First FFU book project workshop “Low-carbon Energy Transitions”

ffu-logo-final1The workshop is going to take place at the Environmental Policy Research Centre (FFU) at the Free University of Berlin on 14 February. The title of my conference paper, presentation and working title of my chapter is: “Germany: Energiewende going local?”.

Working title of the whole book is: “Energy policy in a carbon-constrained world”.

From the book editors proposal:

In all of the countries the book looks at, we see movements towards the promotion of low-carbon energy systems. Yet, without support from and implementation on the local level these policies or visions of energy policy in a carbon-constrained world cannot be translated into reality. A range of questions, in all phases of energy policy making – from agenda-setting to implementation – are indeed linked to the local level and its contribution to policy change in the field of energy. The book therefore aims to answer the question of whether the local level is a driver or an obstacle to energy transition/low-carbon energy policies and their implementation in the XY countries selected.

Article together with Andre Schaffrin on the role of veto players and leaders in the new field of climate mitigation policy

This article titled: “Breaks or engines? The role of veto players and leaders in the new field of climate mitigation policy” is a part of Andre Schaffrin’s cumulative dissertation: Schaffrin, Andre (2013), “Policy Change: Concept, Measurement, and Causes. An Empirical Analysis of Climate Mitigation Policy”, Dissertation, Universität zu Kölln. It is available here.

Breaks or engines? The role of veto players and leaders in the new field of climate mitigation policy


Veto player theory is undoubtedly one of the most prominent approaches for explaining policy stability and change. While some studies have corroborated the influence of veto players and their preferences, other empirical work has provided mixed evidence. Three critical points are discussed: the identification of veto players, the measurement of policy preferences and the assumption of equivalence of veto players. This article aims to shed new light on the theoretical debate and empirical influence of veto players by applying the model to a newly emerging policy field. While most empirical studies have tested veto player theory in established fields such as social or economic policy, the new field of climate mitigation provides a different context for political decision-making. In this situation with a status quo outside the median preferences, a lack of policy baggage and newly forming actors and interests, the absolute anchoring of preferences and the identification of leaders seems to be an important extension of the veto player perspective. Using a mixed-methods approach, this article combines a large-N pooled time-series cross-section analysis of national policies on energy efficiency in 25 EU member states from 1998 to 2010 with a case-study analysis of the renewable electricity laws in Poland (2005) and Germany (2000). The findings demonstrate that climate leaders play a crucial role in stimulating climate mitigation policy. The case study suggests that political actors other than official veto players such as ministers or the EU strongly influence the process of agenda setting and decision making. The findings underscore the importance of including a measure of the internal cohesion of veto players, the presence of leaders, and the consideration of motives other than policy preferences in future analyses.

Contibution: report about the big business influence on the Warsaw Climate Summit

Published by Corporate Europe Observatory, with research contributions by Karolina Jankowska, 19 November 2013.

Trouble always comes in threes: Big polluters, the Polish government and the UN

It is an inauspicious sign for the outcome of the United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP19, that Poland, a country heavily dependent on coal and notorious for blocking more ambitious climate change policy at the EU level, is this year’s host for the meeting. The Polish Government has invited private corporate sponsorship of the COP a first for the conference raising questions of whether this is being taken seriously as an international meeting of paramount importance, or a facilitated lobbying opportunity for those who have a direct commercial interest in burning more fossil fuels. The fact that one business sponsor, the steel manufacturer ArcelorMittal, paid for the building of the structures housing the international meeting and has its logo on it is powerfully emblematic of how corporations have captured the COP process itself1. Meanwhile the International Coal and Climate Summit run by the World Coal Association is taking place as a parallel event, with the support of the Polish Ministry of the Economy; they have issued a joint “Warsaw Communique” proposing the non-existent “clean coal” to fight climate change.