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Biofuels: From a win-win solution to a wicked problem?

  • Stewart Fast
  • Kes McCormick
Publishing year: 2012
Language: English
Pages: 737-748
Publication/Series: Biofuels
Volume: 3
Issue: 6
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Taylor & Francis

Abstract english

Current and recent struggles encountered in the development of the transport biofuels sector indicate a significant change in the perception of biofuels. Instead of a win-win solution, transport biofuels have become a major planning challenge. In fact, biofuels can be labelled a wicked problem. The planning studies literature offers some tools to interpret this change and guide future actions. First, by assessing recent experiences of biofuels in the EU and US against the ten characteristics of wicked problems we find biofuels “fit” the profile of such issues. Second, we observe that differentiated strategies will suit the different challenges facing biofuels development. We argue that without recognition and engagement of multiple perspectives on transport biofuels they will remain a wicked problem and we therefore advocate for strengthened approaches to communication and engagement.


  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
  • Biofuels
  • Transport
  • Wicked problem
  • Win-win solution


  • ISSN: 1759-7277
Kes McCormick
E-mail: kes [dot] mccormick [at] iiiee [dot] lu [dot] se

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