The Global Commission on the Geopolitics of Energy Transformation, is an independent initiative that was launched during the IRENA Assembly in January 2018. Its purpose is to examine how the large-scale shift to renewable energy is disrupting the global energy system, impacting economies and changing the political dynamics within and between countries.
Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson
Commission Chair, Iceland
Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson was the President of Iceland for twenty years, 1996-2016; elected five times in nationwide elections. He now serves as the Chairman of the Arctic Circle, which he founded in 2013 with various Arctic partners.
Prior to becoming President, Mr. Grímsson served as Minister of Finance, Member of Parliament, and was the first Professor of Political Science at the University of Iceland. In the 1980s and early 1990s, he was the President of Parliamentarians for Global Action, an international organization of legislators. Mr. Grímsson has been an active participant in the global climate dialogue for decades, and during his Presidency he initiated and promoted clean energy projects across a number of continents including Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Europe, the United States and the Americas – often using Icelandic achievements and technologies as a model. He has also worked closely with Abu Dhabi in its clean energy programme and serves as Chairman of the Jury of the Zayed Future Energy Prize, one of the most distinguished energy prizes in the world. Mr. Grímsson serves on the Advisory Board of Sustainable Energy for All, created by the United Nations and the World Bank. In addition to devoting his post-presidential efforts to the three areas of climate, the Arctic and clean energy, Mr. Grímsson is also involved in international cooperation on the oceans and the evolution of sustainable use of marine resources. He has received many international awards, including the Nehru Award for International Understanding, presented by the President of India; and has lectured at universities in many countries.
Adnan Z. Amin
Adnan Z. Amin is the Director-General Emeritus of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
In 2011, he was elected as IRENA’s first Director-General and during his tenure, IRENA has achieved near universal membership and grown to become the global authority on renewable energy. He served two terms as Director-General at IRENA heading the Agency for eighth years. The Agency today provides the world community with a strong, international co-operation framework to accelerate the energy transformation. Prior to joining IRENA, Mr. Amin served as Head of the UN System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB) Secretariat, and led the Secretariat for the UN Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on UN System-wide Coherence. He also served as the Director of the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) New York Office. Mr. Amin has more than 25 years of experience in renewable energy, sustainable development and environmental policy. He is a development economist from Kenya.
Anatoly Chubais was Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister under the first Russian government led by Y.G. Gaidar, where he set up and ran the state property privatization programme.
Under a Boris Yeltsin administration, Mr. Chubais took the position of Chief of Staff of the President and held posts as Deputy Prime Minister for economic and financial policies, First Deputy Prime Minister and Russian Finance Minister. He represented Russia in international financial organizations, including the IMF and World Bank and was a member of the Russian Security Council. Euromoney Magazine named him the world’s best Finance Minister in 1997. Between 1998 and 2008, Mr. Chubais was the Chairman of the Board at the RAO UES of Russia. He brought the industry out of the insolvency crisis, ensuring steady supply of electric power and reforming the electric power supply chain by dividing the system into the monopoly and competitive sectors. In 2008, the President appointed Mr Chubais the CEO of the Russian Corporation of Nanotechnologies.
Christiana Figueres is an internationally recognized leader on global climate change, who served as Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) between 2010 and 2016.
During her tenure, Ms Figueres is credited with having spearheaded negotiations that lead to the delivery of the unprecedented Paris Climate Agreement in 2015. She also directed the successful Conferences of the Parties in Cancun 2010, Durban 2011, Doha 2012, Warsaw 2013, and Lima 2014, culminating in the historic Paris Agreement of 2015. Ms Figueres is currently the convener of Mission 2020, a global initiative that seeks to ensure the world bends the curve on greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 in order to protect the most vulnerable from the worst impacts of climate change and usher in an era of stability and prosperity. She initiated her life of public service as Minister Counselor at the Embassy of Costa Rica in Bonn, Germany in 1982. Moving to the USA, she was Director of Renewable Energy in the Americas (REIA) and in 1995 founded the non-profit Center for Sustainable Development of the Americas (CSDA) which she directed for eight years. Ms. Figueres holds a Masters Degree in Anthropology from the London School of Economics, and a certificate in Organizational Development from Georgetown University.
Joschka Fischer served as Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister of Germany from 1998 to 2005. He led the German Green Party in its first participation in government at the state and federal levels.
From 2006 to 2007, Mr. Fischer held a professorship at the Woodrow Wilson School of International and Public Affairs at Princeton University. Mr. Fischer is a founding partner of Joschka Fischer and Company, a strategy and government affairs consultancy based in Berlin, Germany.
