The Public Debate on Biofuels in Germany:
Judith Puttkammer, Harald Grethe
Guest Editors: Justus Wesseler, Martin Banse and David Zilberman
Published: 01.12.2015 〉 Volume 64 (2015), Number 4, 263-273 〉 Resort: Articles
Submitted: N. A. 〉 Feedback to authors after first review: N. A. 〉 Accepted: N. A.
Following the European Commission’s concept of a “Knowledge-based Bioeconomy” (KBBE), great significance in the process of political decision-making shall be attached to scientific expertise. In contrast, the conducted print media analysis on the German biofuel discourse for the period from 1995 to 2012 only found a marginal role of scientific actors in the debate. Even though support for biofuels has been largely rejected as inefficient by several scientific brain trusts for many years, the German government, as well as the EU adhere to this policy. This raises the question of the underlying interests that drive the persistent support for biofuels. In this context, the paper investigates the standing and positioning of different actors in the public media and thereby it contributes to a better understanding of why the political support for biofuels is continued, despite the doubts of scientists. One of the core findings of the study states, that one reason for this political support can be seen in the dominance of a coalition of biofuel advocates, mainly formed by political and economic actors, in the public discourse.