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Fighting for King Coal’s Crown: Business Actors in the US Coal and Utility Industries

Christian Downie

Global Environmental Politics, 2017, vol. 17, issue 1, 21-39

Abstract: 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 levels. However, very little work has focused exclusively on business actors in the coal and utility industries. This is surprising, given that resistance from these industries could delay or even derail government attempts to address climate change. Accordingly, this article focuses directly on the preferences of business actors in the coal and utility industries. 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 policy-makers and activists seeking to enact climate change regulations.

Date: 2017
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