Articles featured (free to download):
Advocacy strategies of industry and environmental interest groups in oil and gas policy debates (Jan 2023) Jennifer A. Kagan & Kristin L. Olofsson
Brexit implications for sustainable energy in the UK (May 2022) Caroline Kuzemko, Mathieu Blondeel & Antony Froggatt
The impact of participatory policy formulation on regulatory legitimacy: the case of Great Britain’s Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) (Jun 2022) Elizabeth Blakelock & John Turnpenny.
With the backdrop of the current global energy crisis, it’s no surprise to us that among the most popular articles read in our journal over the last year are those exploring various aspects of energy policy. So we thought it appropriate to feature the most widely read ones in our first highlights collection for 2023.
So, hot off the press, our first featured article, published in January 2023, investigates Advocacy strategies of industry and environmental interest groups in oil and gas policy debates. This article by Jennifer A Kagan & Kristin L. Olofsson aims to deepen our understanding of how industry and environmental groups perceive their advocacy strategies and effectiveness in the context of oil and gas policy conflicts in Colorado State in the US. Their findings show that industry groups report using ‘insider’ tactics such as lobbying more effectively — ‘insiders’ being those with ties to decision makers. In contrast, environmental groups find less success on the inside and instead resort to ‘outsider’ tactics, such as protesting or mobilising the public in order to pressure decision-makers.
In addition, the research found that industry groups held more positive perceptions of ‘decision-making venues’ (ie institutional locations where formal decisions are made concerning a given policy issue), and specifically in the case of regulatory agencies, these perceptions were associated with more effective use of advocacy strategies. This suggests that, under some circumstances, industry groups are likely to hold more sway and achieve their preferred oil and gas policy outcomes. This finding has clear implications for democracy and significance for scholars working in environmental policy and interest group advocacy.
Our second featured article, investigates Brexit implications for sustainable energy in the UK. Authors Caroline Kuzemko, Mathieu Blondeel & Antony Froggatt argue that Brexit was meant to ‘take back control of our money, laws and borders’ and enable new, global trading relationships, whilst reducing bureaucratic burdens and keeping public funds in the UK. This inferred that the UK would be able to do things ‘better’ than the EU. What Brexit proponents did not promise was billions of pounds lost in trade and tax revenues, as recently reported by the Centre for European Reform. Nor was there any suggestion that meeting climate targets would become harder and that it would place huge pressures on the UK’s civil service and delay key policymaking processes, like sustainable energy transitions. For a catalogue of evidence detailing the disastrous consequences of Brexit for sustainable energy policy in Britain, read this research article.
Our third and final featured article examines The impact of participatory policy formulation on regulatory legitimacy: the case of Great Britain’s Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem). Although the title might imply that the mechanisms provided by Great Britain’s energy regulator OFGEM might be used to constructively represent citizens’ views, the research findings show otherwise. Through rigorous analysis, the authors demonstrate that, although participatory tools were adopted and made up a significant part of decision-making procedures, they failed to translate engagement by citizens or their representatives into regulatory policy that impacted the energy markets. These findings show clearly the inequalities of influence between different policy actors, and ultimately pose a significant challenge to the democratic legitimacy of the regulator.
We hope you enjoyed our three topical articles on energy policy which each highlight different implications for environmental policy. As always, we’d be delighted to hear your thoughts on our selection, or any other aspect of Policy & Politics you’d like to comment on.