Policy briefs

Green growth and energy security

03 Jan 2017 - 11:05

Fossil-endowed middle-income countries at a crossroads

This policy brief synthesises the findings of political economy analyses (PEA) in the energy sector in three fossil-endowed middle-income countries (MICs): Colombia, Indonesia and Kenya. It is based on a research project on political economy constraints and enablers influencing governments’ decisions on green growth options in the energy sector, where policy directions for a robust green growth trajectory are explored.

The link between energy security and green growth objectives is a tenuous one, and involves many trade-offs. Tensions between fossil fuel phase-out (compatible with the objectives of the Paris Agreement) and use of fossil fuel for local consumption or exports is strong. We find that, amongst others, land issues, intermingled private and business interests and inconsistent energy policies as a result of conflicting stakeholders’ interests constrain green growth efforts. In all three countries energy security has been the overarching objective and is generally believed to be best served by available domestic fossil resources.

This overrides the emerging desire for ‘greenness’ of growth, which could be fostered by support from international investors, mobilisation of citizens affected by climate change and a greater focus on the domestic co-benefits of green options such as employment and the future competitiveness position of a country.