Fu Chengyu is currently the Chair of United Nations Global Compact Network China. With over 40 years of experience in the oil industry, he has served as Chairman and CEO of China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), and Chairman for China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (SINOPEC).
Mr. Fu was a Member of the 12th Standing Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. He is currently a board member of trustees of the University of Southern California and a member of the advisory board of the Center on Global Energy Policy, Columbia University.
Maria van der Hoeven
Maria van der Hoeven served as Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA) between 2011 - 2016. She also served on the Advisory Board for the UN Sustainable Energy for All Initiative between 2013 and 2015.
Prior to that, Ms. van der Hoeven served as Minister of Education, Culture and Science of the Netherlands from 2001 to 2007, and as Minister of Economic Affairs and Energy from 2007 to 2010. Ms. van der Hoeven has been a Board Member of the Rocky Mountain Institute in Colorado, and senior Fellow of the Clingendael International Energy Programmeme since 2016 and became a member of the Board of Directors of Total (France) and a member of the Supervisory Board of Innogy (Germany) in the same year. More recently, she has been Vice Chairman of the high-level Panel of the European Decarbonisation Pathways Initiative, established by the European Commission.
Pascal Lamy served two terms as Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) between 2005 and 2013. A member of the French Socialist party, Mr. Lamy was Chief of Staff to the President of the European Commission, Jacques Delors, from 1985-1994.
Mr. Lamy was CEO of Credit Lyonnais as CEO until 1999, before returning to Brussels as European Trade Commissioner until 2004. Mr. Lamy was appointed President of the French Committee of the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC) in 2016, and Chair of the European Group of Experts in charge of evaluating the impact of EU research funding. Currently Mr. Lamy divides his activities between serving as President Emeritus of the Jacques Delors Institute, the presidency of the World Committee on Tourism Ethics, as well as various missions related to international affairs. He is also a member of several foundations and academic institutions.
Carlos Lopes is a development economist, author, educator and civil servant who served as the eighth Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa from September 2012 to October 2016.
Mr. Lopes is also a Professor at the Graduate School of Development Policy and Practice at the University of Cape Town, and Visiting Professor at Sciences Po, Paris. He has been a visiting Fellow of the Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford, and belongs to the Boards of several institutions, including the Geneva Institute of Graduate Studies. Mr. Lopes has occupied leadership positions across the United Nations system, including Policy Director for UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, head of UNDP’s Bureau for Development Policy, head of UNITAR, the UN System Staff College and Executive Director of the UN Economic Commission for Africa. He is a member of the African Union reform team led by President Paul Kagame, as well as the Global Commission for Economy and Climate and the Global Commission for the Future of Work.
Murray McCully served as a Member of Parliament in New Zealand for 30 years, including more than 16 years as a Minister. He served as New Zealand’s Foreign Minister for eight and a half years.
During his tenure, New Zealand took a strong leadership role on the promotion of renewable energy across the Pacific region, and more widely. Mr. McCully also served a two-year term of the UN Security Council (2015-2016). Mr. McCully is a qualified lawyer, retains a practicing certificate as a barrister, and remains active as a consultant and director.
Mari Elka Pangestu
Professor Pangestu served as Indonesia’s Minister of Trade from 2004 to 2011, and as Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy from 2011 until October 2014.
She is a Senior Fellow at Columbia School of International and Public Affairs, Professor of International Economics at the University of Indonesia and on the Board of Trustees, Centre for Strategic and International Studies, Jakarta. She currently serves on a number of boards such as the Leadership Council of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN); Member of the High Level Commission on Carbon Prices; Member of the Global Future Council on Trade and Investment, World Economic Forum; International Advisory Board of McLarty Associates, Washington DC; Board Member of International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington DC; and Board Member of International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Paris. She is also President Commissioner of Bank BTPN in Indonesia; and President of the United in Diversity (UID) Foundation, Jakarta.
Andris Piebalgs is an experienced Latvian politician and diplomat, who has occupied key positions on both national and European levels.
He was Latvia’s Minister of Finance and of Education and served as Chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee of Parliament. In 1997, he became the Latvian Ambassador to the EU and served as European Commissioner for Energy from 2004 to 2010, and as a European Commissioner for Development from 2010 to 2014. Currently, he is a Senior Fellow at the Florence School of Regulation and the Chairman of the Board of Appeal of the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators.
Lapo Pistelli has served as ENI’s Executive Vice President of International Affairs since April 2017. He served as member of the Italian Parliament from 1996 to 2015, and was a member of the European Parliament from 2004 to 2008.
