Human rights

Establishing a Consortium for “Public Good” Data on the Politics of Energy Transition

[ICP 2020]
people in old Delhi in Chawri Bazaar
Written by
Published on
June 8, 2020


Understanding energy politics is key in order  to formulate strategies for feasible and effective energy transition pathways. Yet, reliable and accessible quantitative and qualitative data is often lacking in emerging economies. This project is based on the belief that a combination of practitioner insights, academic rigor and methods is needed to encourage transparency, improve coordination and actively fill data gaps, to help civil society and governments more effectively promote green recovery in developing countries.


For decades, transition to clean energy has been treated as mainly a technical challenge. But energy is also political: in supply, involving some of the world’s most powerful institutions and individuals; and in consumption, intimately affecting all businesses and households, and thereby attitudes to governments.

Understanding energy politics is key to formulate strategies for feasible and effective transition pathways. Yet, reliable and accessible quantitative and qualitative data is often lacking in emerging economies. Mostly, it is collected by development agencies under confidentiality agreements. The remainder is gathered by independent organizations—but efforts are scattered and relatively poorly resourced.

Promoting coordination and synergies between practitioners, scientists and policy actors to produce relevant “public good” datasets is key to support more informed and efficient transition policies.


This project aims to actively fill in data gaps and enable a more systematic understanding of energy politics. It will do so by establishing an international consortium on the politics of energy transition, combining  practitioner’s insight and academic rigor to create “public good” datasets on the political forces influencing two thematic issues:

  • Energy in stimulus and recovery programs
  • Fossil fuel pricing and inequality

Geographically, the consortium is initially focused on India, Indonesia and South Africa, due to the importance of large emerging economies in determining global energy outcomes, and the relative paucity of robust, transparent data on energy politics.


The targeted, long-term impact is threefold:

  1. Improved coordination in science-practice data co-production;
  2. More informed and transparent energy transition policies at the national level (esp. in focus countries: India, Indonesia, South Africa);
  3. Recognition of domestic political factors in international policy dynamics.

Key activities

  1. A cycle of virtual roundtables leading to the production of background papers, the drafting of a joint statement and the publication of main findings and messages;
  2. Alignment of existing work plans and projects by consortium members in India, Indonesia and South Africa, as well as internationally around climate change discussions;
  3. Establishment of data production collaborations between consortium members, fundraising to upscale consortium activities and outreach to strategic stakeholders.

Project updates


8 June 2020 - 6 June 2021

Project core partners


  • Chris Beaton, Senior Policy Advisor, IISD : cbeaton
  • Dr Frédérique Guérin, Executive Officer, GSPI: frederique.guerin

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