Energy Efficiency

, 2:339

Global energy efficiency governance in the context of climate politics



This paper argues that energy efficiency and conservation is a noncontroversial, critical, and equitable option for rich and poor alike. Although there is growing scientific and political consensus on its significance as an important option at global and national level, the political momentum for taking action is not commensurate with the potential in the sector or the urgency with which measures need to be taken to deal with climate change. The current global energy (efficiency) governance framework is diffuse. This paper submits that there are four substantive reasons why global governance should play a complementary role in promoting energy efficiency worldwide. Furthermore, given that market mechanisms are unable to rapidly mobilize energy efficiency projects and that there are no clear vested interests in this field which involves a large number of actors, there is need for a dedicated agency to promote energy efficiency and conservation. This paper provides an overview of energy efficiency options presented by IPCC, the current energy efficiency governance structure at global level, and efforts taken at supranational and national levels, and makes suggestions for a governance framework.


Energy efficiency Governance Policy instruments 


  1. Agenda 21 (1992). UN Document, A/Conf.151/26Google Scholar
  2. Araujo, J. L. R. H., and Oliveira, A. (2004). Brazilian Energy Policy: Changing Course? Oil, Gas and Energy Law Intelligence—OGEL,, v. 02, n. 03, 2004.
  3. Babu, N., and Michaelowa, A. (2003). Removing Barriers for Renewable Energy CDM Projects in India and Building Capacity at the State Level. HWWA Discussion Paper 247. Hamburg Institute of International Economics, Hamburg, Germany.Google Scholar
  4. Bassi, S. (2008). Introduction and Technical Overview of Energy Conservation Building Code for India, Presentation at ICLEI South Asia Workshop on Energy Efficient Buildings in Chennai on 23 May 2008.Google Scholar
  5. Bradford, C. I. Jr. (2007). “World Energy Needs, Climate Change & Global Governance Innovation” Paper presented on the Simposium on “Breaking Global Deadlocks”, CGS, Canada.Google Scholar
  6. CEC (2006). GREEN PAPER: A European Strategy for Sustainable, Competitive and Secure Energy, Brussels, 8.3.2006, COM(2006) 105 final.Google Scholar
  7. CEC (2007). Regulation No 2422/2001 on a Community energy efficiency labelling programme for office equipment, Brussels, 2007Google Scholar
  8. De Tarso, P. (2006). “Energy Efficiency in Brazil”, Paper, Ministry of Mines and Energy, Campinos, November 27.Google Scholar
  9. Dellapenna, J., & Gupta, J. (2008). Toward global law on water. Global Governance, 15(4), 437–453.Google Scholar
  10. Dernbach, J. C. (2007). “Energy efficiency and Conservation as Ethical Responsibilities: Suggestions for IPCC Working Group III” Widener University, School of Law. Available at SSRN: 1089423
  11. Dossani, R. (2004). Reorganizing the power distribution sector in India. Energy Policy, 32(11), 1277–1289.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. EC (2007). Council of the European Union. Brussels European Council, 8/9 March 2007, 7224/1/07Google Scholar
  13. ECCP (2005). The European Climate Change Programme; see
  14. Energy Charter (1991). Concluding Document of the Hague Conference on the European Energy Charter, 1991, available at
  15. Energy Charter Treaty (1994). The Energy Charter Treaty, Available at http://
  16. Fink, M., & Cramer, A. (2008). Towards implementation of the world commission on dams recommendations. In W. Scheumann, S. Neubert, & M. Kipping (Eds.), Water Politics and Development Cooperation: Local Power Plays and Global Governance (pp. 33–54). Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  17. Fisher-Vanden, K., Jefferson, G. H., Liu, H., & Tao, Q. (2004). What is driving China’s decline in energy intensity? Resource and Energy Economics, 26, 77–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Geller, M., Schaeffer, R., Szclo, A., & Tolmaswquin, M. (2004). Policies for advancing energy efficiency and renewable energy use in Brazil. In Energy Policy, 32(12), 1437–1450, August.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. GOC (2007). China’s National Climate Change Programme. Beijing: National Development and Reform Commission of the Peoples’ Republic of China.Google Scholar
