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Multiple objectives in biofuels sustainability policy

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Publication details

JournalEnergy and Environmental Science
DateE-pub ahead of print - 12 Nov 2010
DatePublished (current) - 2010
Number of pages7
Pages (from-to)261-268
Early online date12/11/10
Original languageEnglish


Sustainability, with its multiple environmental, economic and social objectives, is now prominent in many national and international policies. These are implemented in a classical incrementalist approach. We use the example of biofuels to demonstrate the way that multiple objectives are developed in energy and environmental policy. Biofuels are promoted as replacements for transport fuels, but biofuel policy is also geared towards socio-economic goals such as agricultural subsidy and strategic goals such as security of energy supply. We discuss examples of multiple objectives and regulatory instruments applied to biofuels with a focus on the United Kingdom and highlight the difficulties of applying sustainability criteria under international trade agreements. In conclusion we briefly contrast biofuels policy against that of fossil fuels.

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