Energy and Resources Group Fall 2014 Colloquium Series (ER295)
Precautionary or premature? The politics of indirect land use change (ILUC) policy
Lecturer and Post-Doctoral Scholar
Goldman School of Public Policy
Scientific evidence about environmental problems typically precedes policy action by years or decades. In contrast, biofuels regulation offers an unusual case in which policy leapt ahead of scientific evidence. In 2007, the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) determined that lifecycle carbon accounting for biofuels would included emissions from indirect land use change (ILUC) – but the first peer-reviewed article quantifying ILUC emissions was not published until 2008. This analysis traces the political dynamics that led to this unusual environmental policy outcome and explores the implications for biofuel regulations going forward.
Hanna Breetz is a political scientist who studies alternative energy policy. Her research analyzes the political processes that shape policy for alternative fuels, including biofuels and synthetic fuels, with a particular focus on the role of science in policy-making. She received her Ph.D. from MIT, where she was an NSF IGERT fellow in the Program on Emerging Technologies. She was also a pre-doctoral fellow in the Energy Technology Innovation Policy program at the Harvard Kennedy School. Currently, Dr. Breetz is a post-doctoral fellow and lecturer at UC Berkeley with a joint appointment between the Goldman School of Public Policy and the Energy Biosciences Institute. Starting in January 2015, she will be an assistant professor in the School of Sustainability at Arizona State University.