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Renewable Energies, Renewed Authoritarianisms?

Natalie Koch: After Oil: Energy Transition and Gulf Geopolitics

“Post-oil” futures are being promoted with great fanfare across the Arabian Peninsula today – spectacular sustainability mega-projects and financial structures are all working to “green” the region’s oil money. Taking the example of the United Arab Emirates, I show that Gulf sustainability projects cannot be reduced to cynical acts of “greenwashing,” but are active strategies to adapt Western sustainability discourses in their efforts to take control of defining a new “post-oil” geopolitics for the region. This is a geopolitical vision that is less about promoting democratic values and energy justice, and more about preserving authoritarian, capitalist values that the Gulf’s fossil fuel system has been built upon – and promoted globally.

Hamza Hamouchene: Toward a Just Transition in North Africa: Dismantling Energy Colonialism

Human-made climate change is already a reality in North Africa, undermining the ecological and socioeconomic basis of life in the region. Addressing the global climate crisis requires a rapid and drastic reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions, but if a transition towards renewable energies has become inevitable, justice has not.

Mainstream coverage of the region represents it as an Eldorado of renewable energy not only capable of satisfying its own energy needs but also able to export huge surpluses to Europe. This talk will challenge this deceptive narrative that obfuscates questions of ownership and sovereignty and that masks ongoing global relations of neo-colonial domination that facilitate the plunder of resources, the privatisation of commons and the dispossession of communities, consolidating thus undemocratic and exclusionary ways of governing the transition.

Prof. Dr. Natalie Koch (Department of Geography, Syracuse University & Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS), Potsdam)

Dr. Hamza Hamouchene (Programme Coordinator North Africa, Transnational Institute (TNI) & founding member of Algeria Solidarity Campaign and Environmental Justice North Africa)

Dr. Benjamin Schütze, Young Academy for Sustainability Research & Arnold-Bergstraesser-Institute (Moderation)
Jun.-Prof. Dr. Rosa Lehmann, Heidelberg Center for Ibero-American Studies
Dr. Alke Jenss, Arnold-Bergstraesser-Institute
Dr. Thilo Wiertz, Young Academy for Sustainability Research & Institute of Geography at the University of Freiburg

The event will take place onsite at Hörsaal Fahnenbergplatz and will be streamed Live. You can attend online via this link:


Address of the event:
Hörsaal Fahnenberg-platz
Friedrichstraße 39, 79098 Freiburg im Breisgau

Photo: Western Sahara Resource Watch