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  • Print publication year: 2016
  • Online publication date: September 2018

Chapter 5 - Comparative Analysis and the Implications for a Global Inclusive Approach

Summary

Introduction

This chapter aims to conduct a comparative study of the regulation of biofuels based on the observations from the previous chapters. Following the conventional steps of comparative study, this chapter will discuss the similarities and differences between the regulatory approaches to biofuels at the international, EU, and Chinese levels, and it will further analyse the possible reasons for the similarities and differences. Meanwhile, the comparative study adheres to the ‘demand-supplytrade’ analytical framework and is ‘problem-oriented’ following from the research questions: what requirements are set out for the sustainability of biofuels, whether the sustainability requirements integrate inclusive sustainability concerns, and are there potential for a global inclusive approach to regulating the sustainability of biofuels?

This chapter is structured as follows: sections 2, 3, and 4 respectively compare the regulation of the demand, supply, and trade of biofuels in order to identify the similarities and differences, as well as to analyse the underlying reasons for and possible implications of the similarities and differences. Section 5 furthermore compares the systems through the lens of inclusiveness, which finally leads to arguments for a global inclusive approach based on the observations from the comparative study and concept of ‘global environmental law.’

Comparative Analysis of the Demand for Biofuels

As demonstrated in the previous chapters, the demand for biofuels may be affected by measures such as sustainability requirements for biofuels, blend mandates, consumption targets, emission standards for fuel and vehicles, preferential tax treatment, and emission trading rules. Some of the measures are not established at every regulatory level. For example, while the EU has established sustainability criteria for biofuels, China does not have similar criteria; conversely, the EU does not employ a 10 per cent or 5 per cent biofuel blend mandate in oil selling systems as China does. In particular, many of the demand-side measures like blend mandate and preferential tax treatment are not provided for at the international level. Hence, a comparison in this section will concentrate on the sustainability requirements that address environmental or socio-economic concerns, regardless of whether they are referred to as ‘sustainability’ requirements or not.

Sustainability Requirements

Sustainability requirements could be general principles or specific rules to avoid or minimise the potential negative environmental or socio-economic impacts of biofuels.

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