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A multi-scale examination of public discourse on energy sustainability in Italy: Empirical evidence and policy implications

Sarrica, Mauro, Biddau, Fulvio, Brondi, Sonia, Cottone, Paolo, Mazzara, Bruno M.
Energy policy 2018 v.114 pp. 444-454
energy, energy policy, governance, interviews, models, politics, Italy
Transition towards low-carbon societies requires multi-scalar and coordinated actions. It implies top-down and bottom-up processes of translation connecting supra-national regulations and targets, with policies and discourses enacted at the national and local level. However, there is a dearth of research analysing the coordination among different scales. The present paper explores how alternative views associated with energy sustainability are translated, supported or resisted, across different scales. Data were collected at a national, regional and local level in Italy. Political debates and newspaper reports, as well as interviews with key local informants, were analysed. The findings indicate elements of coherence as well as tensions and inconsistencies between discourses on energy sustainability taking place at different scales, corresponding to diverse models of governance and policy scenarios. The results suggest the need for a better coordination between centralised and decentralised energy policies; the need to recognise and address bottom-up inputs and concerns into national/regional strategies; and the need for enhancing participation and public engagement in energy governance.