2.1 Introduction: Approaching the Climate-Energy Nexus
How can we analyze the complexity of the climate-energy nexus in a systematic way that is informative for both scholars and practitioners? Over the past roughly twenty years, scholars discussed a series of approaches to make sense of the growing institutional complexity in international relations. They mostly did so for what we call the micro level in this volume, i.e. for interactions between individual institutions, and in particular between intergovernmental institutions (e.g. Young Reference Young1996; Stokke Reference Stokke2001; Gehring and Oberthür Reference Gehring and Oberthür2009). Some of the more recent scholarship completed these approaches by targeting relations among transnational arrangements (e.g. Eberlein et al. Reference Eberlein2014; Tosun et al. Reference Tosun, Koos and Shore2016). The merits of these different perspectives notwithstanding, they led to certain terminological squabbles – with preferences for different concepts such as polycentricity, polyarchy, or complexity – while mostly neglecting overlaps between a larger set of institutions.
As argued in Chapter 1, what is missing is a pragmatic approach (1) that combines these literatures and converges their often similar categories for (a) a nexus among two major policy fields, climate and energy, and (b) different analytical levels within such a nexus, and (2) that also takes into account consequences of institutional interactions and complexity. In the next pages we propose such a careful compromise of dimensions. This approach will guide not only our analyses of the institutional coherence and management of the climate-energy nexus as a whole (Chapter 3) and of three selected subfields within this nexus (Chapters 4–6), but also our examinations of respective consequences for legitimacy and effectiveness (Chapters 7 and 8).
The framework leaves space for the case studies in this volume to unravel additional dimensions that are suitable to the respective policy field or subfield and research question they are addressing. We hope that this multi-dimensional framework with its mix of novelty and flexibility will also be attractive for future qualitative assessments of linkages between private, public, and hybrid institutions in other global governance fields.
The chapter will proceed as follows. The next section briefly lays the conceptual ground by disentangling major concepts (nexus, institutions, and types thereof) and analytical levels that we put under scrutiny in this volume. This is followed by the main Section 2.3, which establishes the core evaluative themes of our analytical framework – coherence, management, legitimacy, and effectiveness – as well as dimensions to assess them for different subfields and analytical levels. The concluding section summarizes our approach and looks ahead to its application in the remainder of this volume.
2.2 Conceptual Framework
2.2.1 Core Concepts
Before starting with our actual framework, we briefly introduce key terms and outline how we understand them in this chapter and the remainder of the volume. We define global governance as ‘all coexisting forms of collective steering of social affairs, by public and private actors, that directly or in their repercussions, transcend national frontiers’ (Zelli Reference Zelli, Brown, McLean and McMillan2018). International institutions, be they intergovernmental or transnational, are one major instrument to provide such collective steering. We follow Robert Keohane (Reference Keohane1989, 3) who defined institutions as ‘persistent and connected sets of rules (formal and informal) that prescribe behavioural roles, constrain activity, and shape expectations’. This definition treats institutions as the most generic term for forms of collaboration at the international level, since it neither specifies the degree of persistence or connectedness nor the types of members or functions involved.
This leaves space for a set of types of institutions. These include organizations, i.e. institutions with ‘purposive entities … capable of monitoring activity and of reacting to it’ (Keohane Reference Keohane1989, 3) and regimes, i.e. ‘institutions with explicit rules … that pertain to particular sets of issues in international relations’ (Keohane Reference Keohane and Rittberger1993, 28). In addition to these traditional types of international institutions, there are more loosely coupled types, which include initiatives, i.e. connected rule systems with a relatively low degree of persistency (meaning that they may be short-lived or very malleable), and networks, i.e. institutions with low degrees of both persistency and connectedness.
All institutions that address a specific policy field (or, as a synonym, domain) of international relations form the institutional complex for that field – with institutional architecture as a term we use synonymously on occasions. Wherever two institutional complexes overlap, forming a set of institutions that address two different policy fields in parallel, we speak of an institutional nexus. The delineation of a policy field is hence key for the inclusion or exclusion of institutions in a complex or nexus. This delineation, we argue, has a necessarily constructivist or subjective aspect, i.e. it depends on how certain observers or participants frame an issue in question. We provided our own understandings of climate change and energy as well of the three subfields we chose in Chapter 1, but of course acknowledge that this is but one possible way of delineating these. Being mindful of this perceptional or framing element, our analyses will rely not only on rationalist but also on constructivist evaluative themes, as we further clarify in Section 3.
2.2.2 Analytical Levels
One core contribution of our analytical approach is the distinction of, and positioning within, three levels of analysis that we often find mixed up in the emerging literature on institutional complexity: the macro level, which captures the overarching institutional fragmentation for a given field or domain of global governance and its respective complex; the meso level, which zooms into specific subfields of such a domain and the institutional complexes thereof; and the micro level, which exhibits interlinkages among two individual institutions on specific questions (cf. Biermann and Kim, forthcoming).
With regard to the thematic scope of our volume, this distinction of analytical levels translates into: at the macro level, the climate-energy nexus as a whole; at the meso level, the three subfields of this nexus that we put under scrutiny in the following chapters, i.e. carbon pricing, fossil fuel subsidies, and renewable energies; and at the micro level, specific interlinkages within each of these subfields that we studied, e.g. between the Group of 20, the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation, and the Friends of Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform in Chapter 5. Figure 2.1 illustrates how these three levels of institutional complexity relate to each other.
It is particularly the meso level that so far has gained only little attention by the literature on institutional complexity. It is here where this volume fills an important research gap. In the next section, we introduce a set of evaluative themes that help us to analyze interlinkages at the micro level in their relevance for the meso level, i.e. for a subfield of the climate-energy nexus. These four evaluative themes are:
Coherence and Management: to characterize sub-themes of the nexus (meso-level), and specific institutional linkages therein (micro level), according to their normative, functional, and membership-based relations and the deliberate attempts to regulate these relations;
2.3 Evaluative Themes
In ontological terms, we follow a dual approach to give us a more comprehensive picture when analyzing the climate-energy nexus. Concretely, the four evaluative themes that we introduce in the following help us to capture both rationalist and constructivist aspects at different levels. For the first two – coherence and management – we apply a rationalist or objectivist approach by examining factual dimensions, e.g. membership patterns or concrete efforts taken to manage an institutional interlinkage. For the themes of legitimacy and effectiveness, by contrast, we bring in a sociological approach, i.e. we identify respective perceptions and expectations of actors attributed to the relationships among institutions within a nexus.
How then can we qualify institutional interactions at the micro level and their relevance for the meso level, i.e. for a specific subfield within a nexus of two policy fields, in a feasible and qualitative way that allows for comparisons across such interactions? When can we speak of rather conflictive or synergistic cross-institutional relationships within a policy subfield, and on what grounds? We define coherence in institutional complexes as the harmony of certain institutional features to one another or to an overarching purpose. To characterize such institutional coherence in a policy subfield such as carbon pricing, we suggest two consecutive steps that build on the same dimensions for assessment (Box 2.1).
(1) The first step of analyzing meso-level coherence provides input on three analytical dimensions – core norm, membership, governance functions – that will guide the subsequent two steps of assessing institutional linkages, and their management, within the respective policy subfield. This step is largely descriptive in nature, since it assesses the three dimensions according to their distribution across the climate-energy nexus.
(1a) The first and most central dimension, core norm of a policy field, depends on the delineation and essential questions of the subfield under scrutiny. We follow a sociological understanding of norms here, not a narrower legal one, as ‘shared expectations about appropriate behaviour held by a community of actors’ (Finnemore Reference Finnemore1996, 22). For the realm of global governance, this implies a shared narrative about the conditions and objectives that inform individual institutions and even entire institutional complexes (or architectures) as a whole (Ruggie Reference Ruggie and Ruggie1998). In other words, building on Conca (Reference Conca2006) and Zelli et al. (Reference Zelli, Gupta and van Asselt2013),we hold that such complexes are embedded in a broader normative context. For instance, the core norm of the global climate governance complex would be to ‘prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system’ as laid out in Article 2 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
The first task for our researchers is to identify such a core norm for the policy subfield they put under scrutiny, e.g. from the preambles of leading institutions in the respective subfield. Following this, they need to assess whether there is a certain convergence among interpretations of this norm across different institutions and their linkages, or whether these institutions follow different interpretations or variants of the norm.
(1) Meso-level Coherence, i.e. the level of coherence in the subfield as a whole, to be assessed along three major dimensions
a. Core norm, i.e. the overarching expectation of behaviour that characterizes the subfield, and how this expectation has been interpreted in institutional practice;
b. Membership: public, private, or public–private, across institutions in the subfield;
c. Governance functions addressed by different institutions and their members;
(2) Micro-level Coherence, i.e. the level of coherence in specific interactions of institutions within the respective subfield, in terms of the same three dimensions and underlying mechanisms
a. Core norm (and each institution’s interpretation of it);
c. Governance functions;
d. Mechanisms of interactions among institutions.
Importantly, the identification of a core norm is closely related to the delineation of a subfield, or rather its institutional complex – since the core norm provides the substance or goal that unites the institutions governing the field in question. As discussed in Chapter 1, this implies that the delineation of a governance problem or institutional complex has an element of construction to it. In formulating the core norms for each of the three subfields (see Chapters 4, 5, and 6), the authors make a subjective choice as researchers about what counts as a sub-structure within the climate-energy nexus.
The construction of the core norm provides a crucial link between the evaluative theme of coherence and the other three themes of this framework. Management can be seen as an active attempt to enhance normative coherence across institutions by creating a common understanding of a problem and working toward a joint goal with different institutional efforts. And legitimacy and effectiveness are conceptualized sociologically in the further course of this chapter, i.e. in terms of assessments or perceptions, which directly link back to the core norm underlying an institutional complex: institutions may be assessed according to whether they have the right to govern toward that norm (legitimacy) and whether they deliver on that norm (effectiveness).
The centrality of the (constructed) core norm in our framework also has consequences for how we understand normative coherence: there is a bias toward convergence on the core norm as a positive or at least essential ideal for a subfield in question, since too many strong deviations from that norm would undermine the identification of the subfield in the first place.
