About the lab

Energy research and education platform of the Faculty of Social Studies, Masaryk University, the Czech Republic

Featured research (62)

By invading Ukraine and weaponizing its gas supplies to Europe, Russia has made natural gas what renewable energy used to be: unreliable and expensive. In this perspective, we use the paradigm shift concept developed by Florian Kern et al. to unpack the possible implications of the war for the European energy politics. We argue that the war and the uncertainty around natural gas it has produced will play a major role in the future development of the European energy transition. Reducing energy vulnerability and faster decarbonization will be pursued as the main policy goals, probably at the expense of the further development of the EU integrated energy market under its current design. We may also see more Europe and more state in the energy affairs as solutions to the crisis require levels of coordination and resource mobilization that individual member states or private actors cannot provide. We conclude that the EU has the resources, knowledge base, and determination to turn the crisis into an opportunity. If uncoordinated or mismanaged, however, the European response might make the matters even worse, triggering a political crisis and eventually also a crisis of legitimacy.
As the energy transition proceeds, local opposition against various energy developments is increasingly widespread. This paper explores the role of social networks for participation in opposition to coal mining in the Czech Republic. A case study of the opposition movement examines whether network connections and social influence channeled through cooperation networks increase the intensity of opposition. It uses a novel approach of autologistic actor attribute models to include both individual-based and network-based predictors. The number of an individual’s network connections was found to be the sole positive predictor. By contrast, the effects of social influence, individual sociodemographic predictors, and sociopsychological predictors were not present. This shows the critical importance of the underlying cooperation network, which increases both opportunities and incentives to cooperate. The results further suggest that the opposition movement network has multiple centers revolving around high-level participants. Such arrangement indicates a division of labor among the professional activists, radical grassroots activists, and residents, thus enabling the opposition to efficiently access various resources. It also shows that research on local opposition should consider not only individual attributes but also relational contexts which allow to adequately capture the opposition’s organization. Only with such understanding may more suitable and inclusive future policies be designed.
The Visegrad Group ranks among the most visible examples of regional cooperation in Europe. Within the Group’s agenda, cooperation on energy policy appears to be especially important and it is also a field in which the Platform is considered to perform especially well. This article provides an account of what ‘energy cooperation’ is according to the Platform itself. Specifically, it seeks to find out which energy policy issues are reflected by the Platform, how their reflection has evolved over time, and how they are framed (made sense of). To find out, all the official documents and communications issued by the V4 between 2000 and 2018, totalling approximately 660,000 words of text, were thoroughly examined using three separate analytical approaches. The results show that energy indeed features prominently in the V4 agenda with a focus on energy security – tacitly understood as security of (natural gas) supply – and pursuing common interests within the EU. The results also indicate that the energy cooperation is largely reactive, with the V4 much more likely to find common positions and agree on joint actions when facing external pressures. Especially since 2015, the cooperation has been chiefly defined by common resistance to the ambitious climate policies pursued by the EU. The article concludes by suggesting that Visegrad energy cooperation is likely overrated and that there is little evidence in the documents of the Platform that this agenda represents an ‘especially successful’ field of cooperation.
In contrast to the main streams of literature, which primarily analyse the Visegrad countries (Czechia, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia) as an example of a regional coalition and their role in the EU, we focus on the internal coherence of the group and especially issues on which they vote differently as well as their voting affiliation with political groups within the European Parliament. Our research is methodologically based on the analysis of roll-call votes (RCV). We conclude that there is considerable heterogeneity evident in MEP voting behaviour and thus we can assume that the relative proximity among Visegrad countries' positions is not apparent in the European Parliament. Moreover, we have confirmed that hard Eurosceptic MEPs are not a homogenous group and in the EP seeking support for legislative approval is more difficult than may be expected.
Scientifically informed climate policymaking starts with the exchange of credible, salient, and legitimate scientific information between scientists and policymakers. It is therefore important to understand what explains the exchange of scientific information in national climate policymaking processes. This article applies exponential random graph models to network data from the Czech Republic, Finland, Ireland, and Portugal to investigate which types of organizations are favored sources of scientific information and whether actors obtain scientific information from those with similar beliefs as their own. Results show that scientific organizations are favored sources in all countries, while only in the Czech Republic do actors obtain scientific information from those with similar policy beliefs. These findings suggest that actors involved in climate policymaking mostly look to scientific organizations for information, but that in polarized contexts where there is a presence of influential denialists overcoming biased information exchange is a challenge.

Lab head

Filip Černoch
  • Department of International Relations and European Studies

Members (13)

Tomáš Vlček
  • Masaryk University
Martin Jirušek
  • Masaryk University
Petr Ocelík
  • Masaryk University
Jan Osička
  • Masaryk University
Břetislav Dančák
  • Masaryk University
Lukas Lehotsky
  • Masaryk University
Hedvika Koďousková
  • Masaryk University