Events

GIR Colloquium Series | Business actors, political resistance, and strategies for policymakers

7 June, 2018
1:00pm - 2:30pm

Abstract

Existing energy policies remain well short of achieving a rapid transformation to a low carbon system of energy supply. One of the principal reasons has been political resistance from incumbent fossil fuel industries. While numerous studies have demonstrated the influence of business actors across multiple policy domains, less work has examined the behaviour of business actors in individual energy-centric industries, namely the oil, gas, coal, utility and renewable industries. Accordingly, this paper examines the role of business actors in the US energy sector and asks what should policymakers do? Drawing on new empirical data, primarily semi-structured interviewers with business actors across the US energy sector, this paper argues that there are specific strategies policymakers can employ to help overcome the resistance from incumbent fossil fuel industries. Specifically these are to: entrench and build existing interests via targeted sector specific policies; exploit inter-industry and intra-industry divisions; and shift existing interests with policies that induce changes in industry investment and structure.

 

About the speaker

Christian Downie is an Australian Research Council DECRA Fellow (2018-2021) and the Higher Degree Research Convenor in the School of Regulation and Global Governance at The Australian National University. He was previously a Vice Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of New South Wales. Christian has worked as a foreign policy advisor to the Australian Government’s Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and a climate policy advisor to the Department of Climate Change. Christian holds a PhD in international relations and political science from the Australian National University, having graduated from the University of Sydney with first class honours in economics. He has spent time teaching or researching at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the London School of Economics and Political Science and the University of Chulalongkorn, among others, and he has worked in policy think tanks in Canberra and Washington D.C. Christian is the author of more than 20 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters including publications in Global Environmental Politics, Energy Policy, Global Governance, International Affairs, and Third World Quarterly. His first book, The Politics of Climate Change Negotiations, was published in 2014.

Location: Merewether Room 498, Butlin Avenue, University of Sydney