Published online by Cambridge University Press: 21 September 2018
Biofuels are considered as a potential solution for mitigating problems of energy security, GHG emissions, and rural development, but biofuels have been increasingly criticised for bringing about unsustainable results and sometimes even giving rise to more perils to sustainability. The key issue is how the demand for, supply, and trade of biofuels are regulated to avoid or minimise adverse environmental and socio-economic effects. In this vein, this thesis concentrated on the regulatory approaches at the international, EU, and Chinese levels and examined whether they include sustainability concerns in all the environmental, social, and economic dimensions. By exploring the research questions, the present thesis aimed to provide comparative insights into the regulation of the sustainability of biofuels and furthermore to explore the potential for a global inclusive approach, drawing on the implications from the comparative study. This chapter will summarise the main findings of the respective chapters and provide a final conclusion of this thesis.
This thesis has respectively examined the regulation of biofuels in the international, EU, and Chinese legal systems in Chapters 2, 3, and 4 and then compared their regulatory approaches in Chapter 5, in an attempt to answer the question of ‘what are the regulatory approaches to the sustainability of biofuels’ in the international, EU, and Chinese legal frameworks? The main findings in the respective chapters are summarised as follows.
Mapping the International Regulatory Terrain
In Chapter 2, in the absence of a specific international legal framework for the sustainability of biofuels, the international regime for regulating the sustainability of biofuels was mapped by looking into the different international legal regimes relating to the demand for, supply, and trade of biofuels. It was observed that, although international instruments in relation to biofuels are emerging, an international legal framework that develops and applies binding rules for the sustainability of biofuels still lacks.
In looking into the relationship between the international climate regime and the demand for biofuels, it was found that the commitment of addressing or reducing GHG emissions under the UNFCCC or the Kyoto Protocol may provide incentives for the use of biofuels, especially for Annex I Parties undertaking the GHG emission reduction obligation, if biofuels are regarded as a means to reduce GHG emissions in the transport sector.