Political Economy of Low Carbon Investment in China and India

This project investigates whether and how coalitions of public, private and civic actors influence low carbon investment.

  • It is clear that the low carbon transition requires enormous investment in new technology, especially private investment. It is not yet clear how to generate this investment.
  • The dominant approach is top-down, but it appears to be at an impasse. It relies on establishing new global rules for reducing carbon emissions and assumes that private investment will follow.
  • This approach cannot explain the substantial investments that have occurred in some countries and sectors. And it is unlikely to trigger the investments needed in the future.
  • In order to capture the emerging economic and political dynamics, our project will experiment with a bottom-up approach.
  • We focus on the (changing) alignments of interest between investors and policy makers (and civil society groups) at the local and national level and their influence on the positoning of enterprises and their investments.
  • We obtain the required investment data from the Bloomberg New Energy Finance group and investigate who/what explains the turning points in investment by interviewing key actors.
  • The project focuses on investment in the wind and solar power sectors in China and India. China is now the World No. 1 investor and India has had the highest growth rate in 2011.

Key contacts

Project details

start date
2 Apr 2012
end date
31 Mar 2016


About this project

Programmes and centres
Business and Development Centre
China India

Recent work


What Drives Wind and Solar Energy Investment in India and China?

Published by IDS

This research is motivated by the need to transform the basis of energy systems from fossil fuels to renewable sources. As well as the imperative of climate change, this transformation is needed to create development trajectories for economies that are genuinely sustainable over the long term....

1 July 2014