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Energy colonialism, green extractivism or just transition? Struggles over global energy futures

When: Tuesday, February 6, 2024, 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Where: Geography Common Room, 1st floor, Geography Building, Queen Mary University of London, Mile End Road, London E1 4NS


The IHSS Re-thinking Work research programme seminar with Prof Dr Franziska Müller, Dr Tobias Kalt & Dr Jenny Simon (all from University of Hamburg)

Countries in the global South rich in wind, solar and fossil gas resources are positioning themselves as future producers and exporters in the global energy market. This shift comes with the risk of repeating extractivist patterns through which burdens are shifted onto Southern economies, ecologies, and communities, as illustrated by the emerging green hydrogen rush. This talk will discuss the concept of energy colonialism to shed light on how past, present, and future energy systems are shaped by (neo)colonial imaginaries and practices. We argue that energy colonialism offers a new critical perspective on energy transitions that foregrounds green finance, green geopolitics, energy infrastructures and global energy governance. We illustrate this argument with reference to the contested character of the green hydrogen transition in South Africa and the ongoing struggles to shape the political-economic orientation of the emergent hydrogen sector. While a green-extractivist orientation is dominant, this orientation is being challenged by political initiatives that pursue fossilist, green developmentalist or energy justice transition pathways.

If you require more information, please contact Will Monteith at

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