How the energy transition will reshape geopolitics. Nature. 2019. 569, 19-21 (with Morgan Bazilian, Michael Bradshaw and Kirsten Westphal).
Energy is at the root of many political ructions. President Donald Trump’s intention to pull the United States out of the Paris climate agreement in 2020, the European Union’s restrictive policies against importing Chinese photovoltaic cells and the political hostility towards the school strikes over climate-change inaction are all reactions to attempts to shift the world to a low-carbon economy. We present here four geopolitical scenarios to illustrate how varied the transition could be by 2030 (see ‘Four futures’). To minimize conflict and maximize equity, states’ policy choices over the next decade will be crucial. Researchers and decision-makers should widen their focus to examine the implications of such alternative pathways to decarbonization — issues that go well beyond technology. Smoothing the road will take multilateral agreements, generous funding and cooperation. Read more.