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Who with Whom in Biofuel Policy? Coalitions in the Media Discourse on Liquid Biofuels in Germany

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Politically driven, Germany’s biofuel sector has developed extremely fast in the last two decades. This development was favoured by a very successful presence of the beneficiaries of that support policy ‐ namely, the biofuel industry, German farmers and the agribusiness ‐ in the media.

Amongst renewable energies, the use of biomass for fuel production is certainly one of the most controversially discussed forms. Although biofuels have been criticized for years, the EU and its member states persistently support this alternative fuel. The politically-driven development of biofuels has, especially in Germany, grown very fast in the years 1995 to 2012. This study is interested in the discursive environment that contributed to this growth. By applying a media discourse analysis, we investigated the perception of biofuels, discourse coaltions, and why some actors managed to dominate the public debate on biofuels.

As our results show, biofuel supporters were most successful as

they found several advocates across different policy areas,


made use of the most significant frame within the debate, and


used a variety of arguments in a broad, but still incorporated set of frames.
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Keywords: biofuel policy; discourse coalition; interest group; media discourse; media frame

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2018

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  • GAIA is a peer-reviewed inter- and transdisciplinary journal for scientists and other interested parties concerned with the causes and analyses of environmental and sustainability problems and their solutions.

    Environmental problems cannot be solved by one academic discipline. The complex natures of these problems require cooperation across disciplinary boundaries. Since 1991, GAIA has offered a well-balanced and practice-oriented forum for transdisciplinary research. GAIA offers first-hand information on state of the art environmental research and on current solutions to environmental problems. Well-known editors, advisors, and authors work to ensure the high quality of the contributions found in GAIA and a unique transdisciplinary dialogue – in a comprehensible style.

    GAIA is an ISI-journal, listed in the Science Citation Index Expanded, Social Science Citation Index and in Current Contents/Social and Behavioral Sciences.

    All contributions undergo a double-blind peer review.

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