(1b+1c) By contrast, we treat the two ensuing dimensions – membership and governance functions, i.e. coherence in their case is not marked by convergence but by balanced distribution and synergy. These two dimensions will also be used in our analysis of the macro-level coherence of the entire climate-energy nexus in Chapter 3.
Boxes 2.2 and 2.3 display our typologies for membership and governance functions that institutional complexes and their components may exhibit in different mixes. We build the respective types on Eberlein et al. (Reference Eberlein2014), Tosun et al. (Reference Tosun, Koos and Shore2016) as well as Abbott (Reference Abbott2012) and Abbott and Snidal (Reference Abbott and Snidal2009a; Reference Abbott, Snidal, Mattli and Woods2009b) with their governance triangle and distinction of functions (see also Chapter 3 for a more detailed introduction of both typologies).
∘ International organizations / bureaucracies (intergovernmental or transnational);
∘ States (could be further distinguished: governments, specific ministries, agencies);
∘ Sub-national regions / provinces / states;
- Civil Society Organizations
∘ Nongovernmental organizations (could be further distinguished, e.g. advocacy, watchdog, disruptive);
∘ Research / Experts (could be further distinguished, e.g. certifiers, academic observers);
- Standards and commitments, e.g.:
∘ Rule-making processes;
∘ Mandatory commitments;
∘ Voluntary commitments (e.g. voluntary pollution reduction schemes);
∘ Schemes for implementation and enforcement;
∘ Standards for monitoring, reporting and verification.
- Operational activities, e.g.:
∘ Technology research and development;
∘ Pilot projects;
∘ Demonstration and deployment activities;
∘ Technical assistance and capacity building;
∘ Best practices;
∘ Implementation of commitments;
∘ Enforcement activities.
- Information and networking, e.g.:
∘ Monitoring, reporting, and verification;
∘ Evaluation activities (e.g. peer reviews);
∘ Behind-the-scenes diplomacy;
∘ Collecting and publishing information;
∘ Technical consulting, training, and information events & services to build capacity, share knowledge, and to support local governments;
- Financing (i.e. operational activities that particularly involve financing schemes), e.g.:
∘ Conditions in structural adjustment programmes;
Coherence depends on the extent to which the different types of members (or audiences) and governance functions are covered across an institutional complex, and on the extent to which this distribution or coverage is taking place in a synergistic way. Thus, an institutional complex exhibits low coherence if, for instance, operational activities are hardly performed by institutions and major public or private actors are not members. Importantly, certain activities can pertain to various governance functions, e.g. a report on financing may fall under both financing and information and networking.
With regard to synergy, the activities depicted in Box 2.3 can interact in different ways. Information-sharing and networking do not inherently have the same potential for competition or conflict as the setting of standards and commitments, since the adding of another standard- or commitment-setting institution to a subfield often undermines the existing standard- or commitment-setting institutions. If, for instance, one institution sets standards for offsets, and another institution starts to introduce a different set of standards for offsets, competition or conflict is likely, inter alia, because of forum or ‘standard’ shopping by public and private actors (Alter and Meunier Reference Alter and Meunier2009). Information-sharing and networking are different from standard-setting in that the information-sharing and networking of one institution is likely to add to the information-sharing and networking of another institution, provided that their activities are connected.
(2) Our in-depth analysis of micro-level coherence will equally be based on the three aforementioned dimensions, i.e. we suggest going beyond legal consistency toward assessing normative, membership-based, and functional coherence among specific institutions in a policy subfield.
(2a+b+c) This threefold understanding implies that complete coherence, like complete conflict, is rather an ideal type – since we will rarely find them to the same degree across all of these three dimensions. Two institutions that address a particular energy policy issue such as fossil fuel subsidy reform may, for instance, be synergistic or at least non-conflictive in terms of the core norm they adhere to, e.g. the need to phase out respective subsidies, but still may invade each other’s turfs and compete over governance functions they seek to serve.
When it comes to weighing the coherence of the three core dimensions against each other, we suggest a simple hierarchy, holding that normative relationships between institutions in a policy subfield are most important, followed by functional ones, with membership carrying the least weight. If two institutions move into very different directions on major norms or governance functions (e.g. egalitarian versus efficiency goals on carbon pricing, or rivalling ideas for standards or evaluation), this constitutes a major conflict that cannot be balanced on the level of membership, which is rather formal in nature.
The researcher therefore has to establish whether the core norms and governance functions between two institutions turn out rather synergistic or conflicting. This implies a careful qualitative analysis about the essence and direction of each institutional approach, i.e. a combination of normative and functional assessment. It is not sufficient to check whether certain governance functions are complimentary, duplicated, or not served at all.
For instance, one might find that intergovernmental institutions are mostly responsible for the formulation of standards or targets, while private institutions largely take over information and networking tasks. At first glance, this may suggest a sensible division of labour at the meso level. However, a closer look at the micro level, i.e. at the actual essence of the activities within and across selected institutions, might reveal that public institutions adhere to different norms and pursue different goals and ambitions (e.g. command-and-control and trade-restrictive) than private ones (e.g. bottom-up and market-liberal) – and that this leads to a disconnect among the purposes of institutions.
The coherence in membership, finally, is closely connected to governance functions. The focus here is on how different actors in a given part of the nexus have these functions covered in a coherent manner, i.e. which enabling or restricting roles are played to fulfil certain governance functions.
(2d) Importantly, our assessment does not stop at contrasting individual institutions in terms of their functions, membership, and norms. As mentioned earlier in this chapter, the micro level of complexity for us is constituted by institutional interlinkages, i.e. relations between institutions along the dimensions we discussed. For a fuller picture on coherence in a policy subfield this implies that: we need to scrutinize the actual exchange processes among institutions, not just compare their individual norms, memberships, and functions – and qualify these exchanges in terms of underlying causal mechanisms.
To characterize different interaction mechanisms that are of relevance in such exchanges across norms, functions, and members, we rely on the literature on causal mechanisms in institutional interlinkages (Stokke Reference Stokke2001, 10–23; Gehring and Oberthür Reference Gehring, Oberthür, Oberthür and Gehring2006; Oberthür and Gehring Reference Oberthür and Gehring2006), but also on more recent typologies, e.g. Eberlein et al. (Reference Eberlein2014) and Tosun et al. (Reference Tosun, Koos and Shore2016), and our own work, e.g. Zelli et al. (Reference Zelli, Gupta and van Asselt2013) and Van de Graaf and Zelli (Reference Van de Graaf, Zelli, Van de Graaf, Sovacool, Kern, Ghosh and Klare2016).
Concretely, we distinguish interactions at the cognitive, normative, and behavioural levels. Box 2.4 displays our definitions and examples for these three types.
- Cognitive = impact of knowledge and information in one institution on another one, e.g.:
∘ Flow of information between institutions and their members;
∘ Deeper cross-institutional learning, including on the execution of certain governance functions;
- Normative = impact of norms and rules of one institution on another one, e.g.:
∘ Imitation of rules / practices;
∘ Adaptation toward certain rules or practices;
∘ Internal debates over rules of another institution;
- Behavioural = impact of the functional and strategic behaviour of members and other relevant actors in one institution on another one, e.g.:
∘ interlocking memberships;
∘ ‘Monitoring’ each other’s performance;
∘ Brand management;
∘ Capacity-building, e.g. resource allocation.
This selection shown in Box 2.4 is non-exhaustive and we are aware that other scholars added further mechanisms, e.g. legal or institutionalized interactions among institutions (Eberlein et al. Reference Eberlein2014). We take out such legal interactions here and deal with them under the evaluative theme of management, since we see them as results of management attempts, not as processes of interaction.
For each of these mechanisms we will assess to what extent they affect the levels of functional, normative, and membership-based coherence among institutions in a policy subfield. As some of the examples in Box 2.4 suggest, certain mechanisms may well have more importance for certain dimensions than others. For instance, membership and certain governance functions play a key role for the behavioural mechanism, while norms are at the core of the normative mechanism.
When we refer to the evaluative theme of management in this volume, we mean micro-level management, which for us describes any deliberate attempt to formally regulate the linkage between two or more institutions (Zelli Reference Zelli2010). This follows Stokke’s understanding of interplay management as ‘deliberate efforts by participants in tributary or recipient regimes to prevent, encourage, or shape the way one regime affects problem solving under another’ (Stokke Reference Stokke2001, 11).
Management in this understanding is one possible form of intentionality in institutional linkages. Gehring and Faude (Reference Gehring and Faude2014) distinguish further types of intentionality, especially the very creation of a functional overlap among two institutions in the first place, e.g. to challenge the regulatory dominance of one of them (cf. Schneider and Urpelainen Reference Schneider and Urpelainen2013; Van de Graaf Reference Van de Graaf2013) or to shift regulatory activities from one to the other (Braithwaite and Drahos Reference Braithwaite and Drahos2000, 564–577; Helfer Reference Helfer2009).
This notwithstanding, we focus here on management instead of intentionality as a whole. One reason for our choice is that a wider perspective on intentionality would mix causal explanations into our assessment of the character of an interaction or sub-complex – and we intend to keep the former apart from the latter as far as this is analytically possible. Moreover, management has been more systematized in the literature than intentionality, giving us a set of tools at hand to clarify and characterize the state of management of an institutional linkage.
We roughly distinguish two dimensions by which we assess micro-level management for our three case studies (Box 2.5).
(1) Following Oberthür’s and Stockke’s influential typologies, management attempts can be distinguished according to the levels at which they are taken and the types of agents usually involved at a respective level (Oberthür Reference Oberthür2009; Oberthür and Stokke Reference Oberthür and Stokke2011). This yields four types of management levels and agents (Box 2.6).
(2) In addition, management brings in a time dimension. It implies that, at least analytically, one may distinguish essential aspects of an inter-institutional relation – that we scrutinize under the evaluative theme of ‘coherence’ – from a reaction to this relation. Thus, a second dimension that we seek to assess for micro-level management is the consequences of the management process. Using the aforementioned coherence dimensions, we examine to what extent management efforts enhanced the functional, normative, and membership-based coherence or division of labour among institutions in a subfield. As for the assessment of mini-level coherence that we introduced earlier in this chapter, it is particularly crucial to assess the normative and functional consequences of the respective management attempts, e.g. whether or not they lead to more synergy and, more precisely, whether the management approach ultimately serves the functions and goals of one or both institutions.
