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Sub-national environmental policy integration: learning across levels?
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.
(English)In: Local Environment: the International Journal of Justice and Sustainability, ISSN 1354-9839, E-ISSN 1469-6711Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
Abstract [en]

Environmental policy integration, EPI, refers to the integration of environmental aspects and policy objectivesinto non‐environmental sector policies. EPI can be viewed as an environmental learning process, but whathappens when EPI is to travel across political levels? This article explores EPI in a previously neglected policyarena; the sub‐national level, where Biofuel Region (BFR) in the north Swedish counties Västerbotten andVästernorrland is studied in depth. According to previous studies, an environmental perspective is integratedinto bioenergy policy on the EU level and Swedish level, but is an environmental perspective present also onthe sub‐national level, within BFR? Furthermore, can the development in BFR be explained by cross‐levellearning? In a discussion of the impact of EU and Swedish bioenergy policy on the sub‐national bioenergydevelopment, the concluding discussion revolves around the overarching question of this study: what are thesub‐national implications of higher‐level EPI in a policy area?

National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
Research subject
statskunskap
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-42809OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-42809DiVA: diva2:410447
Available from: 2011-04-13 Created: 2011-04-13 Last updated: 2017-12-11Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Environmental policy integration in bioenergy: policy learning across sectors and levels?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Environmental policy integration in bioenergy: policy learning across sectors and levels?
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

A central principle within UN and EU policy is environmental policyintegration (EPI), aiming at integrating environmental aspirations, targetsand requirements into sector policy in order to promote sustainabledevelopment. The focus of this study is EPI in bioenergy policy. Bioenergy isa renewable energy source of increasing importance in the EU and Swedishenergy mix. At the same time, it is debated how environmentally friendlybioenergy really is. Furthermore, bioenergy can be considered both a multisectorand a multi-level case, since bioenergy is produced in many differentsectors and bioenergy policy is formulated and implemented on differentlevels. Therefore, EPI in bioenergy policy is here analysed over time in twosectors (energy and agriculture) and on three levels (EU, national, subnational).A cognitive, policy learning perspective on EPI is adopted, tracingEPI through looking for reframing of policy towards incorporatingenvironmental objectives in policy rhetoric and practice. Furthermore,institutional and political explanations for the development are discussed.Paper I analyses EPI in Swedish bioenergy policy within energy andagriculture. Paper II analyses institutional conditions for multi-sector EPI inSwedish bioenergy policy. Paper III analyses EPI in EU bioenergy policywithin energy and agriculture. Paper IV analyses sub-national EPI in thecase of the Biofuel Region in north Sweden. The material examined consistsof policy documents complemented by semi-structured interviews.

Together, the four papers provide a more complex and holistic picture ofthe EPI process than in previous research, which mainly has focused onstudying EPI in single sectors and on single levels. The study shows thatpriorities are different on different levels; that EPI has varied over time; butthat EPI today is detectable within bioenergy policy in both studied sectorsand on all levels. Policy learning in bioenergy is found to be mainly a topdownprocess. Furthermore, policy coherence between sectors and levels;long-term goals; and concrete policy instruments are found to be importantboth for the EPI process as such and for the outcomes from this process.However, when attempting to marry different goals, such as growth, securityand sustainability, in line with the three-tiered (economic, social, ecologic)sustainable development concept, environmental aspects risks not to beprioritised when goal conflicts arise. The study proposes that future researchboth continues the analysis of multi-sector and multi-level EPI, and furtherexplores to what extent ecological sustainability is improved by EPI.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Department of Political Science, Umeå University, 2011. 88 p.
Series
Statsvetenskapliga institutionens skriftserie, ISSN 0349-0831 ; 2011:1
Keyword
environmental policy integration, sustainability, multi-level EPI, multisector EPI, learning, frames, bioenergy, energy, agriculture, EU, Sweden
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
Research subject
statskunskap
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-42810 (URN)978-91-7459-195-8 (ISBN)
Public defence
2011-05-20, Samhällsvetarhuset, Hörsal C, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2011-04-29 Created: 2011-04-13 Last updated: 2011-04-28Bibliographically approved

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