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While energy policy has become a talking point for everything from national security to rural economic expansion to job stimulation, the environmental community has had rather little success in effectively engaging these stakeholders in climate policy discussions. One group, called the Apollo Alliance, has attempted to bring together labor and environmental interests to shape climate policy in the U.S., however no such alliance currently exists in North Carolina. This analysis proposes to gauge the potential for a labor-environmental coalition to influence North Carolina energy policy and identify policy-making institutions and opportunities for such a coalition. Original interviews from labor and environmental organizations throughout the state are analyzed using the Advocacy Coalition Framework and general alliance formation theory. In addition, the Obach model predicting the health of blue/green relations is applied to North Carolina through the examination of significant independent variables. Findings suggests moderate potential for a blue/green alliance to shape the energy policy of North Carolina. A variety of proposals are suggested as initial targets of such a coalition including renewable fuel tax exemptions, energy conservation retrofits in state-owned facilities, and strengthened lobbying reforms. The North Carolina General Assembly is identified as the primary target for such a coalition due to the existing legislative presence of relevant organizations. Given the recent formation of state-sponsored climate advisory groups and mounting public attention to energy issues nationally, the time ripe for such an alliance to affect change in North Carolina’s energy policy.
DepartmentNicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences
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