The paper Conflict and cooperation over access to energy: Implications for a low-carbon future has been published in Futures.
This paper explores how the balance between cooperation and conflict in access to energy resources and in the wider governance of energy may be shaped by wider geopolitical trends and may itself shape global cooperation in managing the transition to a low-carbon world. The analysis draws on both qualitative and quantitative methodologies. Four qualitative Future World Images to the year 2040 are based on varying degrees of cooperation in international governance and of state involvement in markets. These qualitative Images have been converted into quantitative parameters which could be input to the POLES model in order to produce four quantitative scenarios. In all four scenarios, annual CO2 emissions by the year 2040 are higher than those in 2009 and much higher than the UN target for 2050. Emissions are significantly higher in the collaborative worlds than in the uncollaborative worlds. Notwithstanding this apparent unattractiveness of the collaborative images, they do allow greater technological development and higher energy efficiencies to be achieved than do the uncollaborative images. These advantages of the collaborative worlds are likely to provide a much stronger basis for moving to a low-carbon world after 2040, especially where markets play a strong role in trade and investment.