Hoffmann C & Ergenc C (2023) A Greening Dragon in the Desert? China’s Role in the Geopolitical Ecology of Decarbonisation in the Eastern Mediterranean. Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies, 25 (2), pp. 82-101. https://doi.org/10.1080/19448953.2022.2131079
The new geopolitics of energy in the Eastern Mediterranean is not determined by hydrocarbons anymore. A significant expansion of renewables is underway. Driven by a surge in ‘Green Finance’ and decarbonization policies, this development changes conventional relationships of dependency. This takes place in an environment, where Asian and Western energy security strategies rapidly evolve in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. North Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean play a central role in this repositioning. China, far from merely being a dinosaur, is the largest producer of renewable energy. It also invests in infrastructure abroad, including Egypt. The largest Arab nation not only seeks to become a global energy hub, but also a decarbonization champion, as reflected in the hosting of COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh. This article will look at these developments, including its internal and external contradictions to understand the motivation behind China’s commitment to Egyptian solar expansion. It will demonstrate that, while part of a global political economy of decarbonization, China’s main motivation for investing in renewables in the Eastern Mediterranean remains geostrategic, tied to its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). This, in turn, informs how we think of the Geo-Political Ecology of Decarbonization in the region.
Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies: Volume 25, Issue 2
|Publication date online
|Date accepted by journal