  20. GoI (2001). Blueprint for power sector development. New Delhi: Ministry of Power, Government of India.Google Scholar
  21. GoI (2004). Opportunities & Policy Challenges for Investment in India. Background Paper. OECD India Investment Roundtable. New Delhi: Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India.Google Scholar
  22. Goldthau, A. (2008). Preventing the Perfect Storm: How to Reform the Institutional Architecture of Global Energy Supply. FACET Commentary, (10):1–3.Google Scholar
  23. Goldthau, A., and Witte, J. M. (2008). Global Energy Governance: New Trends, New Actors, New Rules, Internationale Politik, pp. 46–54Google Scholar
  24. Gomes Pinto Garcia, A., Szklo, A. S., Schaeffer, R., & McNeil, M. A. (2007). Energy efficiency standards for electric motors in Brazilian industry. Energy Policy, 35(6), 3424–3439.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Gupta, J. (2001). India and climate change policy: between diplomatic defensiveness and industrial transformation. Energy and Environment, 12(2&3), 217–236.Google Scholar
  26. Gupta, J. (2008). (on behalf of Li Ming and Onno Kuik). Will CDM in China make a Difference?, IHDP Conference, Berlin Conference on the Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change International Conference of the Social-Ecological Research Programme on Long-Term Policies: Governing Social-Ecological Change, Berlin, 22–23 Feb 2008.Google Scholar
  27. Gupta, J., Vlasblom and Kroeze, C. (eds.) with contributions from Blok, K., Hisschemoller, M. Boudri, C. and Dorland, K. (2001). An Asian Dilemma: Modernising the electricity sector in China and India in the context of rapid economic growth and the concern for climate change. NOP report no. 410200097, NOP, RIVM, Bilthoven, The Netherlands.Google Scholar
  28. Gupta, J., van Asselt, H., Kuik, O., & Evans, C. (2007). Exogenous promotion of sustainable electricity options in India: Opportunities and challenges. Energy and Environment, 18(3&4), 403–420.Google Scholar
  29. IEA (2002). Electricity in India. Providing power to the millions. International Energy Agency/Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Paris, France.Google Scholar
  30. IEA (2006). Plus Five Countries: Energy Efficiency Indicators Project. Joint ESMAP-IEA Project Concept NoteGoogle Scholar
  31. IGEC (2005). CDM Country Guide for China, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, TokyoGoogle Scholar
  32. IPCC (2007). FAR. Working Group III Report: Mitigation of Climate Change (2007), (last visited June 12, 2008).
  33. Ivanova, A., & Angeles, M. (2006). Trade and Environment Issues in APEC. Globalization and east Asia: Opportunities and Challenges pp. 101–126. New York: The Haworth Press.Google Scholar
  34. Ivanova, A., Angeles, M. and Martinez, A. (2006). “Environmental Issues in APEC: the Case of the Latin American Economies” Heterodox Views on Economics and the Economy of Global Society, Mansholt Publication Series, The Netherlands: Wageningen Academic Publishers, 269-280.Google Scholar
  35. Klessmann, C., Graus, W., Harmelnk, M., & Geurts, F. (2007). Making Energy Efficiency Happen. From Potential to Reality. Utrecht, The Netherlands: ECOFYS&WWF.Google Scholar
  36. Kroeze, C., Vlasblom, J., Gupta, J., Boudri, C., & Blok, K. (2004). The power sector in China and India: Greenhouse gas emission reduction potential and scenarios for 1990–2020. Energy Policy, 32, 55–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Kyoto Protocol (1997). Kyoto Protocol to the Climate Change Convention (1997). 37 ILM 22.
  38. Liao, H., Fan, Y., & Wei, Y. -M. (2007). What induced China’s energy intensity to fluctuate: 1997–2006? Energy Policy, 35, 4640–4649.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Lin, J., Zhou, N., Levine, M., & Fridley, D. (2007). Taking out 1 billion tons of CO2: The magic of China’s 11th five-year plan? Energy Policy, 36, 954–970 doi:10.1016/j.enpol.2007.10.033.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Machado, F. M. (2001). “Brazilian Efforts Towards Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the Transport and in the Energy Intensive Industry” Paper, Workshop on Good Practices in Policies and Measures, October 8–10, Copenhagen.Google Scholar
  41. Marauhn, T. (2003). A global energy strategy as a viable means for redressing climate change. Heidelberg Journal of International Law, 63(2), 281–994.Google Scholar
  42. Morales, I. (2008). “Mexico’s Energy Policy Options in North America’s Continental Energy Markets”, Working Paper 119, Universidad de las Americas, Puebla, Mexico.Google Scholar
