The Sustainability of Biofuels: Limits of the Meta-Standard Approach
11 Pages Posted: 20 Nov 2010
Date Written: November 1, 2010
This paper examines the European Union (EU) biofuels and bioliquids sustainability scheme. It argues that the ‘meta-standard’ approach adopted in the EU sustainability scheme is an innovative addition to the EU’s environmental governance toolkit. From a global governance perspective, the EU meta-standard will aid the process of streamlining the proliferation of certification schemes and harmonizing global standards. This will reduce transaction costs for biofuels producers and promote the growth of a sustainable biofuels industry. However, given the close resemblance between the heavy reliance on auditors in the sustainability scheme and that placed on designated operational entities (DOEs) in the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), this paper argues that the same problems that threaten the integrity of the CDM verification process are likely to emerge in the EU sustainability scheme. It is therefore necessary to reevaluate the wisdom of extensive reliance on voluntary schemes to perform environmental monitoring functions.
Keywords: biofuels, climate change, environmental policy, environmental law, European Union
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