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Global interdependence in clean energy transitions

  • Jonas Meckling and Llewelyn Hughes

The global energy industry is transforming as governments invest in clean energy technologies to address climate change, enhance energy security, and strengthen national competitiveness. Comparative research on clean energy transitions highlights the domestic drivers and constraints of clean energy transitions. This article contends that we need to understand the effects of global interdependence on clean energy transitions. Shifts in forms of interdependence between firms—influenced by the rise of global supply chains—have new implications for policy choices made by governments. Governments face more complex demands from domestic industries facing global economic competition, and act strategically in response to the actions of other governments, including sub-national actors, and firms in the global economy. We suggest that research on interdependence in clean energy transitions benefits from an analytical focus on mechanisms of transnational change such as cross-national and multi-level policy feedback and cross-national policy sequencing. Global interdependence has important implications for economic and environmental outcomes, affecting the durability of competitive advantage, and influencing the pace of the diffusion of clean energy technologies.

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Corresponding author
*Corresponding author: Jonas Meckling,Assistant Professor of Energy and Environmental Policy, Dept. of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, University of California, Berkeley, 130 Mulford Hall, #3114, Berkeley, CA 94720; Email:
Llewelyn Hughes, Associate Professor of Public Policy, Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University, Lennox Crossing, Canberra 2601, Australia; Email:
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The authors contributed equally to the manuscript. We thank Henry Farrell, Kathy Hochstetler, Abe Newman, Valerie Karplus, Tobias Schmidt, Sam Trachtman, the anonymous reviewers, and the editors for helpful comments. We are grateful for research assistance by Nicholas Goedeking.

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