It has long been understood that the climate crisis has different implications for low and medium-income countries than for others. Within this grouping of more than a hundred independent states, many for whom any transition beyond fossil fuels will be very difficult. This Research Insight focuses on one group of states that are committed to making commitments under the Paris Agreement and which have a history of cooperation, loosely as members of the Commonwealth, and asks if there are lessons to be learned from their initial steps to move beyond oil and gas dependence. If there are, they could be given some support from within that grouping of states.
Out of 54 states that are members of the Commonwealth, no less than 23 have a material stake in oil and gas development. A few of these are high-income states, while most fall into the other categories. Petroleum remains a key driver of broader economic development in this group, with export success dependent upon available geology, the level of international prices obtained in the marketplace, geographical location and quality of governance. Each of these states is now constructing a pathway to an energy transition that reflects its own circumstances.
This Research Insight examines five states within this grouping of petroleum dependent states, each with widely different economic circumstances but committed to making Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement. All five – Bangladesh, Cameroon, Pakistan, Trinidad and Tobago, and the UK – are heavily reliant on fossil fuels for the majority of their current energy needs.