Fragmented Energy Governance and the Provision of Global Public Goods

Fragmented Energy Governance and the Provision of Global Public Goods

This article analyses global energy governance from an international political economy and global public goods (GPG) perspective. It first describes the fragmentation that characterises energy governance and its current trend towards an increasingly inter-polar and polycentric pattern. Then, it shows how the myriad of dedicated international energy regimes conform to an energy regime complex that provides a diverse set of GPG rather than a single international energy regime. Then, global energy governance is analysed from a global public good angle, (1) categorizing the different institutional energy-related arrangements according to the public good they intend to provide; and (2) highlighting that the supply of such institutional arrangements is greatly influenced by the different provision technologies that are applied to the different energy-related global public goods.

Policy Implications

  • International energy institutions are obsolete, unable to govern an inter-polar world and lag behind the new ideational dimensions of global energy governance.
  • The efficient supply of different energy-related global public goods (GPG) requires institutional arrangements to be consistent with their respective optimal provision technologies.
  • This in turn demands differentiated institutional designs for GPG provision, i.e. new international organizations, informal arrangements or global standards multilaterally or unilaterally promoted.
  • In the absence of a homogeneous international regime, a polycentric regime complex can strengthen the links between differentiated arrangements and ease coordination problems.
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