Tom Richardson 'Bioenergy science and the politics of sustainability: a discursive examination of four UK bioenergy research projects'
SpeakersTom Richardson, PhD Student, Centre for Rural Policy Research, University of Exeter
VenueUniversity of Exeter,Egenis,Byrne House,St Germans Road,Exeter, EX4 4PJRoom no: GF7, Byrne House
Event detailsTime: 3:30 - 5:00 PMSince 2003, development of bioenergy in the UK has been driven by the advent of a new ‘sustainable energy policy’. In response, research into bioenergy has become more co-ordinated and strategically focused around the delivery of a sustainable bioenergy sector. Drawing on research involving four case study projects, this talk will give a broad introduction to the way that sustainability is interpreted and operationalised in research-council funded bioenergy science. It is suggested that while many aspects of these projects could be considered progressive, in terms of their interdisciplinarity and public engagement activity, a reflexive consideration of their wider political dimensions are lacking. In this respect, much of the research implicitly and explicitly reproduces many of the storylines and framings associated the dominant policy discourse. Bioenergy within these research projects is generally conceptualised as a solution, and sustainability is often conflated with the technology’s potential to mitigate climate change and realise GHG savings. It is suggested that if bioenergy science is to meaningfully engage with sustainable development, a more considered and reflexive approach is needed.