Assessing regional progress towards a ‘Green Energy Economy’

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This paper provides a regional, empirical analysis of policy portfolios that aim to contribute towards a ‘Green Energy Economy’ (GEE) transformation. Taking green economy policies and related indicators as the analytical framework, the study examines (i) the composition of policy portfolios promoting low-carbon energy technologies, (ii) short-term trends related to the GEE, (iii) long-term empirical observations of GEE-related factors, and (iv) whether, given these results, CO2 emission reduction targets can be met. The study focuses on the following regions: Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East, Non-OECD Europe and countries from the Former Soviet Union, Oceania, OECD Europe, and OECD North America. Findings reveal that low-carbon energy technology policies have spread rapidly since the 2000s. Economics incentives are widespread across all regions, highlighting the growing use of market-based policies. The short-term analysis shows that per capita income growth (and to a lesser extent population growth) are the main obstacles to transition towards a GEE transformation. From a longer-term perspective, results are highly consistent and show no, or limited, progress in making the transformation. Relative improvements in efficiency have not offset the negative effects of growing economic activity, suggesting that this factor per se is a roadblock to GEE transformation. From a policy perspective, the analysis strongly suggests that, despite a plethora of policy initiatives aimed at the market uptake of low-carbon energy technologies, the impacts on key areas of a GEE remain insufficient. A far more ambitious and integrated policy approach is needed to transition towards a GEE, particularly if emission reduction targets in line with a 2 °C mitigation scenario are to be met.


External organisations
  • Basque Centre for Climate Change
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Human Geography
  • Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified


  • Decomposition analysis, Economic instruments, Environmental effectiveness, Green energy economy, Low-carbon technology policy portfolios
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1372-1394
Number of pages23
JournalApplied Energy
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Oct 1
Publication categoryResearch

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Project: Commissioned research

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