Ohlendorf, N., Jakob, M., Steckel, J.C.

The political economy of coal phase-out: Exploring the actors, objectives, and contextual factors shaping policies in eight major coal countries

in Energy Research & Social Science, 07.04.2022

Peer Review , Fellows & Guests , Climate and Development

Political economy factors are key to explain why some countries keep expanding their coal capacity. Yet, comparable cross-country evidence is scant. We consult 123 energy experts for eight major coal countries through an online survey, to assess which political economy factors affect coal-related policies. Regardless of the political or economic system, we find that the ministry for energy, the head of state and the ruling party are consistently the most important political actors, while utilities and mining companies are the most influential economic actors. Generally, other societal actors are the least influential. Economic growth, electricity system stability and low electricity costs are very relevant objectives the major arguments of pro-coal actors. The most relevant contextual factors are the influence of the power sector and structure of the power market. Actors, objectives, and contextual factors related to the environment are consistently less important. The insights of this study help identify entry points for politically feasible policies to phase-out coal.