Understanding the sustainability debate on forest biomass for energy in Europe: A discourse analysis.

Citation metadata

From: PLoS ONE(Vol. 16, Issue 2)
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Document Type: Report
Length: 16,585 words
Lexile Measure: 1670L

Document controls

Main content

Abstract :

The legislative process before the adoption of the revised European Union renewable energy directive mobilised various actors around the forest biomass issue in Europe. Which storylines do actors use to discuss and define the sustainability of forest biomass, how are the differences between the existing storylines explained, and can distinct 'discourse coalitions' of actors be observed as following each storyline? These questions are addressed through a discourse analysis to critically evaluate the debate around the utilisation of forest biomass for European renewable energy to identify persistent storylines adopted by discourse coalitions as they communicate their understanding of the issue, and compete to influence the policymaking and public perception. The hypotheses are that there are more than the hypothetical binary arrangement of pro versus anti storylines, and that some actors follow multiple storylines. Locating the methodological approach on the two dimensions; text versus context and critical versus constructivist, this study pays closer attention to context rather than on individual linguistic elements of texts. Regarding the second dimension, this study builds upon constructivist epistemology, being concerned with understanding which truths these storylines produce for their speakers, and their external influences upon alternative storylines and actors. The three storylines presented here represent three competing discourses regarding forest biomass usage in European renewable energy: forestry prioritised, climate focussed and critical. Each of these are promoted by actors aiming to gain discursive hegemony on the issue, both in terms of the impact of their discourse upon EU policy making and in the eyes of the public. Despite the discursive differences created by these deeply held opposing views of what sustainability and nature are and what this means for forest biomass, there were several points where narrative elements overlapped. These can provide insight for developing a more constructive debate on the sustainability of forest biomass.

Source Citation

Source Citation   

Gale Document Number: GALE|A652074692