Dumas, M.,Rising, J.,Urpelainen, J.

Climate change mitigation requires sustainable energy transitions, but their political dynamics are poorly understood. This article presents a general dynamic model of renewable energy policy with long time horizons, endogenous electoral competition, and techno-political path dependence. We calibrate the model with data on the economics of contemporary renewable energy technologies. In doing so, we discover transition dynamics not present in economy-energy models, which ignore politics, or in formal political economy models, which ignore long-term technological dynamics. We show that the largest effects of partisan ideology on policy occur when the competing parties disagree on the importance of energy policy. In these cases, the less ideological party appeases the more ideological one, while the more ideological party attempts to appease the electorate. The results demonstrate that political dynamics could have large effects on the development of renewable energy and carbon dioxide emissions over time, influencing the ability of countries to reach various climate mitigation trajectories.