Deep decarbonization pathways project: Political economy

Client: German Ministry for Environment

Period: March 2015 to October 2015

Project leader: Hilton Trollip

Project team: Hilton Trollip, Jesse Burton, Harald Winkler, Lucy Baker (Sussex University)

See here for DDPP (Phase 2)

The Phase 2 work on DDPP  largely covers the techno-economics of deep decarbonisation and meeting development imperatives, and will in addition take into account some of the political and institutional constraints that pose a challenge to the realisation of deep decarbonization in South Africa. This Phase 2 DDPP work will include a detailed South African country report of some 60-80 pages which will be a key reference for the political economy report.

The Political Economy Study will use the DDPP detailed South African Country Report as a basis and focus on embedding the quantitative modeling results, that are key results from the DDPP Phase 2, into a political and institutional context. Another key result from the DDPP Phase 2 will be a qualitative and quantitative description of development imperatives to be met whilst also considering a low carbon economy. These will also be a key aspect informing the political economy analysis.

This will enable the Research Report to explore the key research question posed in the Terms of Reference: “Why technologically feasible scenarios of deep decarbonization are either blocked by countervailing societal forces or alternatively, how they are being translated into socially and politically accepted solutions.”

The methodology is based on primary data gathered in semi-structured interviews for this study, supplemented by reference to previous interviews and content analysis of key documents. This research will undertake between 15-30 semi-structured interviews, and may draw on interview material from previous research projects where these are in alignment with the objectives of the ToR.

In-depth textual analyses of relevant national policies, government documents and press articles (e.g. in Engineering News, ESI Africa) will also be carried out with regards to understanding and recording key and on-going developments and debates in the energy sector.

As well as the report, a peer-reviewed journal article is planned, together with presentation of research findings in national fora (e.g. academic conferences, policy seminars), and international conferences, funding permitting.