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An organisational fields analysis of the governance of coal: insights into the prospects for the sustainability of 'new coal'

Bastin, Claire Frances (2018) An organisational fields analysis of the governance of coal: insights into the prospects for the sustainability of 'new coal'. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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The UK has a protracted history with coal production and use. Whilst now in significant decline, until recently coal was a staple in UK energy generation despite concerns about the environmental and social impacts of its use. New ‘clean’ coal technologies, i.e. where emissions are reduced or abated using technical enhancements such as Carbon-dioxide (CO2) Capture and Storage (CCS), have been proposed as a means of reducing harmful emissions, whilst maintaining coal use in energy production. Yet, in the UK, targets for coal with CCS projects have not been met (Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC), 2010). This research builds on and extends the concept of organisational fields to explore the interesting case study of coal use in the UK from c1960 to the present day. It considers the influence of multi-level, multi-actor (ML/MA) governance arrangements on the prospects for the sustainability of coal. By illuminating organisational fields of governance that emerge over time and at different levels (UK and Yorkshire & Humberside), it adds a significant temporal dimension to ML/MA debates. The research findings, therefore, go beyond a snap-shot or single policy approach to illuminate the agency and motivations of different actors in steering continuous patterns of development. In doing so it reveals previously unknown field dynamics. The insights developed show that dynamic processes of replication within organisational fields create a ‘wicked’ (Rittel and Webber, 1973, p.160) problem with disconnects both between and within fields. Specifically, social and environmental fields have become diffuse, heterogeneous and unpredictable. In contrast, economic fields have become more focused and centred with dominant actors exhibiting power beyond the economic organisational fields. This wicked context has potential for conflict and contestation and makes outcomes from ML/MA governance arrangements difficult to predict. Ultimately, this has important implications for the sustainability of future coal use.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Governance, sustainability, coal, carbon capture and storage, coal communities, organisational fields.
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Environment (Leeds) > School of Earth and Environment (Leeds) > Sustainability Research Institute (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.759813
Depositing User: Claire Bastin
Date Deposited: 26 Nov 2018 12:26
Last Modified: 18 Feb 2020 12:32
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/22274

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