From 2013 to 2015, Mr. Pistelli served as Deputy minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Italy, after which he entered ENI as Senior Vice President for Strategic Analyis for Business Development Support. He is a member of the Board of the European Council on Foreign Relations, of the Instituto Affari Internazionali, of the Editorial Board of Oil, and the Scientific Committee of EastWest.
Bill Richardson has more than thirty years of government experience including serving as the Representative of New Mexico in the 3rd Congressional District in the U.S. Congress between 1982-1996; the US Ambassador to the United Nations, and Secretary of Energy between 1997 and 2000.
Mr. Richardson served two terms as Governor of New Mexico and was Special Envoy to the Organisation of American States (OAS). In 2010, he launched the Richardson Center for Global Engagement, a foundation focusing on conflict resolution, prisoner release and environmental protection. He is currently a member of the International Board of Tecnicas Reunidas, a Spanish energy firm. He is also a board member of the International Commission Against the Death Penalty, a member of the NCAA Hall of Fame, board member of World Resources Institute, Freedom House and Refugees International.
Khalid bin Mohammad Al-Sulaiman
Khalid M. Al-Sulaiman was Vice President for Renewable Energy at the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (K.A. CARE) in Saudi Arabia.
He served there until March 2014. Mr. Sulaiman was formerly Deputy Minister for Industry at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, where he led the development of the National Industrial Strategy 2020. He currently serves as Executive Chairman of the Board of Saudi Tech Engineering, Saudi Labs, and is a Board member of ACWA Holding and Malaz Capital. Mr. Sulaiman has also held several leading positions at the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) since 1985.
Izabella Mônica Vieira Teixeira was Brazil´s Minister of the Environment between 2010 – 2016, and prior to that served as Deputy Minister of the Environment between 2008 and 2010.
Ms. Teixeira currently works as private consultant in environmental and climate change issues. In 2015, Ms. Teixeira was Head of the Brazilian Delegation on negotiations of the Paris Agreement of the UN Convention on Climate Change. For her outstanding career, in 2013 Minister Izabella Teixeira received the United Nations Environment Programme “Champions of the Earth” award for Policy Leadership. She was head of the Brazilian Delegation in the Cancun, Durban, Doha and Warsaw Conferences of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, and of the Brazil-South Africa-India-China (BASIC) Group. She was also a key leader of the 2012 UN´s Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development. After Rio+20 she was again appointed by the UN´s Secretary-General as a member of the High-Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda. Ms. Teixeira is a specialist in Environmental Management, Environmental Impact Assessment and Environmental Licensing. She holds a B.Sc. in Biological Sciences from the University of Brasília, and a M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Energy Planning from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.
Masakazu Toyoda is Chairman and CEO at the Institute of Energy Economics, Japan (IEEJ) since July 2010.
The organization provides a wide variety of reports which are based on objective and quantitative analyses of energy generation and associated issues. In addition, it has been ranked among the top three think tanks in the world for four consecutive years, in the area of Energy and Resources Policy (2014-2017 Global Go To Think Tank Index by University of Pennsylvania). He also serves as an international advisor to a number of institutions such as the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (KAPSARC), Accenture, the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies (OIES), the Pacific International Center for High Technology Research Center (PICHTR), and the Brunei National Energy Research Institute (BNERI). Prior to joining the IEEJ, he held prominent positions in the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) of Japan notably as the 22nd Vice-Minister for International Affairs (2007-2008). Furthermore, he served in the OECD and IEA during his career at METI.
Eirik Waerness is Senior Vice President and Chief Economist at Equinor, responsible for all macroeconomic and market analyses in the group, as well as for mid- and downstream strategy.
He has broad experience in government, academia, and private sector companies. From 2010 to 2013, he served as member of the Executive Board of the Central Bank of Norway, and from 2016-2018, he served as a non-executive member of the Board of the Norwegian Financial Supervisory Authority. He is also a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the Future of Energy, and served in different positions in the Norwegian Ministry of Finance, Total E&P Norway, and Pyry Management Consulting.
Representatives of the supporting countries
Peter Fischer is German Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates and Permanent Representative to IRENA. Previously he was Deputy Director-General for Energy and Climate Policy and Export Control at the German Federal Foreign office. His portfolio covers global energy and climate policy, as well as export control.
Mr Fischer is a career diplomat. His professional path has focused on economic and global issues, having worked at the Foreign Office in Berlin, the Office of the German President and at German missions in Washington D.C., Tel Aviv, London, Shanghai and Singapore. He holds Master’s degrees in History / Political Science from the Free University of Berlin and Georgetown university.
