| Willy Brandt School of Public Policy

The tricky geo-economics of going low carbon

In the December issue of Joule, the journal, Prof. Andreas Goldthau argues that it may be structural factors that determine the geo-economics of the global energy transition and whether nations find themselves on the winning side or among the losers.

The Preview piece praises the scenario work done by Mercure et al. who explore geo-economic dynamics of the global energy transition. Prof. Andreas Goldthau supports their argument that the transition pathways and policy choices in large energy-consuming nations, namely large nations such as the US, China, Japan, and the EU, will heavily determine the pace of the global energy transition, and the fate of large fossil fuel producers. However, he, in addition, makes the case for domestic political economy, the quality of bureaucracy, the maturity of energy markets, and the existence of “bankable” projects in the respective country. Moreover, some countries may be able to use their triple-A ratings to support their economies to go green or leverage their large internal markets for advancing green industrial policy. Overall, structural factors may matter as much in determining the geo-economics of the energy transition, as market power does.