Date of Graduation

Winter 12-31-2011

Document Type


Degree Name

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International Studies

First Advisor

Stephen Zavestoski


This paper demonstrates how using the word "carbon" within global warming debates severely impedes lobbyists in favor of building stronger renewable energy policies in the European Union (EU). Within the EU, carbon is widely used to speak about many of the perils of climate change, global warming, energy policy, and contingent subject matters. In political circles, media outlets, and public debates, carbon acts a the pillar for many policies, discussions, and ideas related to fundamental errors of transferring energy from fossil fuels and nuclear sources. At the same time, however, limiting carbon does not necessarily preclude fossil fuels, such as natural gas, or uranium fuels, such as nuclear energy, from becoming central sources of future energy supplies. This is a major pitfall of arguing within "the carbon frame", which this paper defines as any usage of the word carbon to situate debates or discussions regarding energy policy. Using the carbon frame is found to directly impede the progress and efficacy of the Environmental Non-Governmental (ENGO) energy lobby in the EU. This paper uses empirical data, drawn from research as an ENGO lobbyist in the EU, to show how using the carbon frame will continue to drive EU policy towards favoring natural gas, carbon capture and storage (CCS), and nuclear energy, as opposed to building stronger renewable energy policies, which are stated goals of the ENGO lobby.