The fight for king coal’s crown: Business actors in the us coal and utility industries

The fight for king coal’s crown

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.

Accordingly, 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.

About the Speaker

Dr Christian Downie is a Vice Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of New South Wales and a Visiting Fellow at the RegNet. His research focusses on global energy and climate policy and the role different state and non-state actors play at different levels to shape global outcomes. He works at the intersection of environmental politics, global governance, regulation and negotiation studies. For more information, view his UNSW profile, his RegNet profile or his personal website.


Date & time

12.30–1.30pm 12 July 2016


Seminar Room 1.04, Coombs Extension Building (8), Fellows Road, ANU  


 6125 3948

Updated:  20 April 2018/Responsible Officer:  Director, Energy Change Institute/Page Contact:  Webmaster