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Frame Analysis in Environmental Conflicts: The case of ethanol production in Brazil
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Industrial Ecology.
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Governments and policy-makers are currently dealing with some key issues as energy security in countries dependent on oil imports; global economic development, including increased food production; and controlling global climate change and greenhouse gas emissions. The perception that biofuel could solve these challenges simultaneously has led to the implementation of policy and regulatory mechanisms on the mandatory use of biofuels, resulting in a sharp increase in biofuel production and consumption.

Serious concerns about large-scale ethanol production have been raised regarding loss of biodiversity and competition for land between food and ethanol production. It is also suggested that sugarcane-based ethanol increases GHG emissions due to indirect land use change. Furthermore, sugarcane harvesting has been criticised for causing air pollution and bad working conditions for cutters. These criticisms have mostly been denied by Brazilian actors.

This thesis seeks to clarify these divergent views and conflicts concerning Brazilian ethanol. It was carried out within a KTH research programme that uses frames in the analysis of conflicts emerging from the development and implementation of new technologies. Frame analysis can help improve understanding of such conflicts, which derive from differences in values, world views and beliefs and can be difficult to resolve. Frame analysis seeks to identify the particular factors determining the actions taken by different stakeholders, giving equal treatment to all actors.

The results showed that the international views expressed in the media captured the attention of the public and policy-makers, and led them to frame ethanol as a destructive for nature fuel. The analysis identified that the ethanol as a threat to food security frame combined with the ethanol as a destructive for nature frame led the public and policy-makers to frame ethanol as a brown fuel. However, Brazilian actors frame ethanol differently: as a green and safe fuel. These differences have raised the conflicts that are analysed in this thesis. Furthermore, the analysis identified that the changes in the harvesting system, from manual to mechanised –besides decreasing air pollution- will cost the job of hundreds of thousands of cane cutters. Values and beliefs orientating such changes are analysed in the thesis.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology , 2011. , viii, 105 p.
Series
Trita-IM, ISSN 1402-7615 ; 2011:29
Keyword [en]
Brazil, biodiversity, biofuel, CO2 emissions, environmental conflict, ethanol, frame, frame analysis, land use change, sugarcane, sugarcane cutters, sustainable energy
National Category
Environmental Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-39502ISBN: 978-91-7501-074-8 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-39502DiVA: diva2:440064
Public defence
2011-09-20, Sal F3, Lindstedtsvägen 26, KTH, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
QC 20110912Available from: 2011-09-12 Created: 2011-09-12 Last updated: 2011-09-26Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Framing land use change in the expansion of Brazilian ethanol production
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Framing land use change in the expansion of Brazilian ethanol production
(English)In: International Journal of Sustainable Society, ISSN 1756-2538, E-ISSN 1756-2546Article in journal (Refereed) Accepted
Keyword
Amazonia, Brazil, Cerrado, deforestation, Carbon dioxide emissions, ethanol, frames, land use change, sugarcane plantation, sustainable energy
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-39686 (URN)
Available from: 2011-09-12 Created: 2011-09-12 Last updated: 2017-12-08Bibliographically approved
2. Frame analysis of environmental conflicts in ethanol production in Brazil
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Frame analysis of environmental conflicts in ethanol production in Brazil
2013 (English)In: International Journal of Sustainable Society, ISSN 1756-2538, E-ISSN 1756-2546, Vol. 5, no 1, 62-77 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Various actions have been taken by environmental agencies and ethanol producers to promote the environmental sustainability of Brazilian ethanol. The banning of cane burning before harvesting is one such action, since this decreases air pollution and CO2 emissions. However, it also changes harvesting from a manual to a mechanised process and is thus likely to cost the jobs of the hundreds of thousands of cane cutters who are employed annually by mills and distilleries. This study examines the conflicts between methods for harvesting sugarcane. Frame analysis is used to explain the different frames held by the actors and to discuss options for conflict resolution. The complexity of sustainable development is illustrated by comparing economic and environmental improvements with the social situation of the cutters. The analysis also illustrates how the values orientating the frames held by actors influence the formulation of public policies and agreements among the actors.

Keyword
Brazil, ethanol, frame analysis, pre-harvest cane burning, sugarcane cutters, working conditions, social sustainability
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-39687 (URN)10.1504/IJSSOC.2013.050535 (DOI)2-s2.0-84870781988 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20130207. Updated from accepted to published.

Available from: 2011-09-12 Created: 2011-09-12 Last updated: 2017-12-08Bibliographically approved
3. Framing the debates over Brazilian ethanol production
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Framing the debates over Brazilian ethanol production
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Keyword
Biofuel, Brazil, ethanol, food versus fuel, frame, sugarcane, sustainable energy.
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-39689 (URN)
Note
QC 20110912Available from: 2011-09-12 Created: 2011-09-12 Last updated: 2011-09-12Bibliographically approved

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