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European union leadership in biofuels regulation: Europe as a normative power?

Afionis, S and Stringer, LC (2012) European union leadership in biofuels regulation: Europe as a normative power? Journal of Cleaner Production, 32. 114 - 123 . ISSN 0959-6526

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The rapid emergence of the European Union (EU) as a leader in global environmental politics has led many scholars to argue in favour of the EU being a ‘normative power’ in international relations. This paper critically examines the EU's biofuels policy and evaluates whether its attempts to lead by example and shape international practice in this field could support such arguments. Europe's biofuel policies are evaluated through a sustainable development lens, so as to determine the extent to which it has embraced a holistic approach to sustainability. While not dismissing that the identity of the EU is indeed an explanatory factor and that normative intentions may well be regarded as a motivating force, this study argues that an interest-based perspective on international environmental regulation offers a supplementary view of how an actor's preferences for an international regime are shaped. By erecting barriers aimed at shielding its own inefficient domestic biofuels production the EU is in essence placing trade competitiveness and economic growth above environmental protection, thus permitting sustainability concerns to be addressed only in part.

Item Type: Article
Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information: © 2012, Elsevier. This is an author produced version of a paper published in Journal of Cleaner Production. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy.
Institution: The University of Leeds
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Environment (Leeds) > School of Earth and Environment (Leeds)
Depositing User: Symplectic Publications
Date Deposited: 24 Oct 2012 10:41
Last Modified: 05 Jun 2014 06:55
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2012.03.034
Status: Published
Publisher: Elsevier
Identification Number: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2012.03.034
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/74680

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