To summarize this and the previous subsection, we have established a set of dimensions and associated types to analyse two of our evaluative themes (coherence at the meso and micro levels, and management at the micro level). These steps will guide the analyses on the state of play in the three subfields we selected in Part II – renewable energy (Chapter 4), fossil fuel subsidy reform (Chapter 5), and carbon pricing (Chapter 6).
(1) Levels and agents of management;
(2) Consequences of management, i.e. any change or convergence on the coherence dimensions (norms, membership, governance functions).
Uncoordinatedly at national or regional levels;
Unilaterally by one of the affected institutions;
Jointly between the affected institutions; or
By an overarching institution (e.g. the United Nations Environment Programme) or third institutions (e.g. the International Court of Justice) as mediator or dispute settler.
Juxtaposing the themes of coherence and management leads us to six generic ways of characterizing the institutional complex of a subfield of the climate-energy nexus (Table 2.1). ‘Generic’ also implies that the intermediate concepts (coexistence or duplication, coordination) describe a middle ground that serves as a proxy for an actual continuum between synergy and conflict.
|Non-managed relationship||Synergy||Coexistence / Duplication||Conflict|
|Managed relationship||Division of labour||Coordination||Competition|
The terms in the upper row of Table 2.1 are straightforward and intuitive and reflect when we can speak of high or low coherence, in terms of the three core dimensions we introduced earlier. Coherence exists if institutions converge on a core norm and exert governance functions accordingly and synergistically, while covering a large set of complementary audiences without too many gaps or duplications. Conflict, on the other side of the spectrum, refers to a strong divergence on the core norm and respective contradictions, rivalries, and gaps in the exercise of governance functions for various audiences.
The three types of managed relationships (division of labour, coordination, competition) are understood correspondingly. We define an institutional division of labour as the deliberate and continuous sharing of governance functions and norms among institutions for complimentary memberships. This definition chimes with Young (Reference Young1996) and his understanding of ‘embedded institutions’ that work on different issues, but share overarching principles and practices, and ‘nested institutions’ that work on the same issue, but differ in functional scope or geographical domain and are ‘folded into broader institutional frameworks’.
Coordination, as a middle ground, would mark deliberate management attempts in a policy subfield that rather facilitate an ad-hoc or case-based sharing of specific governance functions.
Competition, finally, describes deliberate attempts to manage institutional linkages that are either not successful or that are only meant to facilitate a legal or political frame in which institutions vie for the same governance task and / or audience. ‘Vying’ here relates to competition for predominance, either in a specific sector or geographical level or across sectors or levels.
While the previous two themes, coherence and management, focused on the shape of complexity among institutions, this and the next section concentrate on the consequences of this complexity for the affected institutions, their operation, and their goal-fulfilment. We focus on two distinct yet related concepts: legitimacy and effectiveness. This is because, on a fundamental level, institutions, and institutional complexes or architectures as a whole, need to be both legitimate and effective to function well in the long term (Andresen and Hey Reference Andresen and Hey2005). In the following we argue why we need new approaches to studying legitimacy and effectiveness that take into account the wider context that institutions find themselves in. Specifically, we show how both legitimacy and effectiveness are multidimensional concepts that need to be investigated through multiple methods.
The evaluative theme of legitimacy has been discussed extensively in the literatures on global governance and institutional analysis (Suchman Reference Suchman1995; Hurd Reference Hurd1999; Bernstein Reference Bernstein2005; Buchanan and Keohane Reference Buchanan and Keohane2006; Clark Reference Clark2007; Keohane Reference Keohane2011). Broadly it refers to ‘the acceptance and justification of shared rule by a community’ (Bernstein Reference Bernstein2005, 142). A legitimate institution thus rules with authority as it has obtained support for its operation. Legitimacy is important for global governance, as the alternative tools for generating compliance with shared rules in the international system – inducement or coercion – ‘are often unavailable, in short supply, or costly to use’ (Bernstein Reference Bernstein2011, 20). Global governance institutions that seek to exercise legitimate power must thus gain acceptability and credibility amongst the communities that they seek to govern.
Legitimacy can be studied through different approaches. Two common approaches are normative and sociological legitimacy. While the former examines whether the authority in question performs according to some pre-defined standards, the latter is concerned with whether the authority is perceived as having the right to rule amongst those it seeks to govern (Buchanan and Keohane Reference Buchanan and Keohane2006). Given these different approaches, scholarly evaluations of legitimacy may diverge depending on whether the focus of the study is to examine justifications of operations or the acceptability of those claims to a given constituency.
In sum, legitimacy is a multidimensional concept that can be evaluated in different ways. Institutional complexity adds another challenge to this evaluation due to the interplay between different sets of institutions – each with their own audiences, objectives, processes, and consequences. In particular, institutional complexity blurs the question of attribution due to the interdependence between institutions. With some institutions being placed in a subfield crowded with competing institutions with overlapping mandates (Abbott et al. Reference Abbott, Green and Keohane2016), it is very difficult, if not outright impossible, to disentangle the legitimacy of individual institutions. Conventional methods of assessing legitimacy only by looking at institutions individually against a set of criteria thus provides an insufficient perspective for studying both legitimacy and complexity (Alter and Meunier Reference Alter and Meunier2009).
With these caveats in mind, we choose a different and novel approach to assess the legitimacy of the climate-energy nexus. We argue that it is necessary to draw on a mix of the normative and sociological approaches in order to understand legitimacy under institutional complexity. Specifically, we highlight an aspect of legitimacy that has to date received little attention in the literature – namely how key stakeholders value this concept. To study this phenomenon, we start from the normative literature but then rely on interviews and questionnaires to explore how stakeholders assess legitimacy.
Our focus on stakeholder perceptions is grounded in two considerations. The first of these arises from an academic debate on how institutional complexity affects actors’ choices in international cooperation in general, and political decision-making in particular (Alter and Meunier Reference Alter and Meunier2009). The second one stresses the policy implications of institutional complexity, concretely the notion of an era in which global governance institutions compete over members and resources (Andresen and Hey Reference Andresen and Hey2005; Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen and McGee Reference Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen and McGee2013). While actors join institutions based on strategic considerations, global governance institutions need to be legitimate and must gain acceptability and credibility amongst the communities they seek to govern to achieve their objectives. It is therefore important to empirically study the views of those actors that global governance institutions seek to govern. In Part III we therefore examine if and how legitimacy assessments vary between key audiences (c.f. Nasiritousi et al. Reference Nasiritousi, Hjerpe and Bäckstrand2016).
Who these legitimacy-granting actors are has been the subject of some debate in the literature. While traditionally only states, as the central international actors, were seen as members of the community that grant legitimacy to international institutions, the boundaries of this community have shifted as nonstate actors have risen in prominence in recent years. Thus, international institutions now need to be perceived as legitimate not only by states, but also by ‘democratic publics’, including a range of stakeholders (Symons Reference Symons2011, 2561; Gronau and Schmidtke Reference Gronau and Schmidtke2016). This directly connects to the core dimension of membership that we introduced earlier for assessing coherence. Institutional membership may not necessarily be identical with a legitimacy audience, but it is an important and defining dimension for identifying such an audience.
Based on these considerations, which dimensions are suitable to examine legitimacy under conditions of institutional complexity? Or, put in perceptional terms, which dimensions help us examine how institutional complexity affects stakeholders’ assessments of key institutions of the climate-energy nexus? Chapter 7 will develop such a set of dimensions in further detail and apply them to the renewable energy subfield of the climate and energy nexus. In the following we will only briefly sketch how, and based on which theoretical assumptions, we derive these dimensions.
While the general concept of legitimacy is contested, the literature is in relative agreement about the institutional qualities that contribute to legitimacy (Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen and Vihma Reference Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen and Vihma2009; Mena and Palazzo Reference Mena and Palazzo2012; Scholte and Tallberg Reference Scholte, Tallberg, Tallberg, Bäckstrand and Scholte2018). Yet, the extent to which stakeholders believe that different institutions are fulfilling these criteria has thus far not been empirically explored. Therefore, based on the literature on what makes an institution legitimate, we derive a set of dimensions for assessing the normative legitimacy of international institutions. These include both process-related (input) dimensions as well as outcome-related (output) ones (see Box 2.7, and Chapter 7 for a detailed introduction of each dimension):
Inclusion of all appropriate actors;
Procedural (decision-making) fairness;
Output (what is produced);
Outcome (the effect the output has on its members);
Impact (the effect the output has on problem-solving);
Distributive fairness (distributing benefits to members fairly).
When applying these dimensions in Chapter 7, we map how different audiences assess these nine dimensions of legitimacy that we derived from the normative literature for five key institutions in the renewable energy subfield. This approach hence occupies a middle ground between the normative approach (whereby the researcher assesses an institution based on normative criteria) and the sociological approach, which focuses on the legitimacy perceptions of audiences (cf. Agné Reference Agné, Tallberg, Bäckstrand and Scholte2018). Gaining an understanding of these perceptions is important for institutions that seek to tailor their legitimation strategies toward different audiences (Bäckstrand and Söderbaum Reference Bäckstrand, Söderbaum, Tallberg, Bäckstrand and Scholte2018).
There are two main explanations for why legitimacy perceptions may diverge between different types of stakeholders: according to the traditional view of legitimacy in IR, the congruence model, actors make informed assessments about institutions. In this understanding, differences in legitimacy perceptions stem from variations in legitimacy demands between groups of stakeholders. According to the cognitive model, in contrast, actors rely on mental shortcuts to make assessments. This view builds on insights from the field of cognitive psychology, and highlights that legitimacy perceptions are rooted in cognitive schemata and heuristics. This means that differences in legitimacy perceptions instead stem from variations in the heuristics that different actors use to make the assessment (Lenz and Viola Reference Lenz and Viola2017).
