CESET Co-I Josh Kirshner presented in a panel on ‘Energy colonialism: Roots, racialization, recurrent patterns,’ hosted by the Colonial-Postcolonial-Decolonial Working Group at the British International Studies Association (BISA) conference 2022 - held in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, June 15-17th. Professor Franziska Müller and Johanna Tunn (both at the University of Hamburg, Germany) were panel chair and organizer.
Energy colonialism is an essential, yet scarcely theorized concept for understanding how past, present, and future energy systems have been shaped by imperial and neocolonial imaginaries and practices. These perspectives are important in contemporary debates on energy transitions amid the climate crisis, namely regarding green finance flows, new green geopolitics, and energy governance.
This panel aimed to initiate conversations that suggest new ways to understand and research energy transitions, by focusing on resource distribution along gendered and racialized lines, on the ways in which developmental imaginaries and colonial ideas shape energy partnerships, on green finance flows and neocolonial patterns of green finance tools. Josh’s talk drew on postcolonial critique and applied it to energy governance in Mozambique. It explored recurrent themes of energy colonialism through examining electricity exports and extractive relations within Mozambique’s energy system and transition. It touched on CESET as an alternative example of collaborative approaches to rethink energy governance and promote more egalitarian, distributed systems that foreground local needs in East Africa. The session was well-attended, with additional talks focused on Germany’s and the European Green Hydrogen Strategy and British Columbia Utilities Commission’s (BCUC) Indigenous Utilities Regulation Inquiry in Canada.
[Image credit: GettyImages-1129723287_Tom Kulitze EyeEm]