By Sally Benjamin
The first talk for Durham University Geographical Society saw Dr Joshua Kirshner, from the University of York, present “Energy Access, Scale, and Subnational Politics in Mozambique and Bolivia.”
The talk focused on infrastructural development in energy production and resources. This has particular economic and geopolitical agendas attached to it. Dr Kirshner examined the implications that this has on a country’s ability to develop its sustainable energy capabilities and the far reaching social and economic effects.
Pipelines stretch across the length of Mozambique exporting energy to the rapidly developing Republic of South Africa, while much of the poor population cannot access the electricity needed to provide basic amenities. Stark contrasts like these are all too common in energy geographies, with governments frequently bypassing funding basic infrastructure for their citizens. In the case of Mozambique, large-scale hydropower schemes are undertaken at the expense of local energy development.
In relation to Bolivia, Dr Kirshner discussed the first indigenous President, Evo Morales, impact on the country’s energy sector. Bolivia is one of the poorest countries in South America where access to energy is an important political issue.
There were also reflections on whether comparisons can be made between Mozambique and Bolivia, which although markedly different in location are experiencing similar issues. It is important not to generalise but, by comparing countries we can look at the world’s energy problems.
Public interest can only grow in relation to projects like Dr Kirschner’s, as issues of climate change and diminishing natural resources grow greater.
The next talk will be by Durham Geography graduate Ian Baggett of Adderstone Housing Group on November 8th 2016 in W007 Geography Department (time TBC).
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Photo Credit: Creative Commons