The Department of Globalization and Climate Governance focuses on policies, discourses, transformations and conflicts of climate governance. Our theoretical approach is informed by critical governance research and global environmental governance, debates on climate and energy justice, postcolonial studies, international political economy and development anthropology.
In the BMBF-funded research project H2POLITICS we deal with the socio-ecological and developmental impacts of Germany's National Hydrogen Strategy for countries in the Global South. Due to the import-orientation of the German hydrogen strategy, wind- and sun-rich countries in the Global South are brought into the focus for the production of green hydrogen for export to Germany in order to contribute to the German energy transition. While debates have so far focused on the techno-economic potentials and limits of global hydrogen supply chains, we focus on the socio-ecological and developmental impacts of hydrogen projects and hydrogen partnerships in and with countries of the Global South.
Within the framework of the BMBF research group GLOCALPOWER (University of Hamburg and University of Kassel), our team is investigating governance and the political economy of African energy transitions with case studies in Ghana, Zambia and South Africa. We focus on potentials, challenges and pathways for a just energy transition, but also carbon lock-ins and interventions into energy sovereignty. Furthermore, the financialisation of development cooperation - embodied, for example, in green bonds, green funds or derisking - is another important field of research for which we mobilize approaches from the fields of political economy, postcolonial theory and governmentality.
Postcolonial climate governance – a newly emerging field of global environmental governance – is relevant for our research with regard to REDD+ programs and political cooperation at the energy/development nexus. We explore modes of governance, resilience, strategies of subjectification and the ‘discovery’ of the subaltern.
Research on the Anthropocene and its challenges for theories of international relations is the third and more abstract pillar of our research.
The textbook "International Relations in the Anthropocene" (edited together with Delf Rothe and David Chandler) highlights the importance of the Anthropocene as a challenge to traditional frameworks of thinking in the discipline of International Relations by referring to the disruptions and new entanglements the Anthropocene condition provides for IR.
Our empirical work combines a variety of methodological approaches, including mixed-method designs, qualitative interviews, policy mapping, political ethnography and participatory action research.
Some of our team members consider themselves academic activists and have been active for many years in transnational movements for climate and energy justice.