The Politics of Hydraulic Fracturing in Germany: Party Competition at Different Levels of Government
Hydraulic fracturing has been practiced in Germany for decades, and several attempts have been made to legalize and regulate new drilling methods, which eventually led to the approval of a law to effectively ban this activity in 2016. In this study, we explore the characteristics of the German political debate on hydraulic fracturing. Our explanatory model, which is grounded in the advocacy coalition framework, is based on two arguments. First, the uncertainty surrounding the use and effects of hydraulic fracturing prompts opponents to argue for the use of the precautionary principle, which is typically invoked in German political discourse when effects are highly uncertain. Second, party competition takes place at the federal as well as the federal states level. The blurring of party competition boundaries typically leads to highly volatile advocacy coalitions.
KeywordsHydraulic Fracture Precautionary Principle Environmental Impact Assessment Advocacy Coalition Discourse Network
- Aalto, Pami, and Dicle Korkmaz Temel. 2014. European Energy Security: Natural Gas and the Integration Process. JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies 52(4): 758–774.Google Scholar
- Andersen, Mikael Skou, and Duncan Liefferink. 1999. European Environmental Policy: The Pioneers. Manchester: Manchester University Press.Google Scholar
- Baumgartner, Frank R., and Bryan D. Jones. 1993. Agendas and Instability in American Politics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
- Baur, Michael, Marc Benkert, Ulrik Brandes, Sabine Cornelsen, Marco Gaertler, Boris Köpf, Jürgen Lerner, and Dorothea Wagner. 2002. Visone Software for Visual Social Network Analysis. In Graph Drawing, ed. P. Mutzel, M. Jünger, and S. Leipert. Berlin: Springer.Google Scholar
- Brandes, Ulrik, Marco Gaertler, and Dorothea Wagner. 2003. Experiments on Graph Clustering Algorithms. In Algorithms – ESA 2003, ed. G. Di Battista and U. Zwick. Berlin: Springer.Google Scholar
- Brandes, Ulrik, Marco Gaertler, and Dorothea Wagner. 2007. Engineering Graph Clustering: Models and Experimental Evaluation. ACM Journal of Experimental Algorithmics 12(1.1): 1–26.Google Scholar
- Brandes, Ulrik, and Dorothea Wagner. 2004. Analysis and Visualization of Social Networks. In Graph Drawing Software, ed. M. Jünger and P. Mutzel. Berlin: Springer.Google Scholar
- Bräuninger, Thomas, and Marc Debus. 2012. Parteienwettbewerb in den deutschen Bundesländern. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag.Google Scholar
- Bräuninger, Thomas, and Thomas König. 1999. The Checks and Balances of Party Federalism: German Federal Government in a Divided Legislature. European Journal of Political Research 36(2): 207–234.Google Scholar
- Bundesumweltamt. 2014a. Fracking zur Schiefergasförderung - Eine energie- und umweltfachliche Einschätzung. Dessau-Roßlau: Bundesumweltamt.Google Scholar
- Bundesumweltamt. 2014b. Gutachten 2014: Umweltauswirkungen von Fracking bei der Aufsuchung und Gewinnung von Erdgas insbesondere aus Schiefergaslagerstätten. Dessau-Roßlau: Bundesumweltamt.Google Scholar
- Dryzek, John S., Christian Hunold, David Schlosberg, David Downes, and Hans-Kristian Hernes. 2002. Environmental Transformation of the State: The USA, Norway, Germany and the UK. Political Studies 50(4): 659–682.Google Scholar
- European Commission. 2000. Communication from the Commission on the Precautionary Principle. COM(2000)1. Brussels: European Commission.Google Scholar
- Eilders, Christiane. 2000. Media as Political Actors? Issue Focusing and Selective Emphasis in the German Quality Press. German Politics 9(3): 181–206.Google Scholar
- Engeli, Isabelle, Christoffer Green-Pedersen, and Lars Thorup Larsen. 2012. Theoretical Perspectives on Morality Politics. In Morality Politics in Western Europe: Parties, Agendas and Policy Choices, ed. I. Engeli, C. Green-Pedersen, and L.T. Larsen. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
- European Council. 2011. Conclusions of the Presidency. EUCO 2/11. Brussels: European Council.Google Scholar
- European Parliament. 2012. European Parliament Resolution of 21 November 2012 on the Environmental Impacts of Shale Gas and Shale Oil Extraction Activities. 2011/2308(INI). Brussels: European Parliament.Google Scholar
- Jenkins-Smith, Hank, Daniel Nohrstedt, Christopher Weible, and Paul Sabatier. 2014. The Advocacy Coalition Framework: Foundations, Evolution, and Ongoing Research. In Theories of the Policy Process, ed. C. Weible and P. Sabatier. Boulder, CO: Wetsview Press.Google Scholar
- Jenkins-Smith, Hank, and Paul A. Sabatier. 1993. Policy Change and Learning: An Advocacy Coalition Approach. Boulder, CO: Westview.Google Scholar
- Kotsakis, Andreas. 2012. The Regulation of the Technical, Environmental and Health Aspects of Current Exploratory Shale Gas Extraction in the United Kingdom: Initial Lessons for the Future of European Union Energy Policy. Review of European Community and International Environmental Law 21(3): 282–290.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- KPMG. 2011. Shale Gas—A Global Perspective. http://www.kpmg.com/Global/en/IssuesAndInsights/ArticlesPublications/Documents/shale-gas-global-perspective.pdf.
- Leifeld, Philip. 2013a. Discourse Network Analyzer Manual. Dübendorf, Switzerland: Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag), [Online: http://www.philipleifeld.de].
- Leifeld, Philip. 2013b. Reconceptualizing Major Policy Change in the Advocacy Coalition Framework: A Discourse Network Analysis of German Pension Politics. Policy Studies Journal 41(1): 169–198.Google Scholar
- Philippe and Partners. 2011. Final Report on Unconventional Gas in Europe. http://ec.europa.eu/energy/studies/doc/2012_unconventional_gas_in_europe.pdf.
- Rinscheid, Adrian. 2015. Crisis, Policy Discourse, and Major Policy Change: Exploring the Role of Subsystem Polarization in Nuclear Energy Policymaking. European Policy Analysis 1(2): 34–70.Google Scholar
- Sabatier, Paul A., and Christopher M. Weible. 2007. The Advocacy Coalition Framework: Innovations and Clarifications. In Theories of the Policy Process, ed. P.A. Sabatier. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.Google Scholar
- Tosun, Jale. 2013a. How the EU Handles Uncertain Risks: Understanding the Role of the Precautionary Principle. Journal of European Public Policy 20(10): 1517–1528.Google Scholar
- Tosun, Jale. 2013b. Risk Regulation in Europe: Assessing the Application of the Precautionary Principle. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
- Weijermars, Ruud, and Crispian McCredie. 2011. Assessing Shale Gas Potential. Petroleum Review 2011(Oktober): 24–25.Google Scholar