The Role of Environmental Assessments in Public Policy on Support and Regulation of Technology- A pre-study on the Swedish alternative fuels development in 1974-2004.
This pre-study is directed at the issue of how Environmental Assessment (EA) methods are used in public policy-making that targets support and regulation of technology development. It is specifically aimed at identifying research questions for future work, and does that by performing a case study on Swedish government support for alternative fuels in the time period of 1974-2004. The case study employs an explorative and technology oriented research approach resulting in a description of a generalised three stage decision process in which the Swedish government administration uses EA of technology to varying degrees in response to environmental issues, here called landscape forces, in support of technology. The three stage decision process is described below:
1. Interpretation and assignment of a landscape force to a government authority and a related decision process, based on organisational capabilities and rationality of the government administration.
2. Possible engagement in a structured inquiry process with input from internal or external EAs, to find a solution to the interpreted landscape force in combination with other contemporary political goals.
3. Utilisation of EA results combined with other input to form a decision on policy implementation.
The identification of the three stage process results in proposal of three themes of research with connected case study research questions, see Table I. The questions are generalised and accompanied with proposals of research methods, see Table II.