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Sailing into Unchartered Waters: Plotting a Course for EU Bio-Based Sectors

Philippidis, George, Bartelings, Heleen, Smeets, Edward
Ecological economics 2018 v.147 pp. 410-421
European Union, bioeconomics, biofuels, biomass, carbon, economic development, employment, food security, greenhouse gas emissions, greenhouse gases, land productivity, macroeconomics, models, public policy
The use of biomass to achieve a sustainable, low carbon, competitive model of growth and employment is at the heart of European Union (EU) policy making. This study constitutes a first step toward understanding (i) the medium-term prospects for biobased sectors in the context of expected EU biomass policy developments and (ii) the degree of coherency with the Bioeconomy strategy in terms of identifying potential policy conflicts.A general finding is that EU bio-based sectors face important challenges, largely due to slower assumed rates of economic growth and land productivity, coupled with deeper greenhouse gas emissions cuts. Furthermore, EU policy conflicts are encountered in attempting to reconcile greenhouse gas reductions with macroeconomic growth, food security and biofuel mandates. To conclude, a more holistic public policy approach is necessary to avoid the perceived conflicts in biomass usage, whilst there is a clear need for targeted and sustained investments in EU bio-based activity to fully exploit its potential.