Framing the issues: Whats the problem?

On September 15, 2013 ‘VoiceofRussia UK’ published a very interesting debate on the ‘Pros and Cons of Biofuels’. The panel hosted a variety of uniquely different speakers, including: a member of the MEP (Member of the European Parliament) and spokesman on Industry and Energy, a director of a think tank audacity, director of biotechnology from a university in London, a director of Action Aid and the director of E-pure (a leading EU distributor of biofuels).


There was a distinct clash of ideas and a number of contradicting statistics that were debated. The two most opposing talkers on the show was by far Rachel Noble (Action Aid) and Rob Vehauer (E-pure). Rachel argued that biofuels should be minimized due to the issues of ‘land-grabbing’ (foreign countries buying up land in other countries). She elaborated by saying that land set aside for biofuels was increasing local food prices and used examples such as Adax a Swiss biofuel company that had recently bought up land in South Africa.


Rob Vehauer totally agreed with Rachel but stated that his company and many like his all produced the stock for biofuels locally in Europe, where there was an abundance of land, and therefore downplayed such issues.


Other debates was that if biofuels were analyzed across their entire life-cycle then two of the main drivers of biofuels (reducing CO2 emissions and providing local sources of clean energy) were currently being revealed to have a counter effect.


It became clear in the debate that each spokesperson represented a distinctly different organization and this dictated how each person was framing the issue. After researching the backgrounds and organizations that each spokesperson represented I was able to gain a greater understanding of the thought processes and decisions each talker had made.


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