State Level Efforts to Delay Climate Action

PI: Dr. Timmons Roberts
With gridlock in Washington, the initiative on clean energy and climate change in the U.S. has largely shifted to the states. Our research in statehouses and regulatory agencies in the Northeast is showing that utilities and the real estate industry are top resistors of ambitious climate legislation adoption and implementation, along with fossil fuel industry funded organizations. Building on analyses of lobbying spending and legislative testimony in three states, we will collect and study discourses of delay in testimony, press releases, press coverage, and social media of these battles. Using descriptive statistics and Structural Topic Modeling, the study will characterize shifts, variation and similarities between top discourses for and against climate action in these states, and the types of groups deploying them. This work lays the methodological and substantive foundation for application of discourse analysis to obstruction networks at other levels: regional, national, and international.