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Law & Public policy PT4001 – Week 8 Power and public policy The Governance of sustainable development: EU environmental policy and Ireland.

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Presentation on theme: "Law & Public policy PT4001 – Week 8 Power and public policy The Governance of sustainable development: EU environmental policy and Ireland."— Presentation transcript:

1 Law & Public policy PT4001 – Week 8 Power and public policy The Governance of sustainable development: EU environmental policy and Ireland

2 Sustainable Development Sustainable development, even if in weaker forms, has major implications for the way government works. Environmental governance means that institutions, administrative procedures and decision making processes all need to be overhauled. Policy elites have to rethink the way they perceive the world so that environmental considerations are integrated. What can this mean? Does it refer to change? Who/what has power?

3 Sustainable Development & Multi-level Governance European -European Commission, European Parliament, Council, European Council, Court of Justice, European Environment Agency, Interest groups National governments ( pioneers, fence-sitters and laggards ) Regional & Local actors Business, interest groups & NGOs Citizens

4 Power In political science it is typical to explain policy outcomes in terms of the power exercised by competing interests How does one person (A) exercise power over another (B), that is how someone gets another person to do what they would otherwise not have done Intimidation and coercion (stick) Productive exchanges involving mutual gain (carrot) Creation of obligations, loyalty & commitment (hug) The theory of three-dimensional power (Lukes, 1974) can illustrate how environmental policy outcomes are shaped

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6 Scenario – the unpolitics of air pollution (study by Crenson, 1961) Air pollution in two neighbouring steel towns East Chicago introduced legislation controlling air pollution in 1949 Gary delayed legislation until 1962 even though it had an identical pollution problem Why? One noticeable difference between the areas East Chicago = Several steel companies in environs (pluralism) Gary = one large steel corporation (mobilisation of bias)

7 Lukes (1974) Three dimension of power Power occurs in observable, overt conflicts between actors over key issues (e.g. East Chicago) Public policy is the outcome of competition among different groups = pluralism For each environmental issue there will be a wide range of institutions, organisations & interest groups who want to influence the formation & implementation of policy DIMENSION 1 assumes power is diffuse: no single group or set of interests dominates the decision process A has power over B to the extent that A can get B to do something that B would not otherwise do. A defeats B by mobilising superior bargaining resources in open conflict over clearly defined issues

8 Lukes (1974) Three dimension of power Power is also non-observable There is a second dimension of power which is non decision making (e.g. the steel town called Gary) This refers to the ability of powerful groups to keep issues off the agenda e.g. producer groups can manage conflict before it even starts – mobilisation of bias Opposition groups may not even raise dissenting views in the formal policy process as they fatalistically assume they will be rejected DIMENSION 2 assumes that some groups are more powerful and privileged than others A constructs a barrier against the participation of B in decision making – A engages in non decisions and uses the mobilisation of bias to suppress or thwart challenges to As values or interests by B

9 Lukes (1974) Three dimension of power Power is also ideological – the very wants of individuals are shaped to accept the preferences of a dominant elite (power as thought control) [viewed as pointless to assert public health concerns in Gary] Power is a function of the ability to influence others by shaping their preferences DIMENSION 3 assumes people are dissuaded from having objections by shaping their perceptions & preferences such that they accept their role in the existing order of things A influences or shapes the consciousness of B to accept inequalities (through myths, information control, ideology) and to induce a sense of powerlessness and acceptance in B. Very difficult to detect

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11 EU Environmental policy making & Ireland

12 EU 27 Differences in population density, degree of urbanisation & economic development Differences & variety in climatic, topographical, geological Differences in regional disparities, public awareness Differences in experience of environmental management Differing degrees of commitment to sustainable development

13 EU Environmental Policy Environment DG Mission statement: "Protecting, preserving and improving the environment for present and future generations, and promoting sustainable development – no policy, bureaucracy or law for the environment, not a politically significant topic

