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Global low-carbon energy transition in the post-COVID-19 era

24 November 2021

Authors: Jinfang Tian, Longguang Yu, Rui Xue, ShanZhuang, Yuli Shan.

Journal: Applied Energy (In Press, Corrected Proof)


The COVID-19 pandemic has created significant challenges for energy transition. Concerns about the overwhelming emphasis on economic recovery at the cost of energy transition progress have been raised worldwide. More voices are calling for “green” recovery scheme, which recovers the economy while not compromising on the environment. However, limited academic attention has been paid to comprehensively investigating the implications of COVID-19 for global energy transition. This study thus provides a comprehensive analysis of the dynamics between energy transition and COVID-19 around the world and proposes a low-carbon energy transition roadmap in the post-pandemic era. Using energy data from the International Energy Agency (IEA), we first summarized and reviewed the progress of energy transition prior to COVID-19. Building on prior progress, we identified the challenges for energy transition during the pandemic from the perspectives of government support, fossil fuel divestment, renewable energy production capacity, global supply chain, and energy poverty. However, the pandemic also generates opportunities for global energy transition. We hence also identified potential opportunities for energy transition presented by the pandemic from the perspectives of price competitiveness, policy implementation efficiency, and renewable energy strengths. We further provided an in-depth discussion on the impact of current worldwide economic recovery stimulus on energy transition. Based on the identified challenges and opportunities, we proposed the post-pandemic energy transition roadmap in terms of broadening green financing instruments, strengthening international cooperation, and enhancing green recovery plans. Our study sheds light on a global low-carbon energy transition framework and has practical implications for green recovery schemes in post-pandemic times.


COVID-19; Energy transition; Green recovery scheme; Green finance; Low-carbon transition.

Last modified:24 November 2021 3.15 p.m.

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