Hans Olav Ibrekk
Hans Olav Ibrekk is Policy Director for Energy and Climate, at the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Mr. Ibrekk previously worked at the Norwegian Agency of Development Cooperation (Norad), the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), as well as in the Secretariat for the International Conference on Water and the Environment. He has been a member of the Board of the Adaptation Fund since 2007, as well as the Board of the Nordic Development Fund (NDF). Mr. Ibrekk has been a member of the Executive Committee and the Administrative Board of the Sustainable Energy for All initiative, and served as a member on the Water and Sanitation Task Force of the Millennium Project. He is also a member of the Board of the Green Climate Fund.
Fatima Al-Foora Al Shamsi
United Arab Emirates
Fatima Al-Foora Al Shamsi is the Assistant Undersecretary for Electricity and Future Energy in the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Energy and a member of the UAE Board of Climate change & Environment.
She successfully led the team developing the UAE energy strategy 2050 and she is currently leading the UAE water security strategy. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of Emirate Authority for Standardization & Metrology (ESMA), Head of the Emirates National Grid planning and operation committee and member of board of Nawah. She is also leading the power sector techno economic study in UAE, which includes the development of energy/power market, and all activity related to energy security & future of energy, energy and water productivity & DSM, electricity& energy market, and regulations & supervision of power sector in the Ministry of Energy. Fatima Al-Foora Al Shamsi has rich background ranging from electrical engineering, renewables, business development and project management to different managerial roles. She graduated from the United Arab Emirates University with an honors degree of BS in electronics engineering and holds an honors degree MBA in Financial Management.
Technical and operational support for the Commission is provided by a small team of individuals with vital assistance from IRENA.
Senior Advisor and Secretary to the Commission
Senior Advisor and Secretary to the CommissionRuth McCoy has more than twenty years of professional experience working in the United Nations system, with governments, in public policy organisations and the not-for-profit sector. From 2007-2014, Ms. McCoy served as Chief of Staff and then Executive Director of the Kofi Annan Foundation in Geneva. During that time, she provided political support to Kofi Annan in his mediation roles in Kenya and Syria, and established a number initiatives including the Electoral Integrity Initiative and a study to examine the role of Truth Commissions in peace processes. Born in Malaysia and educated in the UK, Ms. McCoy also served in the Cabinet of the ILO Director-General (2000-2006), the Executive Office of the UN Secretary-General (1997-1999) and the Office of the President of the UN General Assembly (1995-1997). She has also worked with a number of development and environmental NGOs based in Malaysia, Kenya and the UK.
Expert AnalystKingsmill Bond is the New Energy Strategist for Carbon Tracker and a Research Partner of TS Lombard, where he offers economic and financial guidance on the implications of the energy transition. Mr. Bond has worked as a sell-side City equity analyst and strategist for over 20 years, including for Deutsche Bank, Troika Dialog and Citibank in London, Hong Kong and Moscow. He has written strategy on emerging markets and global themes, including the wider significance of the shale revolution and US energy independence. He argues that this revolution is the most important driver of financial markets and geopolitics in the modern era. He worked for many years in Russia, which is the world’s largest exporter of fossil fuels, and deeply impacted by the transition. Kingsmill has an MA in history from Cambridge University, trained as an accountant (CIMA), and is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA).
Thijs Van de Graaf
Thijs Van de GraafThijs Van de Graaf is Assistant Professor at Ghent University, Belgium, where he teaches and studies international relations and global energy politics. He is the lead editor of The Palgrave Handbook of the International Political Economy of Energy (2016) and author of The Politics and Institutions of Global Energy Governance (Palgrave, 2013). His research has appeared in journals such as Global Environmental Politics; World Development; Energy Policy; British Journal of Political Science; Climatic Change; and the Review of International Organizations, among others. His current research focuses on the interaction of fossil fuel markets and climate policy. He is also working on a new book, Global Energy Politics, for Polity Press.
A number of academic experts have provided knowledge inputs to support the Commission’s work.
Morgan BazilianMorgan Bazilian is the Executive Director of the Payne Institute and a Research Professor of Public Policy at the Colorado School of Mines. Previously, he was Lead Energy Specialist at the World Bank. He has over two decades of experience in the energy sector and is regarded as a leading expert in international affairs, policy and investment. His work has ranged from fiscal policy, to systems analysis, to infrastructure investment, to market regulation and governance in all areas of energy policy from upstream oil and gas to power systems. Dr. Bazilian holds two Master’s degrees and a PhD in areas related to energy systems and markets, and has been a Fulbright Fellow. He holds or has held, several academic affiliations including at Columbia University, Cambridge University, the Royal Institute of Technology of Sweden, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis.