14 EU Policy action & priorities Cleaner air Biotechnology Chemicals Civil protection Climate change Environmental technologies Health International agreements and enlargement Nature and biodiversity Noise Soil Sustainable development Urban development Waste management and natural resources Water

15 BUT we cannot view environment in isolation. Links to EU challenges of.. Climate change and clean energy Sustainable transport Sustainable consumption & production Conservation and management of natural resources Public health & food safety Social inclusion, demography & migration Global poverty

16 Accumulation of policy competences at EU level Substantive body of environmental law Motivated by competition & trade Increased politicization of environmental problems since 1960s Increasing cross border pollution Goal of improving EU living conditions Priority of Climate Change, sustainable development

17 Key Principles underpinning EU environmental policy Precautionary principle Polluter Pays Producer Responsibility Proximity principle In pursuit of sustainable development

18 Community environmental legislation will only be effective if it is fully implemented and enforced by Member States. Statement of the European Council EC , note 4. Development of strong environmental governance required Impossible to understand national environmental policy without reference to EU

19 Irish environmental policy Focus : Exploring challenge and change in Ireland s institutional framework Ireland Not proactive about environmental policy integration Problematic implementation record Historical context Adaptational pressures to sustainable development International developments & EU environmental policy Domestic pressures – changes in economy & society

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21 Historical context Independence 1922 Minimalist & British-influenced corpus of environmental legislation (heritage & physical environment) Rural society, agriculture main economic activity Late 1950s – late modernisation process commences Vacuum in environmental governance Until EU membership in 1973 there was no environmental policy & a lack of environmental awareness

22 Ireland – EU Environmental policy has a top Down impact Environmental policy has been largely shaped by the EU Not an uploader of policy How do we give effect to EU policy on the environment? Directives Transposition (legal harmonisation) institutional innovation (adaptation) Enforcement (capacity) Compliance remains problematic (what can you do? How can organisations change?)

23 Directives in the EU multi-level system

24 The people The Oireachtas Gov Elections Parties NGOs Media Participation Issue Agreement Min PA Formulation / Decision making Decisions carried out Out put, Out come Implementation of the Will of the People Freedom of Opinion The Irish Political System (Source: Connaughton (PA4018)

25 Contd Environmental performance - relatively strong (EPA, 2005) - evidence of progress (OECD, 2000; 2010) Growing importance for national and local governments But Case C-494/01 = Implementation record equated to a systemic breach of law (ECJ, 2005) Weaknesses in municipal units (OECD, 2010)

26 Oireachtas (Dail & Seanad) Government Joint Committee on Environment Dept. Environment, Heritage & Local Government Comhar (now in NESC) 15 Ministries In total NGOs, An Taisce PUBLIC SECTORNON PROFIT / CIVIL SECTORPRIVATE SECTOR EPA (OEE) REPAK - voluntary agreements IBEC Friends of the Earth IEN National REGIONAL LOCAL LOCAL AUTHORITIES Community Groups, Farmers Local NGO branches Regional Assemblies Regional Authorities Presentation of Environmental Actors in Ireland NPWS

27 Key Institutions Department of Environment, Community & Local Government National Parks and Wildlife Services Environmental Protection Agency Local Authorities Environmental NGOs Farmers Private sector (delivery of service, expertise, infrastructure)

28 Characteristics that shape & mediate our approach to SD Low salience of environmental issues & low public awareness Contestation – local issues dominate Change agents & institutions that facilitate change e.g. EPA Political & organisational culture Differential empowerment of actors e.g. farmers vs environmental ngos Weak environmental movement

29 Suggested references for challenges in Ireland Cashman, L. (2008) Key Goals of Commission Enforcement Policy in relation to the Environment, with particular reference to Ireland Irish Planning and Environmental Lawl 15:3 Laffan, B. and J. OMahony (2008) Bringing Politics Back In. Domestic Conflict and the Negotiated Implementation of EU Nature Conservation Legislation in Ireland, Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning. 10:2, pp OECD, (2010) Environmental Performance Review of Ireland, Paris: OECD.


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