Bioenergy versus Soil Improvement: Policy Coherence and Implementation Gaps in Crop Residue-Based Bioenergy Development in China

Zhang, Jiaqi; Oosterveer, Peter; Li, Yue; Greene, Mary


Promoting crop residue-based bioenergy (CRB) is a strategy for mitigating climate change and ensuring water-energy-food security. Although China has abundant crop residues, CRB is not well developed, and several policy targets are not being reached. These implementation gaps need critical examination as CRB development mainly relies on policy support. This examination provides a framework to assess the feasibility of this policy that covers several cross-cutting issues. By reviewing national policies, this paper analyzes the horizontal coherence of multisectoral CRB policies during the last two decades. Based on 55 semi-structured interviews, conducted with stakeholders, civil servants and experts, we analyzed the vertical coherence among policy implementation to further explore the causes of the limited success of CRB policies. The priority given to the cultivation and livestock sectors (particularly for soil improvement) in crop residue utilization policies and the development of energy policy targets resulted in horizontal policy incoherence. Furthermore, financial limitations were shown to be the most significant obstacle to CRB policy implementation. Successful CRB policy implementation requires a debate about the crop residue utilization for either energy or fertilizer to determine the more sustainable application. Appropriate incentives and increased technological quality of bioenergy projects are also recommended. View Full-Text