It is widely accepted that the rising power of the BRIC countries—Brazil,
Russia, India and China—has the potential to re-shape the international system.
However, little attention has been given to the BRICs’ role in a growing area
of strategic importance: global energy governance. While global governance
scholars now argue that the international energy architecture requires substantive
reform to keep pace with the rapid transformations in global energy markets,
largely driven by the BRICs, it is not clear what role these countries will play in
future governance arrangements. Drawing on recent scholarship in global governance
and international negotiations, interviews with G20 energy officials, and
the observations of the author, a past delegate to G20 negotiations, this article
examines whether the BRICs as a coalition have the capacity and willingness to
drive substantive global energy governance reform. In doing so, it highlights the
problems with the BRICs as a coalition on energy and considers the prospects for
energy reform in light of China’s increasing engagement with energy governance
ahead of it hosting the G20 Summit in 2016.