The latter model is expected to be of use particularly under conditions of institutional complexity since actors (even if they are experts) cannot be expected to make a fully informed assessment as implied by the congruence model. This is in line with research that has found that ‘complexity forces bounded rationality on actors’ (Alter and Meunier Reference Alter and Meunier2009, 17), and that actors rely on heuristics in the face of overwhelming information. Chapter 7 does not seek to explain how legitimacy assessments are made but instead assumes that differences in perceptions can stem both from differences in norms and values, as well as differences in experiences and thereby heuristics used to form opinions. The chapter thus maps the differences in assessments between key institutions and stakeholder groups to provide novel empirical insights into the normative legitimacy of these institutions.
As with legitimacy, the evaluative theme of effectiveness is multidimensional. Generally speaking, effectiveness can be conceptualized as the level of goal attainment by an institution (Bernauer Reference Bernauer1995). In the literatures on International Relations and Comparative Politics, effectiveness is typically operationalized through three dimensions, as the output, outcome, or impact of institutions (Underdal Reference Underdal and Miles2002; Tallberg et al. Reference Tallberg, Sommerer, Squatrito and Lundgren2016; see Box 2.8). Whereas output is a process-based dimension that looks at the narrow governance functions of an institution, and outcome examines the political impacts or behavioural change resulting from the operations of the institution, impact looks at issues of problem resolution and the extent to which the institution has contributed to welfare enhancement (Gutner and Thompson Reference Gutner and Thompson2010).
Output (what is produced);
Outcome (the effect the output has on its members);
Impact (the effect the output has on problem-solving).
These three dimensions of effectiveness correspond to three of the nine dimensions of legitimacy we just introduced. This overlap suggests that, while legitimacy and effectiveness are distinct concepts, they are also strongly interrelated – e.g. with (perceived) high levels of effectiveness positively impacting the legitimacy (perceptions) of the institution in question.
Since output focuses on the immediate performance of an institution, it is the most observable of the three dimensions and does not have to consider issues of causation. This may make it the preferred operationalization of effectiveness from a methodological viewpoint, but it only captures potential effectiveness, as it does not consider the actual consequences of the output. Impact, conversely, is difficult to measure, but captures how well the institution changes target indicators – and is hence in a better position to answer questions concerning whether and how the institution is able to solve the problems that it has been designed to tackle (Underdal Reference Underdal and Miles2002). Ideally, an investigation into all three dimensions of effectiveness provides a fuller picture of the performance of the institution. An analysis of how outputs link to outcome and impact would provide valuable insights into the actual effectiveness of the institution, especially if such an analysis also takes into account unintended side effects of the institution’s work.
Another complicating factor in assessing effectiveness is that international institutions typically have several, and sometimes conflicting, goals or core norms (for example, there exist tensions between alleviating energy poverty and promoting sustainable energy). Therefore, similar to sociological legitimacy where legitimacy demands may vary between actors, evaluations of effectiveness may vary amongst constituencies depending on which goal-fulfilment is favoured. This is what Gutner and Thompson (Reference Gutner and Thompson2010) refer to as the ‘eye of the beholder’ problem, as effectiveness may be assessed differently by members of an institution and outside stakeholders, but sometimes also between members if interests diverge.
Chapter 8 turns to the question of effectiveness to evaluate the three subfields of the climate-energy nexus. Here we rely on a mixed approach of assessing three dimensions of effectiveness – output, outcome, and impact – of the institutions at the meso level by combining interview data with experts in the field and the researchers’ own assessments of how outputs relate to outcomes and impacts. The chapter discusses these three dimensions and highlights the difficulties involved in determining the outcomes and impacts of institutions at the meso level given the range of confounding factors and the problem of attribution under institutional complexity.
Nevertheless, the chapter offers a transparent evaluation of the effectiveness of the subdomains – by discussing the outputs at the meso level, in terms of, for example, data and reports, capacity building, standard-setting financing, and implementation of projects, and then discussing how these may (or may not) be linked to observed outcomes and impacts. The value of the analysis lies in the examination of how institutional complexity affects the effectiveness of the subfields and the identification of management options that may be useful in addressing some of the existing bottlenecks.
The previous pages introduced our understanding of major terms (nexus, institutions, organizations, regimes, initiatives, networks) and analytical levels (macro, meso, micro) as well as a novel combination of evaluative themes and their dimensions for a thorough and comparative analysis of the macro, meso, and micro levels of the energy nexus:
Coherence – in terms of convergence on a core norm; and balanced distribution and synergy on governance functions, and membership as well as underlying causal mechanisms;
Management – in terms of agents, levels, and consequences for normative, functional, or membership-related convergence;
Legitimacy – in terms of perception of institutional audiences of process- and outcome-based criteria;
Effectiveness – in terms of the output, outcome, and impact-related consequences of institutional complexity at micro and meso levels.
These four themes are not meant to present a silver bullet toward studying a governance nexus or institutional complexity in general. First, they are not mutually exclusive. For instance, management is defined as deliberate attempts to provide more coherence, and effectiveness is framed as an important cornerstone of legitimacy. Second, they are not exhaustive, since there are a series of other dimensions which could also be assessed in such a nexus, such as underlying discourse coalitions or social networks.
These qualifications notwithstanding, the four evaluative themes, their dimensions and criteria, provide an detailed framework for an in-depth analysis of a governance nexus. They help us examine a variety of important questions in a comparative research design, combining a high level of ambition with feasibility and novelty.
The following chapters will illustrate these qualities when applying the analytical framework to our three case studies. Chapters 3–6 will provide an encompassing application of the framework’s criteria for coherence and management. Chapter 3 offers overarching perspectives on macro-level coherence for the nexus as a whole and for the meso-level coherence for the three subfields. Chapters 4–6 then delve into each subfield and provide further details on meso-level coherence as well as analyses of micro-level coherence and management attempts. Chapters 7 and 8 follow with in-depth applications of the legitimacy and effectiveness criteria of the framework before our conclusions in Chapter 9 tie together our various results in a comparative and comprehensive manner, summarizing the strength of our multi-dimensional approach.
Global energy challenges and responses to climate change are intrinsically intertwined. Efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal on energy (SDG 7) – to provide ‘access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all’ (United Nations 2015) – will affect the possibility to reach the goals set out in the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to keep global warming under 2 degrees, and vice versa. Such efforts are thus interdependent and situated in a ‘climate-energy nexus’.
In this chapter, we map the increasingly dense institutional complex of governance institutions occupying the climate-energy nexus. In global climate governance, international and transnational institutions have proliferated since the adoption of the UNFCCC in 1992, which has led to an increasingly fragmented global climate governance architecture (Bäckstrand Reference Bäckstrand2008; Biermann et al. Reference Biermann, Pattberg, van Asselt and Zelli2009; Keohane and Victor Reference Keohane and Victor2011; Abbott Reference Abbott2012; Bulkeley et al. Reference Bulkeley, Andonova, Betsill, Compagnon, Hale, Hoffmann, Newell, Paterson, Roger and VanDeveer2014; Falkner Reference Falkner2014). Similarly, global energy governance has been characterized as fragmented (e.g. Dubash and Florini Reference Dubash and Florini2011; Van de Graaf Reference Van de Graaf2013; Escribano Reference Escribano2015), partly due to the diversity of governance efforts involved and the way it deals with different energy sources (e.g. coal, gas, solar, and wind), and challenges (energy security, energy access and environmental sustainability).
Despite the interdependence between climate change and energy governance, scholars studying institutional structures often only focus on one issue area. For example, in an effort to understand institutional complexity of global climate change governance, and the causes and consequences thereof, several studies introduced mappings of the broader institutional complex. Keohane and Victor (Reference Keohane and Victor2011) discussed the regime complex for climate change by demonstrating a plethora of international state-based governance arrangements, and evaluated the emerging regime complex as ‘loosely coupled’, with institutions that are not integrated or arranged in a clear hierarchy (Keohane and Victor Reference Keohane and Victor2011, 9). Others have mapped climate governance institutions beyond the international realm, focusing on transnational and private climate governance (e.g. Pattberg and Stripple Reference Pattberg and Stripple2008; Abbott Reference Abbott2012; Bulkeley et al. Reference Bulkeley, Andonova, Betsill, Compagnon, Hale, Hoffmann, Newell, Paterson, Roger and VanDeveer2014; Hale and Roger Reference Hale and Roger2014). Subsequent research sought to combine both spheres (Widerberg et al. Reference Widerberg, Pattberg and Kristensen2016), operationalizing a heuristic framework that had been developed by Abbott and Snidal (Reference Abbott and Snidal2009a; Reference Abbott and Snidal2009b; Abbott Reference Abbott2012).
Similarly, a growing body of literature has mapped the global energy complex (e.g. Suding and Lempp Reference Suding and Lempp2007; Kerebel and Keppler Reference Kérébel and Keppler2009; Lesage et al. Reference Lesage, Van de Graaf and Westphal2010; Colgan et al. Reference Colgan, Keohane and Van de Graaf2012; Sovacool and Florini Reference Sovacool and Florini2012; Leal-Arcas and Filis Reference Leal-Arcas and Filis2013; Wilson Reference Wilson2015; Escribano Reference Escribano2015). However, these mappings led to strikingly different results, with the number of governance efforts ranging from six, identified by Kerebel and Keppler (Reference Kérébel and Keppler2009), to fifty, identified by Sovacool and Florini (Reference Sovacool and Florini2012) (Van de Graaf and Colgan Reference Van de Graaf and Colgan2016). Like the institutional complex itself, the mapping efforts have been rather fragmented in terms of focus on energy source, or type of institution. Whereas a number of studies exclusively focus on oil and gas (e.g. Kerebel and Keppler Reference Kérébel and Keppler2009), others target renewable energy sources (e.g. Barnsley and Ahn Reference Barnsley and Ahn2014). Additionally, while some mappings are restricted to intergovernmental organizations (e.g. Wilson Reference Wilson2015), others also include nongovernmental organizations; and hybrid or public–private institutions (Sovacool and Florini Reference Sovacool and Florini2012). Sanderink et al. (Reference Sanderink, Kristensen, Widerberg and Pattberg2018), finally, merged these different criteria and introduced a novel and comprehensive mapping of global energy governance, following a methodology similar to Widerberg et al. (Reference Widerberg, Pattberg and Kristensen2016).