Adil NajamAdil Najam is the inaugural Dean of the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University. He is also a Professor of International Relations and of Earth and Environment. Previously, Prof. Adil Najam served as Vice Chancellor of the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) in Lahore, Pakistan and as the Director of the Boston University Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future. His research focuses on issues of global public policy, especially those related to global climate change, South Asia, Muslim countries, environment and development, and human development. Prof. Najam has written over 100 scholarly papers and book chapters. His recent books include: South Asia 2060: Envisioning Regional Futures (2013); How Immigrants Impact their Homelands (2013); The Future of South-South Economic Relations (2012). He was also a co-author for the Third and Fourth Assessments of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC); work for which the scientific panel was awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for advancing the public understanding of climate change science.
Meghan O’SullivanMeghan O’Sullivan is the Jeane Kirkpatrick Professor of the Practice of International Affairs and director of the Geopolitics of Energy Project at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. Between 2004 and 2007, Dr. O’Sullivan was special assistant to President George W. Bush and Deputy National Security Advisor for Iraq and Afghanistan during the last two years of her tenure. In 2013, she served as the vice chair of the All Party Talks in Northern Ireland, which sought to resolve on-going obstacles to peace. Dr. O’Sullivan is an adjunct senior fellow at the Council of Foreign Relations and a columnist for Bloomberg View. She is on the board of United Technologies, a consultant to energy companies, a member of the International Advisory Group for the British law firm, Linklaters, and on the board of several non-profit organizations. Professor O’Sullivan was awarded the Defense Department's highest honor for civilians and, three times, the State Department's Superior Honor Award. She has a B.A. from Georgetown University and a masters and doctorate from Oxford University.
Indra OverlandIndra Overland is Research Professor and Head of the Energy Programme at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI). He did his PhD at the University of Cambridge and has since been published extensively on global energy issues. His recent publications include “Energy: The Missing Link in Globalization”, “Future Petroleum Geopolitics”, “Impact of Climate Change on ASEAN International Affairs”, and “Financial Sanctions Impact Russian Oil”. He has been awarded the Toby Jackman prize, the Marcel adieux Prize, the Stuland Prize and co-authored the most cited article published by the Journal of Eurasian Studies.
Daniel ScholtenDaniel Scholten is Assistant Professor at Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands. He specializes in the geopolitical implications of renewable energy and the governance of renewable energy systems. His research and teaching combines engineering insights with economics, political science, and the international relations in order to identify, interpret, and address the societal implications of the transition to renewable energy. Occasionally, he also writes on European integration. He has published in journals such as Technical Forecasting and Social Change, Energy, Energies, Energy Research and Social Science, Journal of Common Market Studies, Sustainability and European Review. His recent activities include the publication of “The geopolitics of renewables”, the construction of a dedicated blogpost on the topic, and two new research avenues: the peace potential of renewable energy and the divergent energy paths among EU member states.
Kirsten WestphalKirsten Westphal is Senior Analyst at the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP), the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, in Berlin. Her research focuses on energy security and international energy governance, the political economy of energy markets and its impacts on foreign energy relations and geopolitics. Dr. Kirsten’s expertise include German and EU energy governance, Eastern Europe and Eurasia as well as the Middle East and the Mediterranean region. Previously, Dr. Westphal was Assistant Professor for International Relations at JLU Giessen, and Researcher at the Center for International Development and Environmental Relations.
To strengthen the Commission’s work, views and perspectives from a range of corporate, policy and academic leaders are sought and welcomed.
During the Commission’s second meeting, the Commission held a dialogue with business leaders from DNV GL, Statnett, Engie, Enel, Total and Statkraft, as well as, the former Chief of the Armed Forces of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and the co-founder and chief scientist of the Rocky Mountain Institute.
In this context, should you have important insights on the geopolitical implications of the energy transformation, please send a written contribution of no more than 2 000 words, to firstname.lastname@example.org before 30 September 2018. All contributions received will be acknowledged in the final Report.
18-20 April 2018 Berlin, Germany
First meeting of the Commission
24-26 June 2018 Oslo, Norway
Second meeting of the Commission
1-3 September 2018 Reykjavic, Iceland
Third meeting of the Commission
27-29 November 2018 Abu Dhabi, UAE
Fourth meeting of the Commission
11-13 January 2019 Abu Dhabi, UAE, IRENA Assembly
Launch of Final Report