The Pursuit of environmentally-friendly transportation: The role of two advocacy coalitions in developing emission standards for heavy-duty vehicles in the EU

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Statsvetenskapliga institutionen

Abstract: In recent years, the environment has become a central theme in the EU. Policies for protecting the environment have been adopted, while, at the same time, the EU has developed into a multi-layered political system subject to lobbying and maintaining of interests in the policy-making process.The present thesis explores some consequences of this new political situation. Forming a case study of the CO2 emission regulations introduced for heavy-duty vehicles in 2019, the study looks specifically at the development of this reform through an advocacy coalition framework, where the automotive industry is represented by The European Automobile Manufacturer’s Association and the environmental concerns by The European Federation of Transport and Environment. As such, the study takes a qualitative approach, investigating the roles of the two coalitions in the formulation of the new emissions policy. It also looks at what beliefs seem to have conditioned this process, and whether the coalitions involved exhibit instances of policy-oriented learning and change of such beliefs.The results show that the introduction of a CO2 standard for heavy-duty vehicles was subject to considerable negotiation and conflict. While automakers worried about increasing competitiveness, the environmental advocacy expressed frustration over the change going too slow. The disclosure of the ‘dieselgate’ scandal finally seems to have turned the tide in favour of the environmental position. Portrayed as a ‘villain’, the automotive industry eventually accepted the regulations, while declaring that the industry had taken a serious blow. Yet, basic beliefs still turned out to be largely resistant to change.

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