in: Ecological Indicators 111 (April) (online first)
Indicators are an essential component of national strategies and policies relating to energy transition and regulation. Both China and Germany are expected to take the lead on the global effort to achieve clean energy and a reduction in GHG emissions. A better understanding of the institutional environment in both countries will guide those who follow them. By using text analysis, we have examined the main energy indicators used in official strategies and policies and divided them into ten categories. We have found that both countries value renewable energy as a solution to energy transition, although in China “non-fossil energy” appears more often in political documents, and “nuclear energy” is valued as an important source. In Germany, short-, medium- and long-term indicators are clearly stated and are consistent over time and between documents. Meanwhile, in China the indicators and targets are updated every five years, which fits with the rapid domestic development of the country but fails to provide a clear long-term vision. We argue that the roots of such differences can be found in governance systems, the global energy market, and national political and economic priorities, and that international cooperation is needed to standardize energy indicators so that the global energy transition can be navigated more effectively.