The future we want? Understanding core discourses of the EU LULUCF debate
The discussions over nuts and bolts of the LULUCF policy outputs mobilized various interests groups that represent diverse interests and frame the policy problem – and its responses - in different manner. Some point to forests’ role as carbon sinks and hence argue it is essential to keep trees standing in achieving climate mitigation targets. Others argue that forests are one of the core resources of the economic development strategy – so-called bioeconomy, especially in the Nordic countries, and harvest should increase to ensure sustainable supply of necessary materials, which will bring economic and social contributions. The in-depth understanding of such positions over forests and forests uses through discourse analysis can help to grasp social and political behavior of different actors, as well as to reveal how certain narratives shape the problem understanding. This, in turn, can illuminate the implications of the prevailing discourses for implementation of climate mitigation actions.
Particularly interesting questions are: How is LULUCF framed in the EU political debate, by whom? How are sustainability dimensions (ecological, economic, and social) integrated into the EU climate debate, and who’s sustainability understanding matters? What are possible implications of the LULUCF discourses for global climate and forest governance, and the desired policy outcomes?
Science-policy interactions in the EU LULUCF. An evidence-based policy-making?
The forestry sector has a long and well-established research tradition. However, controversies are a common feature, especially with regard to researchers’ views on forest management, largely concerning productivity versus other forest functions. LULUCF became one of the key policy arenas where diverse interpretations and bodies of evidence from forest research emerged. Epistemic communities formed by experts help decision-makers to define the problems they face, identify various policy solutions and assess the policy outcomes. Hence, whose evidence matters in a policy-making process will have strong implications for the actual policy outcomes of EU climate decisions.
Thus, the questions related to this are: Are there differences within the community of knowledge-based experts within the different LULUCF and other forest-related policy arenas in the EU? How are these linked to policy coalitions pursuing particular policy outcomes and in short, how does scientific diversity translate into evidence-based policy-making? Whose science matters and why?
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