Sustainability Transitions: A Political Coalition Perspective

TitleSustainability Transitions: A Political Coalition Perspective
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsHess, David J.
JournalResearch Poilcy
Pagination278 - 283
Date Published2014///
Keywordsclimate change, environmental sustainability, global warming, greenhouse gases

In the case of technology transitions to low-carbon sources of energy, there is growing evidence that even in countries with a strong political consensus in favor of a transition, the pace has been slow in comparison with the need to reduce greenhouse gases. One factor that affects the slowness of the transition is political resistance from the incumbent industrial regime. Using data on the mobilization of resistance from the fossil-fuel industry in the United States, the study builds on the growing literature on the political dimensions of sustainability transitions by drawing attention to the role of incumbent regime coalitions, grassroots coalitions in support of green transition policies, and countervailing industrial power. Case studies of political coalitions for ballot propositions in the U.S. are used to show how countervailing industrial power, especially from the technology and financial sector, can tip the balance of electoral spending in favor of grassroots organizations.