(ORDO NEWS) — American experts have identified political factors that allow some countries to lead in the transition to clean energy sources, while others lag behind. It turned out that the “green” future will not be so fast.
A new study from the University of California, USA, points to political factors that lead some countries to lead in green energy, while others still have a long way to go.
“We found that countries’ political institutions determine how much they can navigate costly politics of all kinds,” says lead author and associate professor Jonas Meckling.
Analyzing how different countries have responded to the current energy crisis and to the oil crisis of the 1970s, the researchers explained how the structure of political institutions can facilitate or hinder the transition to clean energy.
For example, since policies that promote the transition to cleaner energy technologies are often costly in the short term, they can generate significant political opposition from constituencies, including consumers and corporations.
The countries that have been most successful in pioneering clean energy technologies have had political institutions that have helped mitigate some of this opposition either by isolating politicians from political opposition or by compensating consumers and corporations for the additional costs associated with introducing new technologies.
Life in Europe and the USA
For example, according to Meckling, many countries in continental and northern Europe have created institutions that allow politicians to insulate themselves from opposition from voters or lobbyists, or to buy off voters affected by the transition.
Meanwhile, countries that do not have such institutions, such as the US, Australia, and Canada, often follow market transformations, waiting for the price of new technologies to fall before adopting them.
“But once these new technologies become price-competitive in the market, countries like the US will be able to react relatively quickly because they are very sensitive to price signals,” Meckling said.
How to improve life
One way to help insulate politicians from political opposition is to devolve regulatory powers to independent agencies that are less dependent on the demands of voters or lobbyists.
But in the US, scientists note , in general, there are no strong institutions capable of suppressing political opposition to expensive energy policies, so in the coming years they will have to rely only on the success of individual states.
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