  43. NEPEG (2001). National Energy Policy Development Group, National Energy PolicY 1-3 (2001), available at
  44. North American Energy Working Group (2006). North American Energy Efficiency Standards and LabellingGoogle Scholar
  45. Osterkonn, M. (2007). “Energy Efficiency for Developing Countries. Strong policies and New Technologies”. Paper presented on Seventh Meeting of the GFSE, Vienna, November, 21–23.Google Scholar
  46. Ovalle Araiza, M. E. (2005). “Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency in México”, Paper, Energy Commission, Scotland, Edinburgh, October 8th.Google Scholar
  47. PEEREA (1994). Energy Charter Protocol on Energy Efficiency and Related Environmental Aspects. Available at
  48. Pahl-Wostl, C., Gupta, J., & Petry, D. (2008). Governance and the global water system: A theoretical exploration. Global Governance, 8(4), 419–435.Google Scholar
  49. Perkins, R. (2005). Electricity sector restructuring in India: An environmentally beneficial policy? Energy Policy, 33(4), 439–449.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Richards, M. (2003). Poverty Reduction, Equity and Climate Change: Global Governance Synergies or Contradictions. London: Overseas Development Institute.Google Scholar
  51. Scheumann, W. (2008). How Global Norms for Large Dams Reach Decision Makers. In W. Scheumann, S. Neubert, & M. Kipping (Eds.), Water Politics and Development Cooperation: Local Power Plays and Global Governance (pp. 55–80). Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  52. Schrumm, A. (2006). The energy blindspot: The absence of global energy governance in the United Nations. Queen’s International Observer, 3(2), 14–17.Google Scholar
  53. Sindico, F., & Gupta, J. (2004). Moving the climate change regime further through a hydrogen protocol. Review of European Community and International Environmental Law, 13(2), 175–186.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Srivastava, L., Gupta, J., et al. (2007). Modernising the Indian Electricity Sector p. 322. New Delhi: The Energy Research Institute Publications.Google Scholar
  55. Statute of the IAEA, (1956). available at
  56. Taylor, R. P., Govindarajalu, Ch., Levin, J., Meyer, A. S., & Ward, W. A. (2008). Financing Energy Efficiency: Lessons from Brazil, China, India and Beyond. Washington D.C.: IBRD&WB.Google Scholar
  57. Teng, F., & Gu, A. (2007). Climate change: National and local policy opportunities in China. Environmental Sciences, 4(3), 183–194.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Thakur, T., Deshmukh, S. G., Kaushik, S. C., & Kulshrestha, M. (2005). Impact assessment of the Electricity Act 2003 on the Indian power sector. Energy Policy, 33(9), 1187–1198.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. UN Energy (2005). The Energy Challenge for Achieving the Millennium Development Goals, UN Energy; available at
  60. UNCSD (2001). Report on the ninth session (5 May 2000 and 16-27 April 2001) UN Doc. E/CN.17/2001/19.Google Scholar
  61. UNFCCC (1992). United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, U.N. Doc. A/AC.237/18 (1992), reprinted in 31 I.L.M. 849 (1992).Google Scholar
  62. USDOE-IEA (2007). International Energy Outlook, Energy Information Administration, Office of Integrated Analysis and Forecasting, U.S. Department of Energy, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  63. Vennemo, H., Aunan, K., Jinghua, F., Holtedahl, P., Tao, H., & Seip, H. M. (2006). Domestic environmental benefits of China’s energy-related CDM potential. Climatic Change, 75, 215–239.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. WCED (1987). Our Common Future. The World Commission on Environment and Development. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  65. Westphal, K. (2005). Energy Security: Challenges to Global Governance, Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Studies Association, Hilton Hawaiian Village, Honolulu, Hawaii, Mar 05, 2005.Google Scholar
  66. Wettestad, J. (2000). The Complicated Development of EU Climate Policy. In J. Gupta, & M. Grubb (Eds.),Climate Change and European Leadership: A Sustainable Role for Europe, Environment and Policy Series (pp. 25–46). Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Environmental StudiesVrije Universiteit Amsterdam1081 HV AmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Autonomous University of Southern Baja CaliforniaLa PazMexico

Personalised recommendations