Study two: Key actor analysis

This study will be led by Jean Philippe Sapinski, working with Andrew Secord and M.V. Ramana with student research assistants in three universities, and project collaborators Gordon Edwards and Chief Hugh Akagi.

The study is analyzing the key actors in the oil and gas and nuclear industries promoting “climate capitalism” discourses about energy transitions.

Climate capitalism seeks to supersede neoliberalism with a more regulated regime, a project to ensure the continuity of capitalism by enacting a change in the regime of accumulation, a “passive revolution” in Gramscian terms–a revolution led by the elite to maintain its hegemony (1) .

This elite-coordinated energy transition project addresses the climate crisis with top-down high-technology strategies, including carbon capture and storage, geoengineering, large scale corporate renewables, and unproven nuclear technologies such as advanced small modular nuclear reactors.

Methods will include a social network analysis, using specialized software, of the provincial climate capitalist policy-planning network for the nuclear industry and its links to wider actor networks outside the province.

Research questions could include:

• How is the climate capitalist actors’ network structured, with corporations, policy and lobby groups, consulting firms, venture capitalists, public and educational institutions and philanthropic foundations?

• What are their core messages?

• How are they using media to promote their strategies of economic growth and delayed climate action?

(1) see: Gramsci, A. (2011). Prison Notebooks, Vol. 3 (J. A. Buttigieg, ed.). New York: Columbia University Press; Morton, A. D. (2007). Unravelling Gramsci: Hegemony and Passive Revolution in the Global Political Economy. Pluto Press; Thomas, P. D. (2009). The Gramscian Moment: Philosophy, Hegemony and Marxism. Brill; and Wanner, T. (2015). The new ‘passive revolution’ of the green economy and growth discourse: Maintaining the ‘sustainable development’ of neoliberal capitalism. New Political Economy, 20(1), pp. 21-41.

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