What is missing to date is an integrated mapping and coherent analysis of the institutional complex governing the nexus between climate change and energy. Consequently, this chapter identifies the institutions that address both challenges simultaneously. The aims of this chapter are twofold: first, we provide a pioneering mapping and analysis of the climate-energy institutional nexus. Second, we introduce novel empirical data and input for the three case studies on the subfields of renewable energy, fossil fuel subsidy reform, and carbon pricing (see Chapters 4–6).
Concretely, this chapter analyzes the climate-energy nexus along the distinction between the macro level (the overall nexus) and the meso level (the various subfields within the broader climate and energy institutional complex). Each level is scrutinized along a number of analytical questions, including the major dimensions that were introduced in Chapter 2. When were the institutions established, and how did the institutional complex develop over time? What types of institutions populate the climate-energy nexus? Who are the institutional members to the institutions, and how are these connected? What kind of governance functions do these institutions fulfil? What is their thematic focus?
The chapter proceeds as follows: Section 3.2 introduces the methodology and data collection approach. Section 3.3 provides an introduction to the three subfields; Sections 3.4 and 3.5 then provide the mapping and analysis of the macro and meso levels of the climate-energy nexus. Section 3.6 concludes with a set of final remarks and sets the stage for the subsequent chapters.
Mapping the institutional complex that governs the climate-energy nexus and the three subfields is carried out in two steps. First, compiling a database that includes the institutions actively addressing the climate-energy nexus; and second, visualizing and analyzing the data. The next subsections describe these two steps in more detail, including our dataselection criteria and data analysis.
3.2.1 Data Selection
The database consists of institutions that govern both climate change and energy. In line with our definition of global governance (see Chapter 2), our criteria for inclusion and exclusion are based on previous work by the CONNECT project,Footnote 1 which includes institutions that are (i) intergovernmental or transnational, which not only have the (ii) intentionality to steer policy and the behaviour of their members or a broader community, but also explicitly refer to a (iii) common governance goal, to be accomplished by (iv) significant governance functions (Widerberg et al. Reference Widerberg, Pattberg and Kristensen2016). For the climate-energy nexus as a whole, the overarching governance goals are twofold. On the one hand, institutions strive to mitigate climate change, i.e. to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system. On the other hand, institutions in the nexus adhere to the proposition that decarbonizing the energy sector is essential to combat climate change. Taken together, the governance goal that unites institutions in the nexus is greenhouse gas mitigation through a transformation toward low-carbon or fossil-free energy systems, excluding those focusing on carbon capture and storage (CCS) and nuclear power.
For populating the database, we used two key sources. First, the CONNECT project’s database on global climate change governance (Widerberg et al. Reference Widerberg, Pattberg and Kristensen2016), and secondly, the CONNECT dataset on global energy governance (Sanderink et al. Reference Sanderink, Kristensen, Widerberg and Pattberg2018). The database on climate governance builds on previous case studies (particularly Hoffmann Reference Hoffmann2011; Bulkeley et al. Reference Bulkeley, Andonova, Betsill, Compagnon, Hale, Hoffmann, Newell, Paterson, Roger and VanDeveer2014; Hale and Roger Reference Hale and Roger2014) and a thorough assessment of two online databases: the Climate Initiative Platform (climateinitiativesplatform.org) and the Non-State Actor Zone for Climate Action (NAZCA, climateaction.unfccc.int). Similarly, the dataset on global energy governance includes previous mapping exercises (Suding and Lempp Reference Suding and Lempp2007; Kerebel and Keppler Reference Kérébel and Keppler2009; Lesage, Van de Graaf, and Westphal Reference Lesage, Van de Graaf and Westphal2010; Colgan, Keohane, and Van de Graaf Reference Colgan, Keohane and Van de Graaf2012; Sovacool and Florini Reference Sovacool and Florini2012; Escribano Reference Escribano2015; Wilson Reference Wilson2015), complemented with data from the Climate Initiatives Platform, NAZCA, and the Portal on Cooperative Initiatives (unfccc.int/focus/mitigation/items/7785.php). From these two key sources, we selected those institutions focusing on climate and energy simultaneously for the climate-energy nexus database. Finally, a small number of institutions were added based on complementary discussions with experts on climate-energy overlaps.Footnote 2
3.2.2 Data Analysis
The data we retrieved for the selected institutions includes: name of institution, starting year, membership data, governance functions, and thematic focus. Based thereon, the mappings of the climate-energy nexus and the subfields can be illustrated in various ways. First, we started with a timeline demonstrating how, when, and in which context the institutional complex governing the climate-energy nexus emerged.
Second, for an overview of the institutional complex and the subfields, we used a heuristic framework developed by Abbott and Snidal (Reference Abbott and Snidal2009a; Reference Abbott and Snidal2009b; Abbott Reference Abbott2012) for mapping global governance architectures, called ‘governance triangle’. We situated the institutions from our database in the governance triangle according to their membership, i.e. the type of their constituent actors: public, firm, and/or civil society organization (CSO). The public category includes individual states (or their governmental agencies, respectively), groups of states, international organizations (IOs), cities, or regions. The firm category comprises (groups of) firms, industry associations, and investors. Finally, CSOs include nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), other organizations that represent civil society, and networks and coalitions of CSOs. Based on the three actor categories, the governance triangle is divided into seven zones. Institutions in zones 1–3, the vertex zones, are constituted by a single type of actor. Those in zones 4–6, the quadrilateral zones, include two types of actors. Finally, the institutions in the central zone 7 are those that involve all three types, also called multi-stakeholder institutions. In the respective triangles that follow in this chapter, we will also use greyscale to mark these different actor patterns.
Third, for each institution in the dataset we collected membership data using a methodology developed by the CONNECT project (Widerberg et al. Reference Widerberg, Pattberg and Kristensen2016). Members are defined as ‘actors with the formal position to influence the rules, norms, operations or performance of an institution’ (Widerberg et al. Reference Widerberg, Pattberg and Kristensen2016, 19). Moreover, they may gain benefits from their membership through access to their institution’s network, and due to material, reputational, or other types of benefits that the institution is expected to yield. On the other hand, we excluded ‘supporting’ organizations or countries from the dataset. These could be organizations that merely support an institution’s values, rules, norms, or mission by way of a public statement or endorsement. Moreover, we only accounted for collective actors such as countries, companies, cities, regions, or NGOs as members, i.e. not their individual representatives.
To tackle further ambiguities, we used four rules when collecting the membership data. First, for institutions engaging in pledges and commitments, only the organizing or lead institutions have been included (e.g. DivestInvest). Second, for institutions engaged in certifications and registries, we only considered those organizations with the power to hand out or change the certificates as well as those collecting the data for the registries (e.g. Gold Standard). Third, in cases where we have not been able to establish authority due to a networked mode of governance (e.g. in city networks) we treated all participants as members (e.g. Covenant of Mayors). Fourth, for institutions where a member may join a decision-making body, such as the steering committee or board of directors, all members with such privileges have been included (e.g. International Emissions Trading Association).
The membership data we gathered, based on these rules and criteria, enabled us to explore in more detail who the key actors in the climate-energy nexus are. We summarized these in a network diagram (see Section 126.96.36.199), with nodes representing institutions and members and edges indicating which members are shared among the institutions. This type of visualization highlights which institutions are central and which countries are best connected in terms of membership.
Fourth, another form of visualization, the governance decagon, displays the governance functions that individual institutions perform. The decagon is divided into ten segments representing four different governance functions, which were also introduced in Chapter 2, and combinations of these. The governance function ‘standards and commitments’ refers to rule-making and implementation schemes, involving mandatory compliance, standards for measurements and disclosure, and voluntary and private standards and commitments. The function ‘operational activities’ comprises, for example, technology research and development, pilot projects, demonstration and deployment activities, skills enhancement, and best practices. The ‘information and networking’ governance function encompasses information-sharing forums and networking, such as technical consulting, training, and information services to build capacity, share knowledge, and support local governments. Finally, the governance function ‘financing’ refers to any operational activities that involve financing schemes. A number of institutions employ more than two governance functions, but for the purpose of clarity the decagon is restricted to two functions per institution. In such cases, the authors had to make a final call on how the institutions should be classified, often based on a judgement of which governance functions appear dominant, while additional governance functions may be elaborated on in the analyses of Chapters 4–6.
Finally, after compiling and evaluating the dataset, we determined for each institution individually which thematic focus is most relevant. After studying the institutions’ websites, we distinguished eight foci: (1) increasing the uptake of renewable energy; (2) pricing and trading of carbon emissions; (3) reforming harmful fossil fuel subsidies; (3) improving energy efficiency; (4) expanding worldwide access to low-carbon energy (services); (5) financing climate mitigation actions and decarbonizing investments; (7) developing low or zero carbon technologies; and (8) transitioning toward clean fuels in the transport sector. The institutions that govern toward these thematic foci form the three subfields that we scrutinize in this volume (renewable energy, fossil fuel subsidy reform, and carbon pricing), and five additional ones in the climate-energy nexus. These subfields should not be considered as silos: first, since institutions can address multiple thematic foci, and second, these thematic foci are crosscutting. For example, clean technologies can include fuel-efficient engines for the transport sector, and financing mechanisms may be designed to make clean cooking appliances accessible. As a consequence, subfields in the climate-energy nexus can show overlaps in terms of institutions.
3.3 Three Subfields of the Climate-Energy Nexus: Renewable Energy, Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform, and Carbon Pricing
Various themes and activities fall into the intersection of the climate and energy domains, for instance promoting energy efficiency and respective technologies, contributing to worldwide access to renewable and low-carbon energy, and introducing non-fossil fuels in the transport sector. The institutions centred around these and other thematic foci constitute various subfields within the institutional complex for the climate-energy nexus. The three subsequent chapters of this volume put particular emphasis on three of these subfields and analyze them at the meso and micro levels: renewable energy, fossil fuel subsidy reform, and carbon pricing. In what follows, we briefly introduce these three subfields and outline some of the key institutions therein.
