Prospects and policy options for Thailand's trade in bioenergy in the Mekong : implications for sustainable development / Sabrina Shaw = โอกาสและทางเลือกเชิงนโยบายทางการค้าพลังงานชีวภาพของไทยในภูมิภาคลุ่มน้ำโขง: นัยที่สำคัญต่อการพัฒนาที่ยั่งยืน / ซาบรินา ชอว์
This thesis examines the emerging dynamics of agroenergy, sustainable development and regional integration in the Mekong region, where trade has become the currency of cooperation. Thailand has commercialised biofuels to contribute to the national target to increase renewable energy sources to 8% by 2011. Whilst Thailand has signalled a new era with its renewable energy strategies, there has yet to be sufficient assessment of the socio–environmental effects of the agricultural shifts entailed. The conceptual framework for this thesis sets the Mekong agroenergy discourse in the context of the theories of reflexive modernisation and regional modernities. It examines agroenergy development in theory, policy and practice through empirical analysis based on field study of six cases, indepth interviews, focus groups and a survey questionnaire, with Brazil’s agroenergy experience as a comparative model. This work elaborates a new interpretation of modernsation based on an agroecological framework that incorporates smallholders in the regional energy matrix. The main conclusions are that Thailand’s bioenergy model has the potential to diversify and add value to its agricultural production and trade while addressing sustainable development. However, increasing demand for agricultural feedstocks, such as cassava and sugarcane for ethanol and palm oil for biodiesel, may encourage unsustainable agricultural expansion in neighbouring Mekong countries. There is a rupture in policy making between different stakeholders that needs to be addressed by coordinated change towards sustainable development that integrates smallholders and avoids business as usual scenarios driving large–scale monoculture plantations.