IDS Evidence Report;180

Who Drives Climate-relevant Policies in the Rising Powers?

Published on 1 March 2016

The future of human life on our planet is influenced increasingly by what goes on in the rising powers. This report presents a political economy analysis of their policies, comparing China, India, Brazil and South Africa.

The importance of these countries for global climate deals is undisputed. What is less clear is the domestic politics behind their global positioning. Who drives – or obstructs – the adoption of climate-relevant policies in their own countries? This report analyses the question by focusing on renewable energy policies. The political economy approach adopted in the report rests on four critical steps:

  1. Recognising that no single actor has the political and financial resources to bring about the required transformations;
  2. Recognising that in government, civil society and business actors seek to drive or block these transformations;
  3. The need to focus attention on alliances across these categories; and
  4. Including actors with different motives helps to understand and accelerate transformations.

This approach is used to unravel and compare what goes on in China, India, Brazil and South Africa. The methodological challenge lies in cutting through complexity, especially if changes over time are considered. Alliances and narratives keep changing. The overall message is that rapid political economy analysis is possible and a focus on alliances provides much needed hope that green transformations can be accelerated.

Cite this publication

Schmitz, H. (2016) Who Drives Climate-relevant Policies in the Rising Powers?, IDS Evidence Report 180, Brighton: IDS


Hubert Schmitz

Emeritus Fellow

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Schmitz, Hubert
IDS Evidence Report, issue 180


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