The subfield focusing on renewable energy comprises institutions that support uptake, installation, technologies, and information-sharing on renewable energy (see Sanderink, Chapter 4). Renewables play a significant role in the world’s trajectory to sustainable development. An enhanced uptake helps to alleviate the increasing scarcity of energy sources and reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. The growing renewable energy sector is also highly compatible with decentralized and small-scale deployment efforts to expand energy access. Yet, despite environmental concerns raised in the early 1990s (e.g. UNCED 1992), it was not until the turn of the millennium that renewable energy started to receive increased attention (Röhrkasten Reference Röhrkasten2015). UN work on renewable energy remains weakly developed, and, arguably as a result, a series of institutions on this topic have emerged outside the UN framework. Important intergovernmental institutions are the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the International Energy Agency (IEA). Additionally, a range of multi-stakeholder partnerships were established, such as the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP) and the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21). Moreover, minilateral institutions such as the G8 and G20 are seen as key in promoting renewables (e.g. Florini and Sovacool Reference Florini and Sovacool2009; Colgan and Van de Graaf Reference Colgan and Van de Graaf2014).
The second subfield under scrutiny in this volume consists of institutions that support the reform of harmful fossil fuel subsidies. Fossil fuels are still heavily subsidized around the globe and therefore remain highly competitive, with respective infrastructures kept in place. Yet, the urgency of reforms has been increasingly recognized (see Verkuijl and van Asselt, Chapter 5). Research shows that removing fossil fuel subsidies connected to consumption in twenty-seven countries between 2013 and 2020 would lead to an 8 per cent reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions (Burniaux and Chateau Reference Burniaux and Chateau2014). International cooperation efforts play an important role in worldwide fossil fuel subsidy reform, and can be traced back to the G20 summit in Pittsburgh in 2009. The meeting led to a first international commitment to address fossil fuel subsidies (G20 2009), closely followed by a similar pledge by twenty-one members of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) (APEC 2009). Subsequently, several additional institutions became active in the field such as the IEA, Friends of Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform (Friends), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the Global Subsidies Initiative (GSI).
Finally, the third subfield consists of institutions that aim at putting a price on carbon, facilitating a trade system, and providing a system for offsetting emissions. Putting a price on carbon is seen as a fundamental solution to climate change (e.g. Sterner and Coria Reference Sterner and Coria2011; Tol Reference Tol2011). This argument rests upon the idea that climate change is best addressed by creating an incentive for individuals to reduce emissions with the help of a price signal (see Skovgaard and Canavan, Chapter 6). Carbon taxes, emission trading systems, and mechanisms to offset emissions are well-known examples of these market-based instruments. The first signs of this market-based approach can be traced back to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which introduced the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), enabling countries to trade emission-reduction credits they had earned through respective projects in developing countries. This early mechanism notwithstanding, most institutions were established after 2007. Important institutions led by public actors are the International Carbon Action Partnership (ICAP) and the Partnership for Market Readiness (PMR). In addition, carbon pricing involves key private institutions, such as the Gold Standard, and public–private cooperation efforts, for instance the Networked Carbon Markets Initiative (NCM).
Having introduced the thematic foci that are at the intersection of both the climate change and energy issue areas, the next sections will discuss the mappings and analyses of the institutional complex governing the climate-energy nexus at the macro level, and the three subfields at the meso level.
3.4 Analyzing the Institutional Complex (Macro Level)
This section presents and discusses our findings on the institutional complex governing the climate-energy nexus at the macro level.Footnote 3
3.4.1 Starting Year
Figure 3.1 shows the increase of institutions addressing climate and energy issues from 1954 to 2016. The dark grey lines represent new institutions per year, while the light grey line shows the cumulative trend.
The oldest institution, and the only one established in the 1950s, is the International Solar Energy Society (ISES), which demonstrates the long history of knowledge on this energy source. Thereafter, it took until the early 1970s for new institutions to emerge and to address the climate-energy nexus. At first glance it seems as if this trend is related to the UN Conference on the Human Environment that took place in 1972 in Stockholm. However, closer inspection shows that these are institutions that were initially established in response to the oil crises in 1970s, which then gradually expanded their activities in light of international climate negotiations in the 1990s. Thereafter, a number of institutions were founded around 1992 when the UN Earth Summit took place in Rio de Janeiro and the UNFCCC was agreed upon. From that point onwards, the graph shows a steep increase in institutions for the following twenty years, and again around 2015, in parallel to the run-up to Agenda 2030 and its SDGs.
The next subsections are based on membership data. They provide an overview of the overall institutional complex while distinguishing membership types and describing in more detail the distribution and connectedness of institutions and its members.
188.8.131.52 Membership Types per Institution
The institutional complex governing the climate-energy nexus is presented in Figure 3.2. The governance triangle provides insights on the amount of active institutions and the different forms of governance in the institutional complex of the climate-energy nexus. For this constantly changing complex, it provides a snapshot as of January 2017, when the final cut for mapping was done. The figure structures the different institutions according to their constituting types of actors.
The snapshot of the institutional complex governing the climate-energy nexus comprises 108 institutions. Public agencies are involved in seventy-eight institutions (72 per cent) and exclusively in forty-eight of them (44 per cent) (zone 1). Well-known examples of institutions constituted by solely public actors are the UNFCCC, the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM), and the IEA. Other, less familiar institutions that fall into zone 1 are, for instance, the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI) and the International Network on Gender and Sustainable Energy (ENERGIA), which both seek to enhance worldwide access to sustainable energy (AREI 2018; ENERGIA 2018).
Private actors are involved in sixty institutions (56 per cent) and the exclusively private tier (zone 2, 3 and 6) includes a total of thirty institutions (28 per cent). The first core type of private actors, denoted as ‘firm’ in the figure, i.e. (groups of) firms, investors, and industry associations, are part of fifty-one institutions (47 per cent). Seventeen of these are exclusively constituted by such firm actors, for example the Climate and Energy Cluster of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD_E&C), which facilitates the sharing of best practices concerning cutting-edge climate and energy topics between its members (WBCSD 2018). The second main type of private actors – NGOs and other organizations representing civil society – are involved in 35 institutions (32 per cent), of which seven are exclusively formed by such CSOs. One example for the latter is the Go Fossil Free (GFF) campaign, committed to a fossil-free society (GFF 2018). Both private actor types, firms and CSOs, cooperate in six institutions, for example in the Global Solar Council (GSC) to promote the uptake of solar energy (GSC 2018).
Public and private actors join forces in the ‘hybrid’ zones (4, 5, and 7), in which thirty institutions (28 per cent) are situated. These include collaborations between public actors and firms (8), such as the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition (CPLC), and cooperative efforts between public actors and CSOs (2), for instance the Global Fuel Economy Initiative (GFEI). This leaves the majority of hybrid institutions (20) to be multi-stakeholder partnerships in which all actor types are included, such as the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves (GACC) and Energy for Impact (E4I).
184.108.40.206 Membership Distribution
This subsection examines the membership directories of the individual institutions. Actors are considered members when they have a formal position to influence the rules, norms, operations, and performances of an institution (see Section 3.2.2).Footnote 4 The membership data provides insights into the degree of involvement of different actor types across the entire institutional complex as well as per zone in the governance triangle and enables us to explore the level of connectedness between institutions and respective members.
The result of the membership data collection is a total of 13,812 members in the climate-energy nexus (as of January 2017).Footnote 5 The number of unique members is 12,241, as one actor can be a member of two or more institutions. There are major differences in the number of members between the institutions; for instance, ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability) has 1,156 members, whereas the Western Climate Initiative (WCI) has ‘only’ 4. Furthermore, there exist differences in the numbers of members per type of actor, as shown in Figure 3.3. Cities are by far the best-represented type of member, followed by firms and NGOs. The remaining categories are much less prominent.
The distribution of members is reflected in the size of each zone. Figure 3.4 shows the number of members and institutions in each zone. The figure suggests that zone 1 (public) is by far the largest zone, followed by zone 7 (multi-stakeholder), in terms of number of institutions as well as the number of members. Note that the member categories ‘state’ and ‘government agency’ have been merged since it could be argued that government agencies are acting in the name of the state. Moreover, the European Union has been added as it has competency within climate change issues to engage in international treaties on behalf of its member states.
Based on the membership data, it is possible to explore in more detail who the main actors are in addressing the climate-energy nexus. One possibility to depict the centrality of certain actors is a network diagram. We applied this tool for the actor type of states and show the resulting graph in Figure 3.5. The network diagram highlights how the climate-energy nexus consists of a highly interconnected group of actors and institutions. The white nodes represent institutions, whereas the black nodes represent countries. The three central institutions are the UNFCCC, the Kyoto Protocol, and IRENA. The best-connected countries in terms of membership are (in descending order) Germany, the United States, European Union, United Kingdom, Mexico, Norway, China, France, Indonesia and Japan.
3.4.3 Governance Functions
The institutional complex of the climate-energy nexus can also be visualized based on the governance functions of the active institutions. This is displayed in the governance decagon for the climate-energy nexus in Figure 3.6.
‘Information and networking’ is by far the most common governance function, with thirty-nine occurrences. This implies that most institutions focus on conducting research and publishing reports and/or on organizing meetings and conferences to facilitate the sharing of this knowledge and expertise. One example is IRENA, which serves as a centre of excellence, and a repository of policy, technology, resource, and financial knowledge on renewable energy (IRENA 2018). The second most common governance functions is the combination of ‘information and networking’ and ‘operational’ activities, which we found for twenty-seven institutions. This implies that a high number of institutions concentrate on implementing programmes and projects on the ground in addition to sharing information, such as the IEA, which, besides providing authoritative analyses for the full spectrum of energy issues, organizes training and capacity-building workshops (IEA 2018). Furthermore, nineteen institutions focus on ‘standards and commitments’ and eight are combining ‘standards and commitments’ with ‘information and networking’. Hence, there is a fair share of institutions that seek to introduce rule-making and implementation schemes, such as the RE100 initiative, which unites private actors committed to 100 per cent renewable electricity (RE100 2018). No institution combines the roles of ‘standards and commitments’ and ‘financing’, or ‘operational’ and ‘financing’.
