There is growing international focus on how to support more integrated approaches to addressing climate change in ways that capture synergies and minimise the trade-offs between climate change mitigation, adaptation and development. These aims are embodied in the concept of climate compatible development (CCD).

This paper looks at the ways in which clean energy is being governed in India. It analyses and seeks to explain the nature of governance arrangements and policy-making processes around the development of energy sources and technologies defined as ‘clean’ both by the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and beyond.

Global policies and instruments to tackle climate change look very different once translated into domestic programmes of action, reflecting varied institutional capacity, competing priorities, and diverse political cultures and political economies. In light of these variations, this article analyses how clean energy is governed in India, both through and beyond the Clean Development Mechanism. Governance processes are assessed across a number of scales, including various actors involved in mobilising finance and providing political and institutional support for clean energy.

This overview discusses a series of themes critical to understanding the governance of clean development that cut across each of the case studies showcased in this special issue.

This paper constructs a framework for understanding and explaining the governance of clean development in order to generate insights about who is governing clean development, by what means, for whom and how effectively.