This paper argues that the ongoing transition towards renewable energy has significant implications beyond environmental impacts. The transition will deeply influence economic, political, and geopolitical relations between states.
Countries leading in renewable energy technologies stand to reap significant economic benefits in the near future. In this regard, there is fierce competition between major economies, such as China, the US, the EU, and several others. Furthermore, many countries are dependent on energy imports, which cost them billions of dollars every year, whereas others including the Gulf states, Iran, and Russia are dependent on revenues from energy exports to keep their economies and political systems viable. Moreover, the energy trade is a strategic dimension of international relations. Thus, the growing importance of renewable energy sources may permanently tilt the power balance in the international system by taking away an important geopolitical leverage from some while empowering others. This paper argues that the ongoing transition towards renewable energy has significant implications beyond environmental impacts. Given the importance of fossil fuels in modern economies and the geopolitical balance of power, the transition to renewable will deeply influence economic, political, and geopolitical relations between states.Download the Discussion Paper