My research involves the application of network methods to the study of environmental politics and policymaking process. My primary research focus seeks to explain the variation in national responses to climate change.

Citation:
Conflicting Climate Change Frames in a Global Field of Media Discourse
Abstract: Reducing global emissions will require a global cosmopolitan culture built from detailed attention to conflicting national climate change frames (interpretations) in media discourse. The authors analyze the global field of media climate change discourse using 17 diverse cases and 131 frames. They find four main conflicting dimensions of difference: validity of climate science, scale of ecological risk, scale of climate politics, and support for mitigation policy. These dimensions yield four clusters of cases producing a fractured global field. Positive values on the dimensions show modest association with emissions reductions. Data-mining media research is needed to determine trends in this global field.
URL: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2378023116670660
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/2378023116670660
Citation:
Trends, frames and discourse networks: analysing the coverage of climate change in Irish newspapers
Abstract: This paper investigates how anthropogenic climate change is presented to the Irish public by three of Ireland’s most important national newspapers. We argue that Irish newspapers do not report climate change in an objective and unbiased way and illustrate how through the acts of agenda setting, news framing and in how they construct public discourse they present the issue in a narrow ideological form. Evidence is provided to support the argument that ecological modernisation is used by Irish newspapers to construct the issue of climate change. Our study uses three levels of analysis: (1) we calculate the trend in the coverage of climate change between 1997 and 2012 to uncover what events are correlated with peaks in coverage; (2) we conduct an in-depth frame analysis of a large sample of articles to determine how the issue is classified and categorised; and (3) we conduct a discourse network analysis to uncover which actors are given a voice, which policy measures they favour and with whom they share policy positions. The data we find support our theoretical arguments, leading us to the conclusion that Irish newspapers produce and reproduce a narrow ideological worldview that is articulated, shared and propagated by Ireland’s political and economic elites.
URL: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.7227/IJS.0011
DOI: https://doi.org/10.7227/IJS.0011
Citation:
Who got their way? Advocacy coalitions and the Irish climate change law
Abstract: Which organisations saw their positions on two contentious issues reflected in the Irish climate law of 2015, and what role did advocacy coalitions play in the policy process? These questions are answered drawing theoretically from the Advocacy Coalition Framework (ACF) and by conducting a network analysis of survey data collected from the organisations involved in the national climate policy process. The study finds that several institutionally important or economically powerful organisations, particularly those involved in the agricultural sector, as well as the government parties saw their preferences reflected in the law. This resulted in legislation that excluded binding emission reductions targets, differentiating it from similar laws introduced in other European countries. Organisations in favour of stronger regulation formed a coalition to advocate for their positions, but they largely failed to get their way.
URL: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09644016.2018.1458406
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/09644016.2018.1458406
Citation:
Can policy forums overcome echo chamber effects by enabling policy learning? Evidence from the Irish climate change policy network
Abstract: Research has repeatedly shown that individuals and organisations tend to obtain information from others whose beliefs are similar to their own, forming “echo chambers” with their network ties. Echo chambers are potentially harmful for evidence-based policymaking as they can hinder policy learning and consensus building. Policy forums could help alleviate the effects of echo chambers if organisations with different views were to participate and to use the opportunities that forums provide to learn from those outside their networks. Applying exponential random graph models on survey data of the Irish climate change policy network, we find that policy actors do indeed tend to obtain policy advice from those whose beliefs are similar to their own. We also find that actors tend not to obtain policy advice from the those that they encounter at policy forums, suggesting forums are not enabling policy learning.
URL: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of-public-policy/article/can-policy-forums-overcome-echo-chamber-effects-by-enabling-policy-learning-evidence-from-the-irish-climate-change-policy-network/5318409D5BE765EF61223F64BD1D9120
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0143814X18000314

Substantive Focus:
Environmental Policy PRIMARY
Governance SECONDARY

Theoretical Focus:

Keywords

POLICY NETWORKS CLIMATE CHANGE ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY POLICY FORUMS IRELAND