Areas of Interest & Expertise
Renewable Energy, Nuclear Power, Human Development and Capability Approach, Local Governance, Green Economy, Technology, Environment and Society Studies, Geopolitics and Sustainability
Manu Mathai is a faculty with the School of Development.
Manu’s teaching and research intersects themes of (energy) policy and governance, (energy) technology choice and sustainability. His work explores alternatives to the development status quo for realising greater fairness in human well-being outcomes within the constraints of ecological finitude. In terms of methodology, his interdisciplinary training in the social and natural sciences have rendered him appreciative of an inclusive approach.
He has previously taught at the Institute of Advanced Studies at the United Nations University and the Department of Science, Technology and Society/Public Policy at the Rochester Institute of Technology. He was a Research Associate at the Centre for Energy and Environmental Policy at the University of Delaware.
An online and interdisciplinary course with many instructors that offers an introduction to sustainability within the context of development in India.
Publications and Writings
Mathai, M.V. (2013). Nuclear Power, Economic Development Discourse and the Environment: The Case of India. New York and London: Routledge.
Dale, G., Mathai, M.V., & Puppim de Oliveira, J.A. (Eds.) (2016). Green Growth: Ideology, Political Economy and the Alternatives. London: Zed Books.
Journal Articles and Book Chapters
- Mathai, M. V. , Puppim de Oliveira, J., & Dale, G. (2018). The Rise and Flaws of Green Growth. APN Science Bulletin, 8(1). doi:10.30852/sb.2018.359
- Mathai, M. V. (2018). Approaching Sufficiency in the Global South. In Leida Rijnhout and Riccardo Mastini (Eds.), Sufficiency: Moving Beyond the Gospel of Eco-Efficiency. Brussels: Friends of the Earth Europe.
- Mathai, M. V. & Narayan, P. S. (2017). The Paris Climate Change Agreement and after. Current Science Vol. 112, No. 6., pp. 1099 – 1100.
- Dale, G., Mathai, M.V., & Puppim de Oliveira, J.A. (2016). Introduction. In Dale, G., Mathai, M.V., & Puppim de Oliveira, J.A. (Eds.) Green Growth: Ideology, Political Economy and the Alternatives. London: Zed Books.
- Mathai, M. V. & Kartikasari, K. (2015) Institutional Framework for Low-Carbon Urban Infrastructure Investment: Some Evidence and Lessons from DKI Jakarta, Indonesia, Journal of Comparative Asian Development, 14(2), 319 – 349, DOI: 10.1080/15339114.2015.1059056
- Gasparatos, A., von Maltitz G.P., Johnson, F.X., Lee, L., Mathai, M., Puppim de Oliveira, J.A., & Willis, K.J. (2015) Biofuels in sub-Sahara Africa: Drivers, impacts and priority policy areas. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 45 (2015) 879 – 901.
- Ahmad, S., Mathai, M. V. & Parayil, G. (2014) Household Electricity Access, Availability and Human Well-being: Evidence from India. Energy Policy 69, (June), 308 – 315.
- Gasparatos, A., Lee, L., von Maltitz, G., Mathai, M.V., de Oliveira, J. A. P., Johnson, F. X., & Willis, K. J. (2013) International and the National Policy Interventions for Catalyzing Biofuel Sustainability in Sub-Sahara Africa. Environmental Policy and Law 43(4 – 5), pp 216 — 221.
- Mathai, M.V., & Parayil, G. (2012). Toward Equity and Sustainability in the “Green Economy.” In Jose A. Puppim de Oliveira (Ed.). Green Economy and Good Governance for Sustainable Development: Opportunities, Promises and Concerns, Tokyo: UNU Press.
- Mathai, M.V. (2012). Towards a Sustainable Synergy: End-Use Energy Planning, Development as Freedom, Inclusive Institutions and Democratic Technics. In Ilse Oosterlaken and Jeroen van den Hoven (eds.). The Capability Approach, Technology and Design. Philosophy of Engineering and Technology Book Series. Vol. 5, pp 87 – 112. Dordrecht: Springer.
- Mathai, M.V. (2009). Elements of an Alternative to Nuclear Power as a Response to the Energy-Environment Crisis in India: Development as Freedom and a Sustainable Energy Utility. Bulletin of Science, Technology and Society, 29 (2), 139 – 150.
- Mathai, M. V. (2018). Effecting Alternative Development: Imagination and Practice. Paper presented at the The Third International Symposium on Development and Governance in the BRICS. Sao Paulo, December, 2018.
- Mathai, M. V. (2018). “Sustainable Structures of Living Together” for Imagining Degrowth in Energy Policy. Paper presented at the First North-South Conference on Degrowth. Mexico City, September, 2018.
- Mathai, M.V. & Parayil, G. (2014) “Power, Nuclear Power and the Environment: Normative and Policy Dilemmas Confronting South Asia and Beyond”. Center for South Asian Studies, University of Hawaii, April 15 – 17th.
