Exhibiting the fastest growth among all fuels in the electricity sector, renewables are about to fundamentally change the energy system. This change is hoped to bring about important social and economic co-benefits, including sustainable and affordable energy for all, green job opportunities, and increased human health and wellbeing. But there may also be some fundamentally political implications of the low carbon shift. This is what a high level group of global leaders was tasked to look into, the result of which was published in their recent report titled A New World The Geopolitics of the Energy Transformation, published by IRENA, the international renewable energy agency.
To be sure, the IRENA report is not the first one to ponder the geopolitics of the low carbon transition. For example, a recent book took a deeper look into the geopolitics of renewables, Harvard’s Belfer Center put together a group to tackle similar questions, Nature, the journal, featured a piece on low carbon policy risk, and a recent paper offers some important conceptual insights for the fate of oil producer economies whose business case might wither away. But the report by the Global Commission is the first one which comes close to representing a political document. So what do we learn from it?
Goldthau, A., Eicke, L., & Weko, S. (2019). The geopolitics of renewables. A new but messy energy world. IASS Blog, 22.01.2019.
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