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How the Battles over Oil Sands Pipelines have Transformed Climate Politics

George Hoberg University of British Columbia
Abstract
This paper examines the origins, influence, and challenges of the climate movement’s shift to focus on blocking new fossil fuel infrastructure. It addresses four core research questions: (1) How effective has the strategy of place-based resistance to fossil fuel development been at promoting climate action and the reduction of global warming emissions? (2) Does the strategy risk the unintended consequence of feeding place-based resistance to the clean energy transformation? (3) Is there hope in more innovative processes of regulatory review and facility siting that can promote social acceptance of the rapid transition to the clean energy system but avoid the confrontational politics that have characterized fossil fuel resistance? (4) If innovative approaches have been demonstrated to reduce conflict, why are they so rarely used? This paper will use process tracing, government documents, and personal interviews to address these questions.
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