Dr Christian Downie, a Vice Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of New South Wales and a Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University, will be the speaker for this seminar. Christian will present his forthcoming paper entitled ‘The Fight for King Coal’s Crown: Business actors in the US coal and utility industries’. The abstract is below.

Over the last two decades business actors have received growing attention in global environmental politics. In the context of climate change, scholars have demonstrated the capacity of business actors to directly shape outcomes at the national, international and transnational level. Yet very little work has focused exclusively on business actors in the coal industry and utility industry. This is surprising given that resistance from these industries could delay and even derail government attempts to address climate change.

This paper focuses directly on the preferences of business actors in the coal industry and the utility industry. Drawing on interviews with executives across the US energy sector, it considers business preferences on two of the most important attempts by the Obama administration to limit emissions from coal: the Waxman-Markey bill and the Clean Power Plan. In doing so, it provides new insights about the preferences of these actors and the divisions within these industries that could be exploited by policymakers and activists seeking to enact climate change regulations.

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