Acceptance of Brazilian ethanol fuel and the role of expertise

Lehtonen, Markku (2014) Acceptance of Brazilian ethanol fuel and the role of expertise. Biofuels, 5 (3). pp. 261-274. ISSN 1759-7269

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Improving the public understanding and acceptance of biofuels – those characterised as “advanced” or “next generation” in particular – is generally considered a key challenge of biofuel politics. A worthy objective as such, fostering consensus and enhancing public acceptance and acceptability is highly problematic as the sole objective for the production of expertise in biofuel policy. This paper examines the role of Brazilian experts in the production and use of evidence in the international and national biofuel controversies in 2007–2013. In particular, the article examines the interaction between experts and other stakeholders in the processes whereby the various participants in the debate use diverse forms of expertise in order to legitimise and delegitimise the country’s sugarcane ethanol fuel policy, and thereby to influence the acceptance of Brazilian ethanol fuel. The paper concludes by examining the behaviour of these experts from four perspectives on the role of expertise in policymaking, and argues in favour of greater attention to public conflict and controversy as not only unavoidable, but indeed as essential elements in democratic decision-making and construction of robust evidence for biofuel policy decisions.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Acceptability of an energy technology; Acceptance of an energy technology; Social legitimacy; Legitimisation/delegitimisation; Counter-expertise; Deficit model; Democratising science; Pragmatic sociology
Schools and Departments: School of Business, Management and Economics > SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Depositing User: Markku Lehtonen
Date Deposited: 14 Jul 2014 08:32
Last Modified: 14 Jul 2014 08:32
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