TPR 2022: Policy change and methane emissions from oil and gas

Image of natural gas flares from a flare-head at the Orvis State well on the Evanson family farm in McKenzie County, North Dakota, USA, by Tim Evanson (CC BY-SA 2.0) from Wikipedia Commons

Event details

PhD Seminar

Date & time

Thursday 01 December 2022


Seminar Room 1.04 Coombs Extension Building #8 Fellows Road ANU


Nikolai Drahos

Of all the pressing climate policy challenges, methane is perhaps the most urgent. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas – every tonne lifts global temperatures by over 80 times more than carbon dioxide over 20 years. Significant cuts in methane emissions are required this decade to keep global climate targets within reach, especially from oil and gas where existing technologies can deliver substantial abatement. The past few years have seen growing international momentum, led by the US and EU, to act on methane. Both the US and EU have moved to introduce domestic policies to address methane emissions and catalysed a global pact to reduce methane emissions by 30 per cent by 2030.

Explaining why policies change is a central task of the policy sciences. Drawing on theories of the policy process, this project examines policies to reduce oil and gas methane emissions in the US and the EU – an area of climate policy that has received almost no scholarly attention. Using process tracing, the research seeks to reconstruct methane’s policy history in the US and EU through documentary analysis and semi-structured interviews with government, industry, finance and civil society. Overall, the project aims to contribute to our understanding of how momentum to address key climate and energy policy challenges builds across industry, finance, civil society and government.

About the speaker

Nikolai Drahos is a PhD candidate at the ANU School of Regulation and Global Governance, and a Visiting Research Fellow at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies. Nikolai previously worked as a policy advisor at the Australian Climate Change Authority and as an energy economist at the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources.

Nikolai holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) and a Master of Environmental and Resource Economics from the ANU. He is a recipient of the Helen Hughes Masters prize and the Sir Roland Wilson PhD Scholarship. Nikolai is the author of a number of Oxford Institute for Energy Studies papers and numerous reports, including the Department of Industry’s Resources and Energy Quarterly.

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This seminar presentation will be in-person only.

Image credit: Image of natural gas flares from a flare-head at the Orvis State well on the Evanson family farm in McKenzie County, North Dakota, USA by Tim Evanson from Wikipedia Commons. (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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