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None are so deaf as those who would not hear : identifying where, who, and how the coal industry influences Australian federal energy policies

Fox, Martin LU (2020) In Masters Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science MESM02 20201
LUCSUS (Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies)
Abstract
The widespread consequences of climate change are becoming more and more evident around the world and are raising crucial awareness to world leaders that a sustainable transition is direly needed to mitigate against disastrous climatic events. In Australia, in early 2020, these events took the form of some of the most devastating and largest forest fires the country has ever seen. This devastation is raising important questions concerning the country’s decarbonisation process, as academic studies highlight the link between increasing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and amplification of climatic events. The science of climate change is solid and established: it is now up to the political arena to enact sustainable change. In Australia,... (More)
The widespread consequences of climate change are becoming more and more evident around the world and are raising crucial awareness to world leaders that a sustainable transition is direly needed to mitigate against disastrous climatic events. In Australia, in early 2020, these events took the form of some of the most devastating and largest forest fires the country has ever seen. This devastation is raising important questions concerning the country’s decarbonisation process, as academic studies highlight the link between increasing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and amplification of climatic events. The science of climate change is solid and established: it is now up to the political arena to enact sustainable change. In Australia, electricity production is one of the largest and most extensive GHG emitting industries as well as one of the most environmentally degrading, as it is almost entirely dependent on fossil-fuel burning (mainly coal). The country has a strong and deeply-rooted history with coal, which to some extent has provided the significant economic prosperity the country benefits from today. This history, alongside the multiple strategic power plays that the coal industry enacts, especially within the federal government, has proved to be a monumental roadblock towards the country's transition away from coal-burning as the major source of electricity towards renewable energy. The results of this thesis highlight, grounded in theories of Sustainability Science, where the power of the coal industry lies within the Federal Government, who exercises that power, and how it is exercised. These show that within the Federal Government, the major political arena for nationwide energy policy, the coal industry exercises its influence and manipulation through various and complex interactions with high-ranking decision-makers. By de-complexifying an entangled web of interactions, the objective of this thesis is to provide potential targets for future change-makers to “hit” to efficiently enact a sustainable transition to shift the Federal Government’s stance away from coal and towards renewable energies. Further recommendations are provided in regards to creating a path ahead that is grounded in environmental governance theory, transitioning away from network governance to a more adequately suited adaptive governance to balance social, economic, and environmental sustainability that is required today. Such recommendations, centred around the shift from engineering resilience to ecological resilience, could also serve as an inspiration for other case studies around the world where unsustainable practices exercise hegemony over policy-makers, hindering sustainable transitions. (Less)
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author
Fox, Martin LU
supervisor
organization
course
MESM02 20201
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
Sustainability Science, Sustainable Transitions, Fossil-fuel Hegemony, Decarbonisation, Australian Federal Government, Environmental Governance, Ecological Resilience
publication/series
Masters Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science
report number
2020:023
language
English
id
9012179
date added to LUP
2020-06-08 11:27:46
date last changed
2020-06-08 11:27:46
@misc{9012179,
  abstract     = {The widespread consequences of climate change are becoming more and more evident around the world and are raising crucial awareness to world leaders that a sustainable transition is direly needed to mitigate against disastrous climatic events. In Australia, in early 2020, these events took the form of some of the most devastating and largest forest fires the country has ever seen. This devastation is raising important questions concerning the country’s decarbonisation process, as academic studies highlight the link between increasing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and amplification of climatic events. The science of climate change is solid and established: it is now up to the political arena to enact sustainable change. In Australia, electricity production is one of the largest and most extensive GHG emitting industries as well as one of the most environmentally degrading, as it is almost entirely dependent on fossil-fuel burning (mainly coal). The country has a strong and deeply-rooted history with coal, which to some extent has provided the significant economic prosperity the country benefits from today. This history, alongside the multiple strategic power plays that the coal industry enacts, especially within the federal government, has proved to be a monumental roadblock towards the country's transition away from coal-burning as the major source of electricity towards renewable energy. The results of this thesis highlight, grounded in theories of Sustainability Science, where the power of the coal industry lies within the Federal Government, who exercises that power, and how it is exercised. These show that within the Federal Government, the major political arena for nationwide energy policy, the coal industry exercises its influence and manipulation through various and complex interactions with high-ranking decision-makers. By de-complexifying an entangled web of interactions, the objective of this thesis is to provide potential targets for future change-makers to “hit” to efficiently enact a sustainable transition to shift the Federal Government’s stance away from coal and towards renewable energies. Further recommendations are provided in regards to creating a path ahead that is grounded in environmental governance theory, transitioning away from network governance to a more adequately suited adaptive governance to balance social, economic, and environmental sustainability that is required today. Such recommendations, centred around the shift from engineering resilience to ecological resilience, could also serve as an inspiration for other case studies around the world where unsustainable practices exercise hegemony over policy-makers, hindering sustainable transitions.},
  author       = {Fox, Martin},
  keyword      = {Sustainability Science,Sustainable Transitions,Fossil-fuel Hegemony,Decarbonisation,Australian Federal Government,Environmental Governance,Ecological Resilience},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  series       = {Masters Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science},
  title        = {None are so deaf as those who would not hear : identifying where, who, and how the coal industry influences Australian federal energy policies},
  year         = {2020},
}