Department of Political Economy Seminar Series
The Global Political Economy of Energy Transitions
Peter Newell, Professor of International Relations at the University of Sussex
Time and date: 4pm, Thursday 5 April
Location: Merewether 426, University of Sydney
What does IPE have to contribute to pressing policy and academic debates about the urgently required transition to a low carbon global economy? Despite the obviously global, political and economic dimensions of such a transition – often likened to the ‘great transformation’ or the Industrial Revolution in its magnitude – insights from IPE have yet to be brought to bear on the question of what form such a transition might take: the relations of power which will frustrate or enable it; the historical precedents for previous transformations in dominant structures of production, finance and technology in the global economy; and the potentially central role of the state and institutions of global governance. This talk seeks to contribute to the analysis of transitions grounded in different strands of critical IPE literature. It focusses, in turn, on the role of the state in transitions; the ways in which the globalisation of the global economy structures the possibility and likely form of transitions; and the role of global governance institutions in key energy and economic domains. For scholars of IPE, it demonstrates the centrality of energy in linking power, production and world order and highlights the need to further engage with questions of transformation in energy systems that are central to the organisation of the global political economy. This throws up questions around production, finance, technology, governance and justice which IPE scholars should be well placed to speak to, while requiring that energy takes up its rightful place as a lens for understanding and revising orthodox comprehensions of political, economic and social processes.