This dissertation examines the interaction between the European Commission’s climate strategies and natural gas policies between 1992–2018. Natural gas was presumed by many to take the role of the transition fuel, paving the way from a fossil fuel reliance to a renewable energy-based future. This was based on its physical qualities which were amplified through a narrative accepted by a number of actors involved in its governance. The Commission also accepted this approach, but, as its climate ambitions increased in the 2010s, it began to withdraw support for respective infrastructure projects and then questioned whether natural gas could become the transition fuel. To theorize findings, this thesis introduces the greening institutionalism analytical framework, which proposes a framework to interpret how political institutions change over time in response to climate-driven policy. It draws on institutionalism and energy transition theories to show how discourse plays an essential role in shifting the actions of political institutions as well as how power relations and a carbon lock-in confine the scope and pace of change.
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Meeting ID: 943 4579 6037
Supervisor: Michael C. LaBelle, Department of Environmental Sciences, CEU
Internal committee member: Nick Sitter, School of Public Policy, CEU
External committee member: Brent Z. Kaup, Department of Sociology, William & Mary
Opponent: Jon Birger Skjærseth, Fridtjof Nansen Institute
Chair: Erzsebet Strausz, CEU