GIGA Focus International Edition English

Green Power and Performance in Global Environmental Governance

Number 6 | 2013 | ISSN: 2196-3940

  • From 10 to 11 June 2013, the Global Green Growth Summit will take place in Seoul. Policymakers, international organizations and experts from various fi elds will once again discuss how the transformation toward a green economy and more sustainable development paths can be managed.


    Global environmental governance is characterized by a high number of international activities, but actual environmental outcomes vary. The ability to develop green political and economic power that leads to bett er environmental performance is not restricted to industrialized countries anymore. China, South Korea, Brazil and India are slowly catching up, while some small developing nations have also begun to generate power for a green change.

    • The heterogeneous behavior of the emerging economies undermines their green power in central environmental regimes. This heterogeneity is refl ected in their differing development of green power outside of the internationally negotiated treaties.

    • "Green power" refers to the ability to successfully combine technological capabilities, environmental innovations, political and economic power. None of the central actors currently possess it in a way that positions them as leaders in smart globalenvironmental governance.

    • In the climate negotiations, China and the United States are in a balance of power that is negative for the environment. China has surpassed the United States in the use of clean technology. However, it still lags behind in achieving bett er environmental outcomes.

    • Costa Rica, Norway and Ecuador have accumulated some green power in spite of their respective economic sizes, bolstering it with good environmental performance. Nonetheless, in the global distribution of power, this is hardly relevant.

    • Neither Europe nor Germany currently uses its full green power potential. Both are restricted by hesitant behavior, a drop in new investments in clean technology and innovation as well as China’s structural power gain.


      How to cite this article

      Never, Babette (2013), Green Power and Performance in Global Environmental Governance, GIGA Focus International Edition English, 6, Hamburg: German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA),


      The GIGA Focus is an Open Access publication and can be read on the Internet and downloaded free of charge at According to the conditions of the Creative-Commons license Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0, this publication may be freely duplicated, circulated, and made accessible to the public. The particular conditions include the correct indication of the initial publication as GIGA Focus and no changes in or abbreviation of texts.

      The German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA) – Leibniz-Institut für Globale und Regionale Studien in Hamburg publishes the Focus series on Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and global issues. The GIGA Focus is edited and published by the GIGA. The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the institute. Authors alone are responsible for the content of their articles. GIGA and the authors cannot be held liable for any errors and omissions, or for any consequences arising from the use of the information provided.

      Babette Never

      Babette Never

      Former Doctoral Researcher

      GIGA Working Papers | 07/2011

      Who Drives Change? Comparing the Evolution of Domestic Climate Governance in India and South Africa

      Babette Never

      Former Doctoral Researcher

      GIGA Working Papers | 03/2013

      Explaining the Diffusion of Renewable Energy Technology in Developing Countries

      Dr. Birte Pfeiffer (née Pohl)

      Former GIGA Team member

      Peter Mulder


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