1st Edition

Business Battles in the US Energy Sector Lessons for a Clean Energy Transition

By Christian Downie Copyright 2019
    194 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    194 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book is ground breaking in its study of business actors in climate and energy politics. While various studies have demonstrated the influence of business actors across multiple policy domains, this is the first to examine the behaviour of business actors in energy centric industries in the US that will be vital for achieving a clean energy transition, namely the oil, gas, coal, utility, and renewable industries.

    Drawing on almost 80 interviews with senior energy executives, lobbyists, and policymakers, it asks two central questions: (i) how and why are business actors shaping energy policy contests in the US? And (ii) what are the implications for policymakers? In answering these questions, this book provides new insights about the preferences and strategies of business in the energy sector, and, significantly, it identifies strategies for policymakers seeking to regulate energy in the face of political resistance from incumbent fossil fuel industries.

    This book will be of particular value to students, scholars, and policymakers working in the fields of energy, climate, and environmental politics, as well as individuals generally interested in the role that business exerts over policy processes.

    List of Figures

    List of Tables



    List of Abbreviations

    Chapter 1 – Introduction

    Chapter 2 – Understanding Business Preferences, Strategies and Influence

    Chapter 3 – Exporting to the World: Policy contests in the oil and gas industries

    Chapter 4 – The War on Coal: Policy contests in the coal and utility industries

    Chapter 5 – The Rise of Renewable Power: Policy contests in the wind and solar industries

    Chapter 6 – Re-thinking Business Behaviour in the US Energy Sector

    Chapter 7 – What Should Policymakers Do?




    Christian Downie is an Australian Research Council DECRA Fellow in the School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet) at The Australian National University, and author of The Politics of Climate Change Negotiations: Strategies and Variables in Prolonged International Negotiations (2014).

    "Despite mounting evidence of catastrophic climate change, some fossil fuel industries continue to resist the green energy revolution. Christian Downie’s excellent book provides a succinct analysis of the climate policy battles within the US energy sector. Anyone who wants to know how to overcome corporate resistance should read this book!" --  Robert Falkner, Associate Professor of International Relations and Research Director, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, LSE, UK

    "This very well written volume provides a detailed examination of the fascinating corporate struggles and strategies to shape environmental policy in America. It tells the story of a crucial but frequently overlooked part of the climate discussion and how the energy industry has shaped its regulatory framework." -- Simon Dalby, Professor, Balsillie School of International Affairs, Canada

    "Business sectors related to fossil fuels are the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, but business also controls the financial and technological resources to help fix the problem. As Christian Downie lays out so cogently and clearly in this landmark book, business also controls powerful political resources which it uses to shape public debates and regulatory policy. His detailed exploration of six major policy battles in the United States during the Obama administration highlights the ways that businesses behave as political actors, through lobbying, mobilizing coalitions, and framing debates. Downie also points to ways that policymakers can harness a nuanced understanding of business power to pursue environmental goals, for example, by deftly manoeuvring through inter- and intra-sectoral divisions and by crafting incentives that reshape business interests." -- David Levy, Professor, Academic Co-Director, Sustainable Solutions Lab, University of Massachusetts, USA