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Short-changed by the green transition

April 13 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Climate change is both faster and even more destructive than we feared. But the impact isn’t felt equally by everyone. The political responses to climate change can become embroiled in economic displacement, unemployment, embodied externalities and human rights abuses. The path towards decarbonisation can bring social net benefits, but it can also enhance vulnerabilities. Some individuals and communities are more vulnerable to possible adverse impacts than others.


This makes it difficult for both policymakers and consumers to connect the abstract, complex, and nonlinear processes of climate change with efforts aimed at addressing vulnerability or equitably distributing the co-benefits of climate action. Decarbonisation strategies that do not challenge relations of power and sociocultural systems, political ecologists have illustrated, may simply displace ecological destruction and extractivism for industrial development and profits to more vulnerable communities. The communities – often of colour, indigenous peoples and poor people – who live in such ecological sacrifice zones are characterised by the way they are ‘required to make disproportionate health and economic sacrifices that more affluent people can avoid.


On 13 April, we’ll be joined by SOAS Dr Michael J. Albert. He will discuss this in the context of possible energy futures and the struggle for just energy futures.



Dr Michael J. Albert is a lecturer in International Relations working at the intersection of IR and political theory, critical political economy, and the transdisciplinary study of socio-ecological systems. His current book project, titled Mapping and Navigating the Planetary Crisis Convergence, analyses the convergence between ecological, political-economic, and energy crises in order to illuminate possibilities for world system transformation in the coming decades. He is also interested in counter-hegemonic movements – including degrowth, ecosocialism, solidarity economies, and peasant-based agroecology movements – and their potential for creating alternative political economies as the crises of global capitalism and the earth system intensify. His future work will investigate the problem of meaning and existential crises in an era of far-right populism and planetary breakdown. Read more about Dr Michael Albert on SOAS’ website.



Jonathan Farr is Senior Policy Analyst for Climate Change in WaterAid’s Global Policy Team – working on boosting finance for climate adaptation; long term threats to water security; and community resilience.

Prior to joining WaterAid Jonathan was First Secretary for Climate Change at the British Embassy in Beijing working on Emissions Trading, Clean Transport and the Low Carbon Economy. Jonathan has also covered the climate science, nuclear energy and renewable energy briefs as press spokesman at the UK Department for Energy and Climate Change (now BEIS), as well working in external communications for the Foreign Office, Department for International Development, and the Downing Street Press Office. Find out more about Jonathan on LinkedIn.


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Photo by Hermes Rivera on Unsplash.


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