The Legitimation of Global Energy Governance: A Normative Exploration
Global energy governance has very limited legitimacy in the eyes of most governments. Although the concept has been starting to surface in academic papers it is still barely used in policy discussions. It is contested, almost taboo, to raise the need for international norms around energy production or consumption, although a significant step forward was taken by including energy as one of the Sustainable Development Goals proposed to the UN General Assembly. It is becoming a bit less contested to strengthen international collaboration on renewable energy and energy efficiency. Least controversial are efforts to collaborate around efforts to increase access to modern energy for those who are still deprived thereof.
In this paper I analyse in more detail the present lack of legitimacy of global energy governance and more importantly the possible avenues for strengthening it as this is a prerequisite for the fundamental dimension of society that energy production and consumption constitutes in a new social contract. I take as starting point theories of normative legitimacy that consider its two major components as being input and output legitimacy. I elaborate on the output related arguments to strengthen global energy governance – its role for building a sustainable global energy system and deep energy security – grounded in the principle of subsidiarity. I further explore the necessary elements to ensure input legitimacy of global energy governance relating to participation, transparency and accountability.
Finally I discuss the possible relationship between this normative analysis of the legitimacy of global energy governance and the subjective legitimacy of the same phenomenon among state and non-state actors. The latter is what matters in the negotiations to address energy not only in the Sustainable Development Goals but also in the climate regime.
KeywordsEnergy governance International norms Legitimacy Sustainable development goals Energy security
- Anello E (1997) Distance education and rural development: an experiment in training teachers as community development agents, PhD, University of Massachusetts AmherstGoogle Scholar
- Anello E, Hernández JB (1996) Moral leadership, Núr University, Bolivia (Unpublished translation)Google Scholar
- Biermann F, Abbott K, Andresen S, Bäckstrand K, Bernstein S, Betsill MM, Bulkeley H, Cashore B, Clapp J, Folke C, Gupta A, Gupta J, Haas PM, Jordan A, Kanie N, Kluvánková-Oravská T, Lebel L, Liverman D, Meadowcroft J, Mitchell RB, Newell P, Oberthür S, Olsson L, Pattberg P, Sánchez-Rodríguez R, Schroeder H, Underdal A, Vieira SC, Vogel C, Young OR, Brock A, Zondervan R (2012) Navigating the anthropocene: improving earth system governance. Science 335:1306–1307CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Des Bouvrie N, Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen S, Jollands N (2013) Responsibility for radical change in emission of greenhouse gasses. Paper presented at The Radical Emission Reduction Conference, Royal Society, LondonGoogle Scholar
- GEA (2012) Global Energy Assessment – toward a sustainable future. Cambridge University Press/International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Cambridge/New York/LaxenburgGoogle Scholar
- Global Thematic Consultation on Energy and the Post-2015 Development Agenda (2013) Key messages, United Nations. Available: http://www.worldwewant2015.org/node/339192. Accessed 5 Dec 2013
- Greenpeace International, EREC and GWEC (2012) Energy [r]evolution. A sustainable world energy outlook, European Renewable Energy Council (EREC), Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), Greenpeace InternationalGoogle Scholar
- High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda (2013) A new global partnership: eradicate poverty and transform economies through sustainable development. United Nations, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen SI, Vihma A (2009) Comparing the legitimacy and effectiveness of global hard and soft law: an analytical framework. Regul Gov 3(4):400–420Google Scholar
- Lesage D, Van De Graaf T, Westphal K (2010) Global energy governance in a multipolar world. Ashgate, FarnhamGoogle Scholar
- Nilsson M, Heaps C, Persson Å, Carson M, Pachauri S, Kok M, Olsson M, Rehman I, Schaeffer R, Wood D, Vuuren DV, Riahi K, Americano B, Mulugetta Y (2012) Energy for a shared development agenda: global scenarios and governance implications, Stockholm Environment InstituteGoogle Scholar
- Smil V (2003) Energy at the crossroads: global perspectives and uncertainties. The MIT Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
- United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (2001) Commission on sustainable development. Report on the ninth session (5 May 2000 and 16–27 April 2001), Economic and Social Council, official records, Supplement n° 9. United Nations, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- United Nations General Assembly (2000) Resolution adopted by the general assembly: 55/2, United Nations millennium declaration. United Nations, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- United Nations General Assembly (2012) Resolution adopted by the general assembly, 66/288 the future we want. United Nations, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Willrich M (1976) International energy issues and options. Annu Rev 1:743–772Google Scholar