Mismanagement of energy threatens global harmony and prosperity, argues a new study in the journal Global Policy, which suggests that more effective international co-ordination of energy policy could offer hope for a better-governed future.
This first special issue of the journal brings together a dozen articles by leading authorities on where global governance of energy is going wrong and how it can be put right.
Energy policy is critical to meeting most of the world’s key challenges: security, poverty, environmental sustainability (particularly climate change) and domestic good governance that avoids corruption.
But national energy policymaking is severely flawed in most countries and not coordinated with what’s happening in the rest of the world, say study leaders Ann Florini and Navroz K. Dubash.
Globally, as Dubash and Florini note in the article 'Mapping Global Energy Governance', the decision-making landscape is fractured and incoherent, reflecting the tendency of governments to treat different energy sources – oil, gas, coal, nuclear or renewables sources – as separate policy realms.
That has led to the creation of a handful of international institutions that are limited in scope and capacity.
Moreover, these institutions do not reflect nor are equipped to deal with the realities of an increasingly multipolar world, reflecting the rise of Asia and other emerging powers.
They are not strong enough to resolve disputes and are poorly integrated with national energy policy processes. Consequently, this fragmented institutional foundation threatens to disintegrate under the pressures of multifaceted global energy priorities.
Although time is short to address these deficiencies, the special issue finds that broadening coordination across three dimensions is key to meeting energy goals that concern all countries.
First, because national interests are likely to continue dominating energy decisions, improved coordination mechanisms need to better reflect new multi-polar realities.
Second, energy governance needs to extend beyond energy-focused agencies to include de facto energy governors such as economic development and trade focused institutions.
Third, those coordination mechanisms must extend beyond formal state and intergovernmental processes, particularly around financing of energy.
These themes are laid out in the energy special issue of Global Policy published online on Monday 19 September. One section of the special issue examines the performance of energy agencies such as the International Energy Agency and other global energy governors.
Another follows the money, in a set of articles exploring the market failures endemic in current energy financing.
A third set of articles take a closer look at developing energy policy in key Asian nations such as China, India and the Philippines.
More information about the journal from the Global Policy site.
Global Policy, published by Wiley-Blackwell and LSE, is an innovative and interdisciplinary journal bringing together academics and practitioners to analyse solutions to crucial global issues.
Ann Florini is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and Professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore. As of October 1 she will be Visiting Professor at the Singapore Management University.
Navroz K. Dubash is a senior fellow at the Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi, India.
19 September 2011