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Short Circuiting Policy: Interest Groups and the Battle Over Clean Energy and Climate Policy in the American States

Leah Cardamore Stokes (Assistant Professor of Political Science, Assistant Professor of Political Science, UC-Santa Barbara)



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Oxford University Press Inc
29 April 2020
Political science & theory; Comparative politics; Central government policies; Regional government policies; Global warming
In 1999, Texas passed a landmark clean energy law, beginning a groundswell of new policies that promised to make the US a world leader in renewable energy. As Leah Stokes shows in Short Circuiting Policy, however, that policy did not lead to momentum in Texas, which failed to implement its solar laws or clean up its electricity system. Examining clean energy laws in Texas, Kansas, Arizona, and Ohio over a thirty-year time frame, Stokes argues that organized combat between advocate and opponent interest groups is central to explaining why states are not on track to address the climate crisis. She tells the political history of our energy institutions, explaining how fossil fuel companies and electric utilities have promoted climate denial and delay. Stokes further explains the limits of policy feedback theory, showing the ways that interest groups drive retrenchment through lobbying, public opinion, political parties and the courts. More than a history of renewable energy policy in modern America, Short Circuiting Policy offers a bold new argument about how the policy process works, and why seeming victories can turn into losses when the opposition has enough resources to roll back laws.
By:   Leah Cardamore Stokes (Assistant Professor of Political Science Assistant Professor of Political Science UC-Santa Barbara)
Imprint:   Oxford University Press Inc
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 232mm,  Width: 153mm,  Spine: 19mm
Weight:   458g
ISBN:   9780190074265
ISBN 10:   0190074264
Series:   Studies in Postwar American Political Development
Pages:   320
Publication Date:   29 April 2020
Audience:   Professional and scholarly ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Leah Cardamore Stokes is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of California Santa Barbara. Her research and writing on climate change and energy policy has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, as well as numerous scholarly journals.

Reviews for Short Circuiting Policy: Interest Groups and the Battle Over Clean Energy and Climate Policy in the American States

With US national politics deadlocked under right-wing dominance, crucial battles over clean energy are playing out in the states. In this brilliant new book, Leah Stokes spells out exactly how and why entrenched interests can take advantage of weak, ambiguous laws to achieve costly delays and hobble infant clean energy sources. All citizens fighting for effective responses to global warming should heed the lessons in this book-and scholars studying policy battles in many other realms have much to learn from it as well. * Theda R. Skopol, Harvard University and Scholars Strategy Network * With Washington gridlocked or worse, advocates for action on climate change have looked to the states for leadership. In this deeply researched and sobering analysis, Leah Stokes shows why these hopes must be combined with vigilance and tenacity. Even where states have managed to introduce innovative reforms, Stokes shows, deeply entrenched and resourceful fossil fuel interests can often regain the upper hand. * Paul Pierson, University of California-Berkeley * This is a book of the very first importance, a stunningly good piece of investigation that lays bare the answer to what may be the world's most important mystery: why are we moving so slowly to address the greatest crisis the planet has ever faced? It should be read-and memorized-by everyone who deals with energy policy in any way, shape, or form. * Bill McKibben, Middlebury College *

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