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The Politics of Oil

Controlling Resources, Governing Markets and Creating Political Conflicts

Dag Harald Claes

The Politics of Oil brings together legal studies, economics, and political science to illustrate how governments gain and exercise control over oil resources and how political actors influence the global oil market, both individually and in cooperation with each other. The author also investigates the role of oil in preserving regime stability, in civil wars and in inter-state conflicts, as well as discussing the possible implications for the oil industry from policies to combat climate change.
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Roger Fouquet

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Roger Fouquet

This timely research review discusses a selection of key articles on the economics of renewable energy. From a modest role as a backstop technology in the 1970s to a central role in low carbon transitions today, the review reveals the emergence and growing importance of this sub-field of economics. Topics covered include the costs of renewable power (taking account of issues related to technological development, intermittency and interconnection), policies that promote renewable energy development, its public and private demand, and its impact on the environment and the economy. This comprehensive and indispensible review serves as an essential source of reference for students and researchers.
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Roger Fouquet

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Benjamin K. Sovacool

Although adaptation projects are a growing and necessary part of responding to climate change, they can generate undesirable outcomes. Drawing from concepts in political economy, political ecology, justice theory, and critical development studies, this chapter describes four ways in which adaptation projects can produce unintended, adverse, or inequitable results. Enclosure refers to when adaptation projects transfer public assets, shift costs, or redistribute risk. Exclusion refers to when adaptation projects limit access to resources or marginalise particular stakeholders. Encroachment refers to when adaptation projects intrude upon land use areas with predefined roles or degrade the natural environment. Entrenchment refers to when projects aggravate the disempowerment of women and minorities, or worsen social conditions such as income inequality or violent conflict. In exploring these themes, the chapter touches upon numerous themes in International Political Economy scholarship, including critical development studies, neoliberalism and the corporatisation of public assets and goods, and normative approaches to IPE such as global justice and Marxism.

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Flavio Lira

As an emerging economy, and part of the BRICS, one of the world’s prime clubs of emerging nations, Brazil is widely perceived as a pivotal country in the 21st century’s global political economy of energy. A front-runner of biofuels, championing renewables in transport and electricity generation, and an emerging player in the international oil economy, it epitomises the rapidly changing global energy landscape. Moreover, being a country of the ‘Global South’, Brazil finds itself at the forefront of a broader IPE power shift more generally. However, as this chapter argues, Brazil as an energy player remains undetermined when it comes to its domestic energy regime, which it is argued is by and large a function of non-linear domestic-level governance dynamics between the state and the market. This lack of consistency in the domestic energy policy regime prevents Brazil from fully reaping the benefits of a sizeable energy economy, considerable resource endowments and a relative absence of geopolitical disturbances.

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Robert Falkner

This chapter provides an overview of how the threat of global climate change and the need to de-carbonise the global economy have created new energy research agendas within international political economy (IPE), but also with global energy policy (GEP). It reviews recent research in four environmentally oriented thematic clusters: (1) the emerging energy trilemma of securing energy supply, reducing energy poverty, and preventing dangerous climate change; (2) the optimal choice of policy instruments for de-carbonising global capitalism; (3) the financing of the low-carbon energy transition; and (4) the strengthening of the global architecture for energy governance. The questions and issues raised demonstrate the vitality of existing research and provide some pointers to important new themes arising.

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Andreas Goldthau and Nick Sitter

Exploring the intersections between International Political Economy (IPE) and global public policy (GPP) in energy scholarship, this chapter argues that contemporary dynamics pertaining to global energy trade and security present a challenge for GPP and IPE. On the one hand, the GPP analysis of energy will need to take account of the IPE debates about geopolitics and power. IPE, in turn, is called to revisit the importance of public goods aspects such as transparency for analyses of global energy trade. The chapter identifies five themes in which it is imperative for IPE and GPP analyses to advance mutual scholarly recognition: the commercialisation of shale oil and gas; its consequence for state-level or international regulation and intervention in oil and gas markets; debates on whether the increased focus on security of supply in the USA, the EU and China (and security of demand in Russia) merits new national policies and international regimes; the kind of global rules that might be viable given the new constellations of power in the world of energy; and what kind of actors shape the future of the energy world.

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Morena Skalamera

This chapter contributes to the emerging debate on the shifting IPE in Eurasian energy by focusing on the changing relationship of gas interdependence between the EU and Russia and its influence on Russia’s alleged shift to the East. The chapter seeks to account for the changes in Eurasia energy trade by asserting that the changing trajectories of the EU-Russia-China energy relationships are due to a distinctive transformation in the policy discourse at a domestic level in all of the three blocks. To that end, the chapter builds on a growing body of recent studies suggesting the importance of ideational change in world politics and the significance of domestic-level concerns within states for their cross-border (energy) trade. With this, the chapter contributes to the scholarly understanding of these relationships by identifying the causal links between the various levels and broad range of actors involved in day-to-day energy policy-making in the countries under examination, while highlighting the importance of changing domestic developments.