SAGE Journal Articles

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Article 1: Nye, D. E. (2014). The United States and Alternative Energies since 1980: Technological Fix or Regime Change? Theory, Culture, & Society, 31(5), 103-125.

Abstract: Awareness of global warming has been widespread for two decades, yet the American political system has been slow to respond. This essay examines, first, political explanations for policy failure, focusing at the federal level and outlining both short-term partisan and structural explanations for the stalemate. The second section surveys previous energy regimes and the transitions between them, and policy failure is explained by the logic of Thomas Hughes’s ‘technological momentum’. The third section moves to an international perspective, using the Kaya Identity and its distinction between energy intensity and carbon intensity to understand in policy terms ‘technological fixes’ vs. low-carbon alternatives. The final section reframes US energy policy failure and asks: (1) Why, between 1980 and 1999, was America’s actual performance in slowing CO2 emissions better than its politics would seem capable of delivering? (2) How and why has the United States since c. 2007 managed to reduce per capita CO2 emissions?

Article 2: Switzer, D. (2017). Citizen Partisanship, Local Government, and Environmental Policy Implementation. Urban Affairs Review. Doi:

Abstract: Local governments play a large, if understudied, role in the implementation of environmental policy in the United States. The major environmental statutes outline explicit responsibilities for the federal and state governments in enforcement under a cooperative federalism framework, and a literature on environmental federalism has developed looking at how variables at the state level affect implementation. Largely ignored by this literature is the important part local governments play in implementation. This study explores one way local politics may influence implementation, investigating the effect of citizen preferences on municipal compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). The findings show that utilities in Democratic leaning areas violate the SDWA less frequently than those in Republican leaning areas. The results suggest that just as politics influence environmental policy implementation at the federal and state levels, the local role in environmental policy is inherently tied to the political incentives facing municipalities.