Presentation / Talk

Linking business interest to climate policy making in Switzerland

The influence of firms on the elaboration of climate policy in a democratic system is quite controversial. Firms do not form a solid bloc of opponents to environmental regulation. Some firms even expect to gain from such regulation, either because they offer goods and services that will allow other firms to comply with the regulation, or because they are in a better position to comply than their competitors. As a result, the detailed features of climate policy are more important than the general thrust. Firms and industry sectors could try to influence those features rather than oppose the policy upfront. For assessing private sector influence, this paper reflects findings from the literature on the Swiss elite, e.g. (Kriesi 1980; David, Mach et al. 2009; Fischer, Fischer et al. 2009), on the issue of climate policy making in Switzerland. Based on qualitative discourse analysis, expert interviews and desktop research, this work investigates how the interests of the business community are translated into the decision making process of the Swiss CO2 law. Data are drawn from consultation documents on the Swiss CO2 law, word protocols of the Swiss parliament and its environmental commissions, and the declared interest affiliations and votes of Swiss parliamentarians between 1994 and 2010. Social network analysis links the interests of the business community to the political discourse and investigates potential influence and coalitions of private actors in Swiss climate policy.


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