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The governance of clean energy in India: The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and domestic energy politics

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Jon Phillips, Peter Newell

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)654-662
Number of pages9
Early online date1 May 2013
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013


King's Authors


This paper explores the ways in which clean energy is being governed in India. It does so in order to improve our understanding of the potential and limitations of carbon finance in supporting lower carbon energy transitions, and to strengthen our appreciation of the role of politics in enabling or frustrating such endeavors. In particular we emphasize the importance of politics and the nature of India’s political economy in understanding the development of energy sources and technologies defined as ‘clean’ both through the United Nations Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and leading international actors. By considering the broad range of institutions that exert formal and informal political influence over how the benefits and costs of the CDM are distributed, the paper highlights shortcomings in the narrow way in which CDM governance has been conceptualized to date. This approach goes beyond analysis of technocratic aspects of governance – often reduced to a set of institutional design issues – in order to appreciate the political nature of the trade-offs that characterize debates about India’s energy future and the relations of power which will determine how, and on whose terms, they are resolved.

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