Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa
Stuart J. Smyth
Research Scientist, Department of Bioresource Policy, Business and Economics, University of Saskatchewan
The promotion of the biofuels industry has emerged as a significant part of many countries’ efforts to address global problems ranging from environmental sustainability and climate change to economic growth and energy security. However, the adoption and proliferation of different technical standards, classification systems, and international regimes for biofuels governance may undermine the potential for international trade and development in the biofuels sector. Policymakers must ensure that national and sub-national rules governing biofuels are developed in view of the evolving (and often internally inconsistent) framework of international law. Overcoming current regulatory challenges to the economic viability of biofuels production and trade will require governments to engage in collaborative negotiations that recognize and validate the multi-level nature of biofuels governance.
This article, therefore, begins to connect cross-disciplinary literatures on biofuel policy issues with discussion of specific examples of laws, regulations and standards governing—formally and informally supporting and constraining—this sector. The central objective here is to map the regulatory and governance structures around biofuels in order to reveal the entire emerging landscape, and to situate this landscape within the analytical framework of multi-level, network governance.