Network Governance of Biofuels: Can Policymakers Coordinate Multi-level Regulation?

Biofuels, by Steve Jurvetson, on Flickr.
Biofuels, by Steve Jurvetson, on Flickr.

Network Governance of Biofuels” promotes a regulation and governance framework for biofuels that, while not necessarily simpler, let alone harmonized, is more coordinated and better rationalized.

The analysis in this working paper is presented in two major sections, following a more detailed discussion in this introduction of key policy objectives for biofuels.

First is an overview of typical domestic policies and regulations. These include supply-side measures, like subsidies and regulations regarding biofuels production and distribution, and demand-side measures, such as standards regulating minimum (and maximum) uses of renewable fuels. For typical illustrations of biofuels regulation and governance in advanced economies, this paper refers often to the landscape in OECD member states, but also discusses the unique perspectives of developing countries.

Second, given the inevitably global nature of the economic, environmental and other policy objectives related to biofuels, domestic regulations are addressed in light of international law and policy, especially related to trade.The most relevant regulations are promulgated and administered through the World Trade Organization (WTO), but bi/plurilateral relations are becoming increasingly important.

This paper looks at two of the United States’ major trading partners that both have large stakes in, or influence on, the global biofuels regulatory debate (the European Union (EU) and Canada) for a potentially path-breaking template for bilateral cooperation between large, developed countries.