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Jack D. Sharples

The relationship between national energy policies and the activities of energy companies in an era of climate change throws some light on IPE debates about the relationship between states and markets. This analysis of Gazprom’s investment in gas-fired power generation and gas-fuelled transportation illustrates the extent to which national and supranational governance shapes the strategies of commercial actors in the energy sector. In this context, Russia’s position as an energy-exporting country influences the policy orientation of the Russian government, and renders Gazprom distinct from import-dependent European energy companies. As a result, Gazprom has emerged as a powerful lobbyist for gas-fired power generation and gas-powered transportation, with substantial consequences for decarbonisation efforts in both Russia and the EU.

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Anil Hira

This chapter outlines and assesses an important debate that has seized momentum over the last decade, namely whether there are trade-offs between energy and food. The analysis of the energy-food nexus is built around the issue of prices, and is loosely framed through the application of the concept of ‘trilemma’, specifically between issues of efficiency, security and equity. The focus of the analysis is on one of the most discussed potential causes of food price rises, namely the energy-food nexus present in the production and use of biofuels, i.e. the use of crops to create liquid fuels for transportation. In conclusion, the chapter demonstrates through a review of the empirical and policy literature that the relationship between energy and food is highly complicated and contingent, thus solutions require multi-faceted efforts.

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Cornelia Fraune

According to the energy system perspective, energy supply is not only a matter of societal resource endowment and technological skills, but also expresses the nexus of mode of production and living in a society. Therefore, energy transformations also affect the social distribution of resources and power within a society. In referring to feminist approaches of international political economy, a framework will be developed in order to analyse how gender relations and energy transformations are intertwined. By examining gender relations in the realm of renewable energy production, private energy consumption, and sustainable energy policy-making interdependencies between the gender regime and energy transformation processes will be revealed.

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Edited by Andreas Goldthau, Michael F. Keating and Caroline Kuzemko

This Handbook offers a comprehensive overview of the latest research from leading scholars on the international political economy of energy and resources. Highlighting the important conceptual and empirical themes, the chapters study all levels of governance, from global to local, and explore the wide range of issues emerging in a changing political and economic environment.
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Andrew Lawrence

The chapter advances the argument that policies promoting renewable energy versus carbon-based technologies can simultaneously realise maximal gains from three types of opportunity cost calculations. To the extent that they reduce GHG emissions per capita while increasing energy access, they maximize climate justice. To the extent that they increase energy access for underserved individuals and communities while reducing GHG emissions per capita, they maximize energy justice. And to the extent that either or both types of improvement entail greater scope for meaningful popular participation in the governance of new energy systems in terms of policy design, implementation, and employment, they maximise development goals and human rights, and in particular, the human right to participation. The chapter uses insights from grid decentralisation and political decentralisation in order to illustrate these three claims.

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Michael F. Keating

Hydroelectric dams are massively controversial, and the social, economic and environmental backlash against them in the 1990s led to the emergence of new modes of global governance, wherein local social movements and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) formed effective anti-dam alliances with global civil society. This in turn led to the 2000 World Commission on Dams – an attempt to create new, shared norms for establishing systems global governance. However, with the emergence of the 2011 Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol (HSAP), based on corporate social responsibility (CSR), competing norms in effect exist – with conflict between global civil society on the one hand, and states, the hydropower industry and global governance institutions on the other. This conflict revolves around participation – the World Commission on Dams’ (WCD) attempt to ‘mainstream participatory governance’ versus HSAP’s requirements for ‘community engagement’ in the context of involuntary resettlement. The chapter traces the process through which participatory norms were watered down, attempts to institutionalise global governance failed, and civil society itself was weakened.

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Caroline Kuzemko

This chapter examines benchmarking, as a method of universal standard setting, with a specific emphasis on climate change benchmarking. The chapter is framed with reference to constructivist international political economy (IPE) that interprets benchmarks as constructed, open to contestation and change and deeply political. Four categories of climate change benchmarks are introduced, whilst some emphasis is placed on the manner in which each category tends to set new standards with specific relevance for energy sectors. This is one example of the ways in which climate change and energy policy areas are becoming intertwined within governance practices. The chapter also provides an overview of how those being benchmarked respond with some emphasis on non-state and sub-state actor groups – thereby revealing some new themes within the politics of climate change benchmarking.

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Elina Brutschin and Jessica Jewell

The use of nuclear power has been driven by the motivation to meet growing electricity demand while avoiding dependence on imported fossil fuels and constrained by capacities to launch nuclear energy programmes. The chapter argues that tension between the two is a defining feature of the international political economy of nuclear energy. On the one hand, nuclear technology promises energy security and industrial modernisation. On the other hand, launching nuclear programmes can plunge countries into three forms of international dependence: on imported uranium, on production and disposal of nuclear fuel, and on the uneven capacities to manufacture nuclear reactors and construct nuclear power plants. The authors argue that international cooperation and competition profoundly shape how states deploy, expand and phase out their nuclear power programmes and brings together diverse international aspects of nuclear power which may increasingly shape the future of nuclear energy.

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Jessica Britton

Transitioning to a low carbon energy system is likely to require significant changes to social, political and economic structures, as well as technological changes. This raises a number of questions regarding the role of different actors and organisations, including various levels of the state. This chapter explores the, often under under-represented, role of cities in the energy transition through analysis of their role in the development of heat networks. Based on research in the UK the chapter suggests a number of local authorities are challenging their traditional ‘enabling’ role in the energy system and seeking to take a role in the ownership and delivery of heat networks. This provides evidence of the energy transition offering opportunities for new configurations of state-market interrelations, with sub-national public sector actors using the development of local-scale energy infrastructure to deliver multiple priorities. Although there is limited debate, at the central government level, of this changing role for local government there is evidence that the broader devolution agenda in the UK may, in part, have empowered local governments to re-evaluate their role in the energy sector. This move towards local governments taking a more central role in the energy system may therefore demonstrate how broader governance and decentralisation trends are interlinked with the progress of the energy transition.

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Llewelyn Hughes and Rainer Quitzow

The chapter reviews research on public policy in low-carbon technology industries with a particular emphasis on the implications of an important change in the structure of global production – the rise of global production networks (GPNs). It argues that GPNs in low-carbon technologies have particularly important implications for a core concern within the field of IPE: how do policies implemented by national governments interact in a global economy characterised by profound interdependence? This question takes on particular importance because markets for low-carbon technologies are highly dependent on government intervention. The chapter shows that the characteristics of the underlying technologies – such as solar photovoltaic and wind turbines – help explain the patterns of global production in low-carbon technologies, and to what extent public policies influence GPN formation.