Whereas the governance triangle displays a high degree of institutional complexity, particularly in terms of number of institutions, the decagon shows that there is, on top of that, an uneven distribution of the institutions across the governance functions. Table 3.1 summarizes the findings depicted in Figures 3.2 and 3.6, and combines information on membership and governance functions per institution.
|Zone||Standards & Commitments||Operational||Information & Networking||Financing||Standards & Commitments + Operational||Operational + Information & Networking||Information & Networking + Financing||Standards & Commitments + Information & Networking||Standards & Commitments + Financing||Operational + Financing||Total (Zone)||%|
What can be derived from the table is that the governance function ‘standards and commitments’ is as much performed by private institutions as by public institutions, while the responsibility for ‘information and networking’ lies mostly with public institutions. This is in contradiction to the general presumption that public institutions are the ones to set the rules, while private institutions are to perform informal functions, i.e. networking and raising awareness.
3.4.4 Thematic Focus
Next, we describe the distribution of the institutions in more detail according to their thematic focus by means of the chart in Figure 3.7. The figure highlights important themes at the intersection of climate and energy governance, and the varying degrees of representation, and arguably significance, in terms of institutions.
Most institutions in the climate-energy nexus address several themes and respective goals at the same time to tackle climate and energy challenges. For example, ICLEI, uniting local governments for sustainability, is engaged in energy-efficient city agendas, eco-mobility, and low-carbon development (ICLEI 2018). In addition, many institutions in the institutional complex specifically target increasing the uptake of renewables, such as IRENA and RE100, or transportation modes, such as the Climate Action Takes Flight (CATF) initiative and the Global Green Freight Action Plan (GGFAP). Carbon pricing and trading, and energy efficiency, are the fourth and fifth most preferred themes. Examples of institutions that focus on these two themes are, respectively, CPLC and the International Partnership for Energy Efficiency Cooperation (IPEEC).
As alluded to in Section 3.2.2, the subfields that address these thematic foci should not be seen as silos, but can show overlaps in terms of institutions. First, several institutions focus on ‘multiple themes’, for instance renewable energy and subsidy reform specifically, and are therefore situated in the two respective subfields. Second, various institutions address a crosscutting theme, for example climate mitigation finance for implementing energy efficiency measures, and are therefore part of both the climate mitigation finance and energy efficiency subfields. Hence, the numbers in Figure 3.7 do not coincide with the mappings of the subfields that are scrutinized in Section 3.5 and the subsequent chapters. However, the figure does provide first insights into the subfields’ varying degrees of institutional complexity. Whereas the uptake of renewables is addressed by a high number of institutions, fossil fuel subsidy reform is governed by only a few; meanwhile, the number of institutions on carbon pricing and trading is at the centre of this continuum.
Besides the high number of institutions involved in governing the climate-energy nexus, we found a high degree of diversity among these institutions. Institutions constituted by public actors are dominant, although private actors also contribute significantly as the high number of private and multi-stakeholder institutions indicates. Thus, while much scholarly attention has shifted toward transnational global governance, including nonstate and sub-national actors on climate change, energy, and other environmental issues (e.g. Goldthau Reference Goldthau2012; Bulkeley et al. Reference Bulkeley, Andonova, Betsill, Compagnon, Hale, Hoffmann, Newell, Paterson, Roger and VanDeveer2014; and Hsu et al. Reference Hsu, Widerberg, Weinfurter, Chan, Roelfsema, Lütkehermöller and Bakhtiari2018), our mapping suggests that state governments and other public agencies retain formal authority in the climate-energy nexus (Jordan et al. Reference Jordan, Huitema, Hildén, van Asselt, Rayner, Schoenefeld, Tosun, Forster and Boasson2015).
Analyzing the membership data in more detail further substantiates the dominant role played by (inter)governmental entities. Cities are by far the most represented actor type and, together with other public actors, they occupy more than three-quarters of the entire institutional complex, clearly outmatching the presence of businesses, NGOs, research organizations, investors, and other private actors. Furthermore, the network diagram on states and institutions (figure 3.5) highlights the UNFCCC, Kyoto Protocol, and IRENA as the central institutions which may be explained by the high degree of universality and inclusiveness of these three intergovernmental institutions. The diagram additionally unveils that not only Western (European) countries are of key importance in governing the climate-energy nexus, but that countries such as China, Mexico, and Indonesia are equally involved.
Moreover, there is no clear division of labour among institutions in terms of governance functions, even though all are covered within the nexus. The institutional complex is dominated by institutions that share information and facilitate networking opportunities, and there is a fair share of institutions that implement projects and programmes to have an impact on the ground. By contrast, standard-setting and financing functions are performed by a smaller sample of institutions. These findings illustrate that, within the climate-energy nexus, private institutions do not shy away from setting standards, while public institutions predominantly perform informal functions. Further studies have to show whether this uneven distribution of governance functions has implications for the performance of the institutional complex of the nexus as a whole, i.e. at the macro level.
Furthermore, the examination of key themes at the intersection of climate and energy governance provides interesting first insights into the subfields of the climate-energy nexus. First and foremost, there is a high number of institutions focusing on multiple themes, which suggests that there are many overlapping institutions among the subfields, an issue that will be explored in subsequent chapters. Second, the degree of institutional complexity appears to vary across the subfields. The numbers of institutions addressing the respective thematic foci suggest that the subfield for renewable energy is most densely populated, whereas the subfield for fossil fuel subsidy reform consists of only a few institutions. Given that carbon pricing is in the middle of this continuum, the three subfields covered in the book provide a useful variation for the analyses in Chapters 4–6 and the comparative study in Chapter 8.
In sum, over the past twenty-five years the institutions governing the climate-energy nexus evolved into a densely populated complex dominated mostly by public actors, in which governance functions are unevenly spread, and the degree of complexity varies considerably across the subfields.
3.5 Analyzing the Subfields: Renewable Energy, Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform, and Carbon Pricing (Meso Level)
This section describes and analyzes those institutions that, exclusively or as one of their multiple foci, address one of the three subfields of the climate-energy nexus covered in the book. To illustrate the three meso-level institutional complexes, similar figures are used as in the previous section: the governance triangle providing insights on the types of actors involved, and the governance decagon displaying the governance functions of the individual institutions. Like in the previous section, the illustrations are snapshots of the subfields as of January 2017.
3.5.1 Renewable Energy
Figure 3.8 presents the governance triangle for the institutions that aim to promote the uptake of renewables globally. The institutional complex comprises forty-six institutions, making the renewable energy subfield the largest within the climate-energy nexus. Nineteen of these institutions focus exclusively on renewable energy, while for the remaining number renewables are but one part of their portfolio.
Most institutions within the governance triangle are constituted by public actors, including (groups of) states, international organizations, cities, and regions. These actors are involved in thirty-eight institutions, of which twenty-eight are purely public (zone 1). Widely known examples of the latter are IRENA and the IEA, while less familiar ones are, for instance, Energy Cities (EN_CITIES) and the International Solar Cities Initiative (ISCI), both involving local authorities committed to facilitating energy transitions.
Private actors engage in eighteen institutions while the exclusively private tier (zone 2, 3, and 6) counts ten institutions. (Groups of) firms, investors, and industry associations take part in seventeen institutions (37 per cent), of which four are purely firm-based. These include, among others, the Carbon Neutral Protocol (CNP), which provides instruments to achieve carbon neutrality such as renewable energy certificates (CNP 2018). The third main category of actors, NGOs and other CSOs, is involved in thirteen institutions (28 per cent), of which two exclusively include CSOs. One example is the International Network for Sustainable Energy (INFORSE), which constitutes a network of NGOs working on sustainable energy solutions (INFORSE 2018). On top of that, different types of firm and CSO actors join forces in three institutions: GSC, RE100, and ISES.
Public and private actors unite in the ‘hybrid’ zones (zones 4, 5, and 7) through eight institutions (17 per cent), of which seven are multi-stakeholder partnerships, including all three types of actors. Well-known multi-stakeholder partnerships are Sustainable Energy for All (SEFORALL) and REN21, which are committed to, respectively, substantially increasing the uptake of renewables by 2030 in accordance to the SDG 7 target, and to connecting stakeholders to facilitate joint action toward a global transition to renewables (SEforALL 2018; REN21 2018). Finally, the one institution in which public actors partner up with firm-based actors is the Low Carbon Technology Partnerships initiative (LCTPI). This is a partnership between the WBCSD, the IEA, and the UN’s Sustainable Development Solutions Network. Its REscale programme brings together energy and technology companies who aim to accelerate the deployment of renewables (LCTPi 2018).
The governance decagon in Figure 3.9 highlights the governance functions of the individual institutions. Most of them (17) govern through ‘information and networking’ and ‘operational’ activities simultaneously, for example Regions for Climate Action (R20), which combines informing and supporting climate-resilient project development (R20 2018). Fifteen institutions solely concentrate on ‘information and networking’ (15). For instance, it is the primary function of REN21 to inform the international community on the status of renewable energy (REN21 2018). In addition, there are eight institutions that set ‘standards and commitments’. One example is the Roundtable for Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB), which provides a certification scheme supporting the development of a sustainable bioeconomy (RSB 2018). Only three institutions focus on developing and providing ‘financing’ mechanisms, including REEEP, which aims to strengthen markets for clean energy in low- and middle-income countries (REEEP 2018).
Finally, all other fields are at best filled with one institution. The Baltic Sea Region Energy Cooperation (BASREC) prefers ‘operational’ practices, AREI combines ‘operational’ activities with the development of ‘financing’ mechanisms, and the Africa-EU Renewable Energy Cooperation Program (RECP) facilitates ‘information and networking’ in addition to developing ‘financing’ mechanisms.
3.5.2 Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform
The governance triangle in Figure 3.10 displays which types of actors take part in institutions that work toward removing harmful fossil fuel subsidies. The institutional complex comprises only a small number of institutions (six), with half of these addressing subsidy reform as their main priority.
Clearly, the largest share of institutions (five) has exclusively public membership, including some of the leading institutions in the climate-energy nexus: the UNFCCC, Friends, IEA, the G20 Subsidy Reform, and the APEC Energy Working Group. Only one institution is constituted by firms, namely GSI. This initiative is led by the International Institute for Sustainable Development, and supports international processes, national governments, and CSOs to align subsidies with sustainable development (IISD 2018).
