The Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022 led to skyrocketed oil and gas prices, to create an energy crisis similar to the oil crisis of the 1970. In this situation, some countries increased the transition to cleaner sources of energy, such as solar, wind, and geothermal, and others have expanded the production of fossil fuels.
A new study published in the Science discovers political factors that allow some countries to take the lead in utilizing cleaner sources of energy while others fall behind. The findings are important as many governments world over race to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and curb the devastating impacts of climate change.
“The interest is to understand how national differences mediate the responses of countries for the same kind of energy challenge,” states the lead author of the study.
With analysis of response of different countries to the current energy crisis and oil crisis of the 1970s, the study reveals how the structure of political institutions can help or impede the shift to clean energy.
Meanwhile, in the political landscape, policies that promote the shift to cleaner energy are often expensive in the short-term. The analysis discovered that countries that were most successful at initiating cleaner energy technologies had political establishment that helped absorb some of this reaction.
Several countries in continental and northern Europe have created establishment that allow policymakers to screen themselves from reaction of voters or lobbyists or to pay off zones impacted by the transition. This has resulted in many countries to be more successful at soaking up the cost associated with transitioning to clean energy system, such as upgrading transmission grids and investing in increased wind capacity.