Research themes

My research spans comparative and global politics of climate change, environment, and energy, focusing on four principal strands:

Climate change governance in Ireland

I co-edited a symposium in the journal Irish Political Studies on the politics of climate change in Ireland along with Conor Little. My contribution to the symposium examined the development of climate legislation in Ireland. In 2017 I undertook a study, funded by the Irish Environmental Protection Agency, entitled Enabling Decarbonisation: A Study of Energy Sector Governance in Ireland. In 2018 I undertook a study along with Laura Devaney, funded by the National Economic and Social Council, entitled Advancing the Low-Carbon Transition in Irish Transport. Currently, I am Principal Investigator on a 21-month project evaluating Ireland’s policy response to climate change since 1996 also funded by the Irish Environmental Protection Agency. I am currently co-editing a book entitled “The climate crisis: Ireland’s response”, to be published by Palgrave in autumn 2020. I am also interested in Ireland’s climate change governance in comparative perspective. I co-edited a Special Issue of the journal Environmental Politics on Climate Politics in Small European States” with Neil Carter and Conor Little, which was published in autumn 2019.

Deliberative democracy and climate change governance

I was co-Principal Investigator on the Citizens’ Climate research project funded by the Irish Environmental Protection Agency, the aim of which was to identify lessons from Ireland’s Citizens’ Assembly deliberations on climate change. I was also funded by the European Climate Foundation to contribute to the development of the Knowledge Network on Climate Assemblies.

European Union environmental governance and its relationship with the wider world

I have published two books on the EU’s role in global environmental governance. My first book, European Climate Leadership in Question: Policies toward China and India (MIT Press 2015) examined the EU’s relations on climate change with China and India. More recently, I co-edited European Union External Environmental Policy: Rules, Regulation and Governance Beyond Borders (Palgrave 2018) along with Camilla Adelle and Katja Biedenkopf. I recently published a peer reviewed article in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics on Environmental Policy and European Union Politics, which traced the evolution of EU environmental policies over the past 50 years. In April 2020 I will co-direct a workshop on Governing the EU’s Climate and Energy Transition in Turbulent Times as part of the European Consortium for Political Research Joint Sessions in Toulouse.

Leaders, followers, and policy diffusion in climate governance

I have written about leadership, followership, and policy diffusion in the context of EU relations with China and India on climate change. I have also written about the development of climate legislation in Ireland and Finland as cases of partial policy diffusion. I co-edited and contributed to a Special Issue of the journal Environmental Politics on Pioneers, Leaders and Followers in Polycentric Climate Governance with Rudiger Wurzel and Duncan Liefferink.