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Energy & Climate Change

The Energy and Climate Change Domain team seek to identify pathways that would enable poor people to access energy services sustainably.

Energy and Climate Change domain co-convenor: Rob Byrne

Energy and development go hand-in-hand: lighting, cooking, mobility, heating, cooling and communications are all essential to development processes. Moreover, the manner in which energy services are realised has both positive and negative consequences for our health, environment, wealth and social relations.

At a time when increasing access to modern energy services is seen as a key international development priority – as we attempt to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in the context of a changing climate – the STEPS Centre believes a much broader and ambitious approach to energy and development is needed. A working paper and briefing outlining the STEPS work in this domain is available below.

Key Contacts

We are currently concentrating on two themes and two STEPS affiliated projects.

Theme 1: Energy access for the poor and marginalised
We will explore political economies of knowledge in energy and development, and promote an emphasis on direction, distribution and diversity (3Ds) in energy access interventions, towards building a pathways approach to analysis of pro-poor sustainable energy access.

Theme 2: Climate governance
We hope to engage with international discussions about climate governance, particularly in respect of the impact on the poor and marginalised in developing countries. We will seek out opportunities to extend the work carried out by our affiliate partner, the Sussex Energy Group, on technology transfer/low carbon innovation in those countries to other parts of the developing world.


Pro-poor, low carbon development: Improving low carbon energy access and development benefits in Least Developed Countries (LDCs)
This project aims to inform the development of Climate Innovation Centres in various developing countries by analysing the history of, and actors involved in, the adoption of solar home systems in Kenya.

Low Carbon Innovation in China – Prospects, Politics and Practice
This project seeks to explore the extent, nature and social implications of low-carbon transitions in China, a key concern for the whole world. It is an international collaboration between researchers in the UK and at leading institutions in China.

The Rising Powers: Clean Development and the Low Carbon Transition in sub-Saharan Africa
Examining clean and renewable energy projects in South Africa and Mozambique, in order to understand how, why and to what extent China, India and Brazil are enabling the transition to low carbon energy systems in southern Africa

Key publications













Working Paper: Energy pathways in low-carbon development By Rob Byrne, Adrian Smith, Jim Watson and David Ockwell (PDF 3.96mb) How can we improve energy access while tackling climate change? This Working Paper examines the limits of using technology and finance to solve the problem, and explores a broader and more ambitious approach that addresses politics, social resources and the needs of poor people.

Briefing: Energy pathways in low-carbon development A short, easy-to-read briefing to accompany the Energy pathways in low-carbon development working paper. (PDF 219kb)

Kiswahili version: Njia za Nishati katika Ustawi wenye Kaboni-Kidogo (PDF 219kb)

Briefing: Pro-poor low carbon development project A short, non-technical briefing about this project, it’s aims, rationale and approach (PDF 297kb).

Kiswahili version: Kuendeleza kwa kaboni pungufu kwa ajili ya jamaa zilizo maskini. Kuboresha upatikanaji wa nishati ya kaboni iliyopunguzwa, hali kadhalika, kuendeleza faida katika nchi zenye maendeleo ya chini zaidi (LDCs). (PDF 296kb)

Book: Low-Carbon Technology Transfer From Rhetoric to Reality Edited by David G. Ockwell, Alexandra Mallett Low carbon technology transfer to developing countries has been both a lynchpin of, and a key stumbling block to a global deal on climate change. This book brings together for the first time in one place the work of some of the world’s leading contemporary researchers in this field.

Key Resources

Working Paper: Community-based Micro Grids: A common property resource problem by Lorenz Gollwitzer

COP18: A range of useful climate change resources from the STEPS Centre

LCEDN: View videos of all the presentations, powerpoints, photos and more. from the Low Carbon Energy for Development Network second international workshop, Sept 2012.