Johannes Urpelainen

Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Professor of Energy, Resources, and Environment, Johns Hopkins University
Areas of Expertise:
  • International Development
  • Policy in Other Countries
  • Climate Change
  • Energy
  • Environment

Connect with Johannes

About Johannes

Urpelainen’s research focuses on environmental and energy issues. He is interested in identifying feasible political strategies and policy instruments that contribute to a more sustainable society. Current research priorities include strategies to ensure the sustainable growth of renewable energy in industrialized and emerging economies, policies and business models for providing energy access to the poor in developing countries, solutions to partisan conflicts over the environment in American politics, and strategies to dismantle fossil fuel subsidies.


Winning Public Arguments about Renewable Energy



"The International Renewable Energy Agency: A Success Story in Institutional Innovation?" (with Thijs Van de Graaf). International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics 15, no. 2 (2013): 159-177.

Examines the role of International Renewable Energy Agency in the promotion of renewable energy.

"Political Competition, Path Dependence, and the Strategy of Sustainable Energy Transitions" (with Michaël Aklin). American Journal of Political Science 57, no. 3 (2013): 643-658.

Analyzes when and how governments invest into the development of sustainable energy sources and manage their growth over time.

"Instruments of Political Control National Oil Companies, Oil Prices, and Petroleum Subsidies" (with Andrew Cheon and Maureen Lackner). Comparative Political Studies 48, no. 3 (2015): 370-402.

Offers theory and evidence on the detrimental role of national oil companies in perpetuating fossil fuel subsidies.

"Interests, Institutions, and Climate Policy: Explaining the Choice of Policy Instruments for the Energy Sector" (with Llewelyn Hughes). Environmental Science & Policy 54 (2015): 52-63.

Discusses general political economy theory of climate policy in the energy sector.

Renewables: The Political History of a Global Energy Transition (with Michaël Aklin) (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming).

Discusses the political history and future of renewable energy.

In the News

Johannes Urpelainen quoted on electrification in India, "Electrified All Villages, Claims Modi; Rahul Says yet another Lie" Business Standard, April 30, 2018.
Johannes Urpelainen quoted on electrification policy in India, "Kudos Narendra Modi! India Set to Meet Village Electrification Target, but the Job Has Just Begun" Financial Express, April 27, 2018.
Johannes Urpelainen quoted in Rahul Tongia and Puneet Kamboj, "Is Future Planning of Electricity Grid Keeping India’s Pace of Development in Mind?" Brookings, March 1, 2018.
Interview on climate change agreementsJohannes Urpelainen, Living on Earth, December 16, 2011.
"How Not to Talk about Climate Change," Johannes Urpelainen (with Michaël Aklin), The Washington Post, May 22, 2014.
Interview on global climate policiesJohannes Urpelainen, The Climate Group, January 24, 2015.
Regular contributionsJohannes Urpelainen to Ideas for India.
Regular contributionsJohannes Urpelainen to The Energy Collective.
Regular contributionsJohannes Urpelainen to Climate Politics Blog.