- Mathai, M.V., Parayil, G., & Suwa, A. (2013). A Framework for Developing Governance Indicators for a Low Carbon Societies Context in Asia: Transition or Continuity? Semi- plenary II, Earth System Governance Tokyo Conference (28 – 31st January 2013).
- Jani, O., Byrne, J., Mathai, M. V., Kumar, A., & Buch, V. (2009). A Sustainable Photovoltaic Roadmap and Policy Initiative for Gujarat, India. 18th International Photovoltaic Science and Engineering Conference and Exhibition, Kolkata, India.
- Scoltes, F., & Mathai, M.V. (2005). The Capability Approach as a Response to the Environment-Development Crisis. Human Development and Capability Association (HDCA) Strategy Workshop, May, University of Maryland at College Park, MD, USA.
- Mathai, M.V. (2004). Exploring Freedom In a Global Ecology: Sen’s Capability Approach as a response to the Development-Environment Crisis. 4th International Conference on the Capability Approach: Enhancing Human Security, University of Pavia, Italy. (5 – 7th September 2004).
- Mathai, M.V. (2003). Case Studies: Observations on Operationalizing Sen’s Capability Approach. 3rd Conference on the Capability Approach: From Sustainable Development to Sustainable Freedom, University of Pavia, Italy. (7 – 9th September 2003).
- Chandran, R., Chong, N.S.T., Doll, C.N.H., Lee, L.Y., Mathai, M.V., Nguyen, K. and Parayil, G. (2013). Bytes Beyond Borders: Strengthening Transboundary Information Sharing on Wildlife Crime through the Wildlife Enforcement Monitoring System (WEMS) Initiative. Policy Brief (pp. 8). United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies, Yokohama.
- Gasparatos, A., Lee, Y. L., von Maltitz, G. P., Mathai, M. V., Puppim de Oliveira, J. A., & Willis, K. J. (2012). Biofuels in Africa: Impacts on Ecosystem Services, Biodiversity and Human Well-being. United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies.
- Byrne, J., Kurdgelashvilli, K., Mathai, M.V., Kumar, K., Yu, J‑M, Zhang, X., Tian, J., Rickerson, W. (2010). World Solar Energy Review: Technology, Markets and Policies. Newark, DE: Center for Energy and Environmental Policy, University of Delaware.
- As drafting committee member. (2009). Delaware Energy Plan. The Governor’s Energy Advisory Council. Dover, Delaware.
- Roe, A., Mathai, M.V., Boekhold, van B., Kasper, D., & Kuholski, K. (2008−2009). Knowledge of Power — Energy Education Series. Center for Energy and Environmental Policy, Newark, DE. [A set of 4 presentations, a workbook and a board game, covering energy basics, efficiency and conservation.]
- Roe, A., Mathai, M.V., Byrne, J., Lake, K., & Gunter, B. (2006). UHELP Responds to Community Health and Environmental Needs. Newark, DE: Center for Energy and Environmental Policy, University of Delaware.
- Prepared by Center for Energy and Environmental Policy (CEEP). (2005) Cooperation in Sustainable Energy Technology Development: U.S. Activities in South and Southeast Asia. Country-by-Country Reports.
- “Wilderness Conservation and a Flawed Imagination of Nature.” The Bastion (May 2020) (With Madhuri Ramesh).
- “Coronavirus: Virus of prejudice.” Deccan Herald (April 2020).
- “COVID-19 Pandemic: An Opportunity to Restructure India and the World’s Political Economy?” The Wire, (April 2020). Available at: https://thewire.in/political-economy/covid-19-pandemic-an-opportunity-to-restructure-india-and-the-worlds-political-economy
- “In India, the Discourse of Environmental Governance Is Always Rooted in the Future Tense” The Wire (July 2018).
- “Will the Environment Survive International Relations?” Our World 2.0 (June 2013).
- “Nuclear Power at What Cost?” (April 2013) Economic & Political Weekly, 48(15), 17 – 20.
- “Green Economy at 40” China Dialogue (June 2012). Available at:
- “Green Economy and Growth: Fiddling While Rome Burns?” Our World 2.0 (January 2012).
- “Fukushima and India: Lessons in Sobriety. Janata, Vol. 66. No. 14. (May 2011). (Also in Hindi in the April (2011) special number on nuclear power of Samayik Varta)
- “Energy Infrastructure and Democratic Space: A Case for Decentralization.” IEEE USA Today’s Engineer Online, Opinion. (January/February 2007).
- “Voices of Power and Whimpers of Values: A Challenge to Animating the Capability Approach.” Maitreyee (March 2005).
- “The Road to Starvation.” (with Ashwin Mahesh) IndiaTogether. (April 2003)
- “White Elephant in a Green Forest.” (with Leo F. Saldanha, Bhargavi S. Rao and Robert John) IndiaTogether (September 2000).
Training workshop and edited volume on “Green growth: Political ideology, political economy and policy alternatives.” Funded by Asia Pacific Network — Global Change Research (APN-GCR) Scientific Capacity Development (CAPaBLE) Grant.