This article explores the role of states and industrial policy in shaping the historical coevolution of energy and international order. I explore how states, by narrowly self-interested pecuniary goals, the desire for geopolitical advantage, and concerns about the political ramifications of domestic economic structure, use industrial policy to encourage the development of energy-intensive transportation and agricultural systems. Over time, increasingly energy-intensive systems allowed an increasingly complex international order to develop, one characterized by significant differentiation and specialization organized over a geographically expansive area. This contemporary complex order is dependent on fossil fuels. I argue that states retain geopolitical and domestic political incentives to use green industrial policy to develop the technologies needed to transition away from this fossil fuel dependence, but industrial policy today faces greater challenges than it did in the past.

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