I have had a lifelong interest in how policy actors use knowledge, ideas, networks and institutions to shape environmental policy. I view the study of climate and environmental policy from the perspective of comparative public policy and global governance. I have focused on policy-making processes and outcomes using a range of concepts, including policy learning, epistemic communities, policy instruments, institutional constraints and multi-level governance. I have a substantive focus on a range of environmental policy problems including climate change, energy conservation and transitions, water, waste and other areas. My comparative empirical analysis has focused on decision-making processes and policy-making with respect to the European Union (EU) and EU Member States, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada and Australia.
I have published a range of books, journal articles and chapters on all of these topics. I have recently co-authored Trajectories of Governance: How states shaped policy sectors in the Neoliberal Age (Springer Palgrave, 2022, with Giliberto Capano, Federico Toth and Jeremy Rayner) that compares governance development in six states and four policy sectors (including environment/climate and energy policy) over 50 decades. Previously I co-authored Environmental Governance in Europe: a Comparative Analysis of New Environmental Policy Instrument (Edward Elgar, 2013, with Rüdiger Wurzel and Andrew Jordan ) and Creating Environmental Policy in the European Union (/Palgrave, 2000). I have co-edited 10 volumes and symposia, many of which have a strong climate change focus.
I was the Editor of the international journal Environmental Politics from 2011-2021. I currently sit on the editorial boards of Environmental Politics, Politics and Governance, Public Policy and Administration. I am currently involved in a range of administrative roles including Co-Director of the Jean Monnet Centre at Newcastle University, and Co-lead of the Environment and Sustainability Politics Research Group, Newcastle University.
In my research, I am currently working on the following main environmental topics:
Comparative Governance Project. After successfully publishing our 2022 monograph, my collaborators and I are exploring the role of the state in modern governance and the continued resistance of the energy sector to full integration with environmental concerns.
UK Energy Futures and Climate Change Resilience. I am developing a new research team focused on examining the question of resilience for coastal communities in the Northeast of England. The project takes a creative arts practice approach to studying how industrial heritage and legacies interact with the issues and strategies of coping with the climate crisis. I have co-curated two art exhibitions to support this new venture.
Linking European Integration and Environmental Protection. I am currently working with two Newcastle Politics colleagues to assess how politicians are framing the linkage between European integration and environmental policy goals in their twitter feed.
The Comparative Environment Agencies Project. A 2007 Leverhulme Research Fellowship has allowed me to do the foundational work for an ongoing comparative environmental agencies study.