Social Dynamics of Renewable Energy—How the European Union’s Renewable Energy Directive Triggers Land Pressure in Tanzania

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Abstract

The European Union plays a globally influential role in environmental legislation, with policies and regulation rooted in particular norms. Through a narrative on regulatory capitalism, ecological modernization, and diffusion, we trace how the promotion of renewable energy in transport through subsidies, mandatory targets, and prescriptive criteria for liquid biofuels mobilize social forces for its market development. The study identifies prevailing norms, mechanisms of decision making, and the network of actors involved in this regulatory regime and also identifies where and through whom its expansion influenced decisions in Tanzania. The findings show how this regime emphasizes systematic eco-innovation of energy technologies, has a substitutable approach to natural capital, and subordinates social concerns to economic efficiency. The analysis shows how this regime mobilized a broader network of actors with similar interests, who mediated the political space of liquid biofuels in Tanzania in ways which conflicted with a domestic critique concerning land use.

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  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)156–185
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Environment and Development
Volume26
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jun 1
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes