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The Achilles heel of the EU's Renewable Energy Directive sustainability criteria : the policy on biofuel and its limitation to understanding sustainability

Klassen, Anna-Lena LU (2014) In Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science MESM01 20141
LUCSUS (Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies)
Abstract
Within the Renewable Energy Directive, the European Union has embedded sustainability criteria, addressing sustainable biofuels. Due to criticism, the sustainability criteria have been re-examined by the EU in the light of Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC). This thesis focuses on the sustainability understanding of the EU on biofuels, through assessing the sustainability criteria in the realms of sustainability science. Ecological modernization theory, weak, strong and critical sustainability are applied to the sustainability criteria. Following this, the example of water grievances caused by palm oil production, for biofuel, in Indonesia, Central Kalimantan, is outlined. Highlighting how the water quality and quantity of the river basin... (More)
Within the Renewable Energy Directive, the European Union has embedded sustainability criteria, addressing sustainable biofuels. Due to criticism, the sustainability criteria have been re-examined by the EU in the light of Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC). This thesis focuses on the sustainability understanding of the EU on biofuels, through assessing the sustainability criteria in the realms of sustainability science. Ecological modernization theory, weak, strong and critical sustainability are applied to the sustainability criteria. Following this, the example of water grievances caused by palm oil production, for biofuel, in Indonesia, Central Kalimantan, is outlined. Highlighting how the water quality and quantity of the river basin within the direct proximity of the palm oil plantation is negatively affected, will emphasize the important role of water management for sustainable biofuel production. Linking this back to the sustainability criteria, it will serve as an example of what is left out from the EU's criteria. Therefore, the need for analyzing the dominant discursive focus on the sustainability criteria becomes evident. The method of argumentative discourse analysis by Hajer is applied, in order to examine the underlying power dynamics in policy-making of the EU in formulating the sustainability criteria. Assessing different discursive practices that have occurred during the policy-making process from the beginning of the RED up to the ILUC debate, uncovers a dominant GHG accounting discourse within the sustainability criteria. The current ILUC debate highlights how the dominant discourse on GHG accounting, has been reproduced by the EU. Finally, the thesis addresses the implication for sustainability science and international justice debate. The decontextualization of GHG emissions from its geo-political, social and ecological realities has implied that biofuels entail the concept of placelessness. Since the EU has been defined as a normative power in international environmental policy-making, it has a great impact on framing the conception of sustainable biofuels. The limited sustainability criteria, can therefore be understood as undermining the sustainability commitment of the EU. Terming these limited criteria as sustainability criteria, therefore also entails the danger of minimizing the commitment to a more encompassing sustainability understanding. The thesis is based on a qualitative approach, including policy document analysis and qualitative led interviews with representatives of the EU. (Less)
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author
Klassen, Anna-Lena LU
supervisor
organization
course
MESM01 20141
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
dominance of GHG accounting, sustainability criteria, Renewable Energy Directive, biofuels, sustainability science
publication/series
Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science
report number
2014:014
language
English
id
4497480
date added to LUP
2014-06-19 15:38:18
date last changed
2014-06-19 15:38:18
@misc{4497480,
  abstract     = {Within the Renewable Energy Directive, the European Union has embedded sustainability criteria, addressing sustainable biofuels. Due to criticism, the sustainability criteria have been re-examined by the EU in the light of Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC). This thesis focuses on the sustainability understanding of the EU on biofuels, through assessing the sustainability criteria in the realms of sustainability science. Ecological modernization theory, weak, strong and critical sustainability are applied to the sustainability criteria. Following this, the example of water grievances caused by palm oil production, for biofuel, in Indonesia, Central Kalimantan, is outlined. Highlighting how the water quality and quantity of the river basin within the direct proximity of the palm oil plantation is negatively affected, will emphasize the important role of water management for sustainable biofuel production. Linking this back to the sustainability criteria, it will serve as an example of what is left out from the EU's criteria. Therefore, the need for analyzing the dominant discursive focus on the sustainability criteria becomes evident. The method of argumentative discourse analysis by Hajer is applied, in order to examine the underlying power dynamics in policy-making of the EU in formulating the sustainability criteria. Assessing different discursive practices that have occurred during the policy-making process from the beginning of the RED up to the ILUC debate, uncovers a dominant GHG accounting discourse within the sustainability criteria. The current ILUC debate highlights how the dominant discourse on GHG accounting, has been reproduced by the EU. Finally, the thesis addresses the implication for sustainability science and international justice debate. The decontextualization of GHG emissions from its geo-political, social and ecological realities has implied that biofuels entail the concept of placelessness. Since the EU has been defined as a normative power in international environmental policy-making, it has a great impact on framing the conception of sustainable biofuels. The limited sustainability criteria, can therefore be understood as undermining the sustainability commitment of the EU. Terming these limited criteria as sustainability criteria, therefore also entails the danger of minimizing the commitment to a more encompassing sustainability understanding. The thesis is based on a qualitative approach, including policy document analysis and qualitative led interviews with representatives of the EU.},
  author       = {Klassen, Anna-Lena},
  keyword      = {dominance of GHG accounting,sustainability criteria,Renewable Energy Directive,biofuels,sustainability science},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  series       = {Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science},
  title        = {The Achilles heel of the EU's Renewable Energy Directive sustainability criteria : the policy on biofuel and its limitation to understanding sustainability},
  year         = {2014},
}