Research for this paper was conducted under the auspices of the School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK. Any opinions expressed in this paper are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the University of Oxford.
Evidence-based policy or policy-based evidence gathering? Biofuels, the EU and the 10% target†
Article first published online: 15 JUL 2010
Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. and ERP Environment
Environmental Policy and Governance
Volume 20, Issue 5, pages 309–321, September/October 2010
How to Cite
Sharman, A. and Holmes, J. (2010), Evidence-based policy or policy-based evidence gathering? Biofuels, the EU and the 10% target. Env. Pol. Gov., 20: 309–321. doi: 10.1002/eet.543
- Issue published online: 13 SEP 2010
- Article first published online: 15 JUL 2010
- Manuscript Accepted: 17 MAY 2010
- Manuscript Revised: 11 MAY 2010
- Manuscript Received: 28 JAN 2010
- scientific evidence;
- Renewable Energy Directive
The 2009 Renewable Energy Directive mandates EU member-states' road transport fuel to comprise a minimum of 10% renewable content by 2020. This target is expected to be met predominantly from biofuels. However, scientific evidence is increasingly questioning the ability of biofuels to reduce greenhouse gas emissions when factors such as indirect land-use change are taken into consideration. This paper interrogates the 10% target, critically assessing its political motivations, use of scientific evidence and the actions of an individual policy entrepreneur who played a central role in its adoption. We find that the commitment of EU decision-making bodies to internal guidelines on the use of expertise and the precautionary principle was questionable, despite the scientific uncertainty inherent in the biofuels debate. Imperatives located in the political space dominated scientific evidence and led to a process of ‘policy-based evidence gathering’ to justify the policy choice of a 10% renewable energy/biofuels target. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.