU and addresses the inconsistency between long-term goals and short-term targets. To this purpose, a novel approach, quantitative storytelling, is employed to examine the plausibility of current policy narratives. It confronts quantitative data on the production and use of biofuels at member-state (the Netherlands) and EU level against the official storytelling. Our analysis shows that in the Netherlands the actual production and use of biofuels are motivated by economic incentives and trade opportunities rather than the original policy justifications and hitting biofuel targets has become a justification in itself (the phenomenon of displacement). At EU level, the vast majority of the current (inadequate) supply of liquid biofuels still consists in first-generation biofuels, which are to be phased out. Advanced and food-waste-based biofuels are unlikely to fill the void any time soon. The analysis shows incoherence among the narratives underlying the justification of policies and those used for their implementation. It is concluded that the quality of the biofuels policy debate could be improved by acknowledging the existence and influence of untold stories and hidden justification narratives.
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Subjects
free text keywords: Social Sciences (miscellaneous), Energy Engineering and Power Technology, Fuel Technology, Nuclear Energy and Engineering, Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment, Biofuels, Renewable Energy Directive, European Union, Narratives, Targets, Quantitative storytelling, The Netherlands, Used cooking oil, Quality (business), media_common.quotation_subject, media_common, Political science, Storytelling, European union, media_common.cataloged_instance, Consistency (negotiation), Narrative, Incentive, Production (economics), Positive economics, Phenomenon
Funded by
EC| MAGIC
Project
MAGIC
Moving Towards Adaptive Governance in Complexity: Informing Nexus Security
  • Funder: European Commission (EC)
  • Project Code: 689669
  • Funding stream: H2020 | RIA
Validated by funder
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Article . 2020
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