The governance functions of the six institutions are visualized in Figure 3.11. It shows that ‘information and networking’ is the predominant way in which institutions on fossil fuel subsidy reform operate. No less than four of the six institutions adhere to this governance function. These include the IEA, Friends, APEC Energy Working Group, and G20 Subsidy Reform, which broadly focus on sharing information and organizing events to convince their members and the wider community of the urgency to reform fossil fuel subsidies. The remaining two institutions concentrate on standard-setting for this subfield (UNFCCC) and, respectively, ‘information and networking’ in combination with ‘operational’ activities (GSI).
3.5.3 Carbon Pricing
The governance triangle in Figure 3.12 includes all institutions in the climate-energy nexus dataset that aim at putting a price on carbon, facilitating a carbon trade scheme, or providing a system for offsetting emissions. The institutional complex comprises fifteen individual institutions.Footnote 6 Of these, thirteen focus exclusively on carbon pricing.
Most institutions fall exclusively either into the public arena or the firm sector. Concretely, six institutions are constituted by (groups of) states, cities, and regions, for example, the WCI that supports the implementation of emissions-trading programmes, and PMR that offers country-specific guidance on Emissions Trading Registries (WCI 2018; PMR 2018). Six others count solely (groups of) firms, investors, and industry associations as their members. These include, for instance, the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS, recently renamed to VERRA), a voluntary programme for certifying emission-reduction projects, and the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA), which aims at establishing effective market-based trading systems for greenhouse gas emissions (IETA 2018; VERRA 2018). Finally, three institutions represent hybrid efforts. These include the UN Global Compact Caring for Climate (C4C) and CPLC, which consist of firms and public actors, and NCM, which is the only institution in this subfield that exhibits all three types of actors.
Figure 3.13 presents the governance decagon for the carbon pricing subfield, depicting the governance functions performed by each institution. Unlike the previous figures for renewable energy and fossil fuel subsidy reform, the main governance function for this subfield is setting ‘standards and commitments’ (by seven institutions). While the VCS and the CNP have established standards to certify emission reductions, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) provides a mechanism to offset carbon emissions for the aviation sector (IATA 2018). ‘Information and networking’ is performed by four institutions, for example by ICAP, which connects countries, subnational, and supranational entities that either have established carbon markets or plan to do so (ICAP 2018). In addition, PMR and the Small Island Developing States Sustainable Energy Initiative (SIDS_DOCK) combine ‘information and networking’ with the development of ‘financing’ mechanisms. Finally, WCI falls into the category ‘operational’ as it provides administrative and technical services supporting the implementation of emissions-trading programmes.
Having scrutinized the three subfields for renewable energy, fossil fuel subsidy reform, and carbon pricing, we arrive at interesting first insights on each of the institutional complexes. One key observation concerns regards the varying degrees of institutional complexity across the subfields.
The highest degree of complexity was found for the renewable energy subfield, in terms of the number of institutions, but also, as this section has shown, regarding memberships and governance functions. The subfield includes a wide range of public and private actors, while public institutions dominate. All governance functions are addressed, while the main emphasis is laid on information-sharing, networking, and operational activities. Moreover, the subfield shows characteristics similar to the overall institutional complex addressing the climate-energy nexus – which is clearly related to the fact that the subfield of renewable energy is constituted by almost half of the institutions in the entire dataset.
The lowest degree of complexity, in turn, was found in the fossil fuel subsidy reform subfield: there are only seven institutions, of which six are exclusively public, and information and networking is the dominant instrument to govern subsidy reform. This said, it is important to consider other institutions as well. These have not been included in this chapter’s dataset, since they do not fit our selection criteria (Section 3.2.1). This is mostly due to their chief thematic foci that divert from, or go beyond, the climate and energy domains. Examples are the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the IMF. To complete the picture, these institutions are included and elaborated on in Chapter 5, which provides an in-depth analysis of the subfield.
In the middle of the continuum is the carbon pricing subfield, not solely with regard to the number and types of institutions involved, but also in terms of the governance functions they perform. The subfield features a balance of exclusively public institutions and purely private institutions. Furthermore, carbon pricing is predominantly governed through setting standards and commitment. This mostly includes certification schemes for emission reductions and carbon offsetting. Finally, we found an important distinction between institutions that aim to establish prerequisites for a carbon market and those that focus on existing ones. For instance, SIDS_DOCK, an alliance between small island states, assists its members in connecting national energy sectors to EU and US carbon markets, but it does not facilitate carbon pricing, trading, or offsetting itself. As a result, this creates a discrepancy between the dataset included in this chapter and the cases studied in Chapter 6.
Furthermore, it is of interest to examine overlapping institutions across the three subfields and to what extent these represent thematic overlaps. Fossil fuel subsidy reform inherently supports the uptake of renewable energy; when harmful subsidies are removed, fossil fuels make way for renewables. Nevertheless, the fossil fuel subsidy reform and renewable energy subfields share only two institutions: the APEC Energy Working Group and the IEA, which are both intergovernmental cooperation efforts addressing energy issues in the broadest sense. Similarly, while putting a price on carbon provides an incentive to shift to renewable energy, only the CNP is an overlapping institution bridging both subfields. Finally, the one institution shared by all three subfields, and therewith providing the only connection between the fossil fuel subsidy reform and carbon pricing subfields, is the UNFCCC. This suggests that the central role of the UNFCCC regime is not restricted to global climate change governance, but transcends well into global energy governance as a major hub targeting the low-carbon transformation of energy systems.
The Paris Agreement and Agenda 2030, and particularly SDG 7 to ensure sustainable energy for all, highlight the importance of an effective and integrated approach to the interconnected climate and energy challenges. While existing studies have provided insights into the institutional complexity of either global climate or energy governance, governance scholars had yet to uncover the institutional complex addressing the nexus between both domains. Against this backdrop, this chapter first identified and mapped the macro level of this nexus, i.e. all institutions that address climate and energy challenges simultaneously. Furthermore, the chapter zoomed in on the institutions that constitute three subfields at the meso level: renewable energy, fossil fuel subsidy reform, and carbon pricing.
The climate-energy nexus can be characterised as institutionally complex, reflecting the past twenty-five years of intense discussions in the international community on both challenges and sustainable development more broadly. This chapter conveyed and analyzed this complexity in various ways. The climate-energy nexus involves a high number of very different institutions – with a strong presence of exclusively public institutions, while private actors contribute significantly through a fair share of private and multi-stakeholder institutions. Membership data further substantiates the dominance of public actors, and cities particularly. Second, even though all governance functions are performed across the institutional complex, there appears to be a strong focus on information and networking, and operational activities to some extent, while only a minority of institutions in the nexus focus on standards and commitments and financing mechanisms. Finally, while most institutions target various themes and activities, most attention is directed toward the uptake of renewables, transforming the transport sector, carbon pricing, and increasing energy efficiency.
Delving into the selected subfields at the meso level provided first insights on the differences and commonalities across the three respective complexes. The renewable energy subfield has the highest concentration of public, private, and hybrid institutions, which focus mostly on information-sharing and networking. On the other end, the subfield of fossil fuel subsidy reform is sparsely populated and marked by a prevalence of public institutions, which predominantly govern through information and networking. This leaves the carbon pricing subfield at the centre of the continuum, exhibiting a balance between public and private institutions, with both camps focusing mostly on standards and commitments.
While this chapter has provided an innovative and novel mapping, it could not go into detail on the processes taking place within and across the institutional complexes. Such much-needed analyses on questions of coherence, management, legitimacy, and effectiveness in the climate-energy nexus – will be provided by the subsequent chapters of this book. The mapping serves as the empirical basis for these crucial endeavours. First, the comprehensive dataset has helped to select appropriate case studies for Chapters 4–6, which explore varying degrees of coherence and management attempts within the three subfields. Second, our chapter provides key data for evaluating the effectiveness and legitimacy of five individual institutions in Chapter 7. Finally, our findings support the comparative assessment of institutional effectiveness for the three subfields in Chapter 8, from which lessons can be drawn for the performance of the overall institutional complex governing the climate-energy nexus.
By the same token, the dataset presented in this chapter is the first step toward creating a knowledge base that can serve as a tool for policy makers, businesses, and other organizations alike. It improves our understanding of the institutional complexity that characterizes the climate-energy nexus, and guides actors to navigate the institutionally complex global climate and energy governance landscape.
3.8 Annex I: Database of Institutions in the Climate-Energy Nexus
1 The CONNECT project (1) takes stock of the existing level of fragmentation across a number of issue areas in global environmental governance, (2) explains the causes of fragmentation of global governance architectures, (3) analyzes the implications of fragmentation across different scales of governance, and finally (4) suggests policy responses to increased fragmentation. The project was funded with an NWO Innovational Research Incentives Schemes Vidi Grant and is hosted by the Environmental Policy Analysis Department at the Institute for Environmental Studies, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.
2 Complementary discussions took place at CLIMENGO project meetings. CLIMENGO is a research project that aims to map the institutional complexity of global climate and energy governance, evaluate its effectiveness and legitimacy, and develop a knowledge base for decision makers (www.climengo.eu). The experts include project members Karin Bäckstrand, Jakob Skovgaard, Harro van Asselt, and Fariborz Zelli.
3 Please consult Annexes I and II for more detailed information: Annex I provides the complete database of active institutions, including their acronyms and full names along with the data displayed in the figures (starting year, zone, membership, governance functions, and thematic focus); Annex II offers brief descriptions of each institution.
4 Discrepancies can exist between the included members and the position of the institution within the governance triangle. For example, the European Network of Transmission System Operators (ENTSOE) is placed in Zone 4. Despite all included members being companies, it is not positioned in Zone 2, because its tasks are stipulated in regulation of the European Commission, a public entity.
5 Please note that we use an error margin of +-5 per cent for possible data entry mistakes with regard to the included (number of) members. For instance, the member Palau is an island in the Western Pacific Ocean as well as a city in Italy, and can therefore be double coded. We have done our utmost to check for such duplications.
6 VER+ is, at the time of writing, no longer operative, but still included in the dataset, for which the final cut was made in January 2017.