Extractivism and the energy transition in the MENA region

Key information

5:00 pm
SOAS KLT & Online
Khalili Lecture Theatre

About this event

Hamza Hamouchene will be speaking about his latest book, Dismantling Green Colonialism: Energy and Climate Justice in the Arab Region, providing a decolonial examination of the climate crisis. 

Human-made climate change is already a reality in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), undermining the ecological and socioeconomic basis of life in the region. Addressing this 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 MENA 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.

Several examples from the region show how extractivism and energy colonialism are reproduced even in transitions to renewable energy in the form of green colonialism or green grabbing. From mega-solar projects in Morocco to wind farms in occupied Palestine/Golan Heights and Western Sahara and from the push to privatise renewable energy for export in Tunisia and Jordan to the green hydrogen hype in the region, passing by the expansion of fossil fuel projects in Algeria and Egypt in the name of ending the EU’s reliance on Russian gas, the same relations of extraction and same practices of enclosure/grabbing are maintained.

A just transition in the region must challenge the extension of these (neo)colonial dynamics of plunder and dispossession as well as the dehumanisation of the other through the creation of new/green sacrifice zones. 

About the speaker

Hamza Hamouchene is a London-based Algerian researcher activist. He is the North Africa Programme Coordinator at the Translational Institute (TNI). His books include The Arab Uprisings and The Struggle for Energy Democracy in the Maghreb. He writes for various publications including the Guardian, HuffPost and openDemocracy

Chair: Gilbert Achcar, Professor of of Development Studies

This event is part of the SOAS Development Studies and Development for Transformation Centre (DevTraC) Seminar Series.

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Image by Savvas Kalimeris via Unsplash