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Confronting governance challenges of the resource nexus through reflexivity: A cross-case comparison of biofuels policies in Germany and Brazil

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Santos,  Inaie
IASS Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies Potsdam;

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Santos, I. (2020): Confronting governance challenges of the resource nexus through reflexivity: A cross-case comparison of biofuels policies in Germany and Brazil. - Energy Research and Social Science, 65, 101464.
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.erss.2020.101464


Cite as: https://publications.iass-potsdam.de/pubman/item/item_5070894
Abstract
Resource nexus research gained ground in the last decade prompted by crises of food and water supply throughout the world. In parallel, bioenergy emerged as an important renewable source worldwide, though it entails a large spectrum of externalities and feedback effects, involving key resources, such as water, land, and biodiversity. Making sense of the complex interactions and measuring all these impacts translates into significant challenges for developing and implementing policies based on a nexus perspective, especially amid divergent interests and normative views. This paper brings an empirical contribution by exploring how reflexive governance concepts can help to understand nexus implementation challenges, and possibly overcome them, based on biofuels policies in Brazil and Germany as case studies. It shows that nexus issues play out differently in each country and discusses how the idea of reflexivity could help to address them, supported by deliberation to reflect upon risks usually assigned to large-scale biomass use and, ultimately, about the underlying assumptions of cause-effect relationships. The cases comparison suggests that cognitive and normative aspects that influenced broader deliberation on biofuels will remain relevant for the deployment of biomass as part of negative emissions strategies in the future. Therefore, it reinforces the need to consider such aspects in nexus research and to expand the debate about the role of bioenergy beyond transformations in the energy sector.