“Governing the Climate-Energy Nexus: Institutional Complexity and Its Challenges to Effectiveness and Legitimacy” summarizes results of the international research project, ClimEnGo (Challenges and opportunities in a fragmented global Climate and Energy Governance). The project, funded by the Swedish Energy Agency, brought together researchers from SEI, and Stockholm University, Lund University, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, and the University of Eastern Finland.

SEI Research Fellow Cleo Verkuijl and SEI Affiliated Researcher Harro van Asselt are co-authors of two chapters:

Chapter 5: Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform: Interactions between International Cooperative Institutions. The More, the Merrier?, examines the coherence of international governance of fossil fuel subsidy reform. The chapter discusses the emergence of a core norm of fossil fuel subsidy reform, the distribution of membership across international institutions, and the various governance functions fulfilled by the international institutions active in this area. To further assess coherence, the chapter focuses on a subset of three international coalitions active in the area of fossil fuel subsidy reform: the Group of 20 (G20), the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), and the Friends of Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform. The chapter identifies an emerging division of labour, with different institutions taking charge of various governance functions. Where activities do overlap, they generally appear to reinforce one another. With respect to the G20, APEC, and the Friends of Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform, the high level of consistency appears to be the result of planned coordination, overlapping memberships, as well as a brokering role taken on by some countries.

Chapter 8: The Performance of the Climate-Energy Nexus: Assessing the Effectiveness of the Institutional Complexes on Renewable Energy, Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform, and Carbon Pricing addresses the question of how institutional complexity influences effectiveness. The chapter examines this question for three policy fields: renewable energy, fossil fuel subsidy reform, and carbon markets. The chapter takes a comprehensive perspective across the three case studies by examining three dimensions of effectiveness: output (generating regulations and infrastructure), outcome (changing behaviour), and impact (solving the problem). The study relies on a two-track approach, integrating assessments by researchers and interviews with key stakeholders. The results show how the considerable institutional complexity in the climate-energy nexus has consequences for effectiveness.

Notwithstanding the methodical challenges for evaluating effectiveness under conditions of institutional complexity, these insights demonstrate that such an assessment is of high importance, and should be continued for other contexts of global governance. In particular, the findings of this chapter help to identify suitable management options (i.e. options for formally regulating the linkage between institutions) for the climate-energy nexus. With these suggestions and its conceptual and empirical novelty, the chapter contributes to a variety of literatures – on climate and energy governance, on institutional complexity, and on effectiveness.