Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment
Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment

Lisa Sanderink

Date: 09 October 2020
Location: Amsterdam

Dissertation title: 

Energising a renewable future: Institutional interactions in the climate-energy nexus and their implications for structure, coherence and effectiveness

Group: Environmental Policy Analysis, VU University Amsterdam

Prof. Philipp Pattberg
Co-promotor: Dr. Oscar Widerberg


Energy is crucial for economic growth and welfare but simultaneously stands front and centre in the fight against climate change. Consequently, the world is facing a tremendous challenge: to limit global temperature rise to below two degrees (Paris Agreement) while ensuring affordable and clean energy for all (Sustainable Development Goal 7, Agenda 2030). As these two targets increasingly intertwine, global climate and energy governance become inextricably linked. Yet, academic literature has developed in two tracks, failing to grasp the interactions. It is therefore time to thoroughly and systematically study the climate-energy nexus. This thesis contributes to this emerging field: it is the first to describe the structure of institutions in the climate-energy nexus, it introduces new methods to analyse how discursive constellations and institutional interactions affect the (in)coherence of this structure, and, finally, it facilitates a better understanding of the implications of institutional interactions for effectiveness. This thesis adds to growing academic and societal debates on how greater synergy can be achieved between international climate and energy targets, and, ultimately, how the climate-energy nexus should be structured to energise a renewable future.