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Better greenhouse gas emissions accounting for biofuels: A key to biofuels sustainability

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Abstract

Biofuels are promoted by governments as a replacement for fossil fuels in the transport sector. However, according to current scientific evidence, their use does not necessarily significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This article examines issues related to the regulation of biofuels’ life-cycle ghg emissions. It finds that a regulatory gap exists at the international level, whilst regulation at the domestic level faces limits or is insufficient to fill this gap. It remains to be seen whether, taking into account the scientific complexities, coherent international rules for biofuels will be adopted.
Until then, a polycentric regulatory approach on the use of biofuels, which addresses the sustainability problem at multiple scales, thereby enabling experimentation and cross-influence among different levels of standard-setting, will remain in place across the world. The current approach entails a potentially beneficial learning process on how to properly regulate biofuels. However, there is a risk that national regulators will promote biofuels without knowing or ccounting exactly for the extent to which they contribute to greenhouse gas reductions.
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Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)279-295
JournalClimate Law
Volume6
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2016