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Biofuels: a contested response to climate change

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Author(s): Mette Jensen | Anne Holst Andersen

Journal: Sustainability : Science, Practice and Policy
ISSN 1548-7733

Volume: 9;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 42;
Date: 2013;
Original page

Keywords: renewable energy resources | public awareness | transportation | environmental perception

ABSTRACT
Biofuels have received increased attention in recent years as renewable alternatives to fossil fuels in the steadily growing transportation sector. Simultaneously, the impact of biofuel technologies has been highly disputed in public debates, where their introduction is alternately presented as a solution to energy-supply and climate-change problems or as a source of environmental and social difficulties. Through qualitative interviews, this article analyzes the Danish public’s attitudes toward biofuels. Particular attention is given to popular perceptions of risks and uncertainties associated with biofuels and to problem-solving responsibilities in relation to climate change. The study illustrates the complexity of the concerns involved with the issue, indicating a positive attitude toward biofuels when respondents perceive them as beneficial for climate and the environment. However, when introduced to problems associated with biofuels, respondents modified their support, conditioning acceptance on the viability of solutions. They also demanded interventions with respect to the problem of climate change and asked for decision making based on factual knowledge and democratic discussions at global and local levels.

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