Call for abstracts: The new green global division of labour: Emerging geographies of decarbonisation

The ongoing shift away from fossil fuels has sometimes been framed as a ‘green energy race’ among states, each competing with one another on national missions to develop and deploy renewables. Complicating this picture, various economies across both global North and South are specialising within new geographies of production for green energy infrastructure, with attendant cross-border interdependencies and inequalities coming increasingly into focus. Unequal relationships and capabilities, however, do not merely replicate a familiar North-South, centre-periphery geography, but are forming around new patterns of production, trade, finance and governance.

The US, Japan and some European states comprised the first movers in green energy manufacture and innovation and continue to play important roles. Nevertheless, China now increasingly occupies a central position within this emerging global green division of labour, as a dominant manufacturer, installer and exporter, combined with key roles in innovation, standard-setting and export financing. The picture is mixed across the rest of the global South, despite the widely touted opportunities for technological ‘leapfrogging’, which renewable technologies may offer. Some states, particularly in East Asia, have become manufacturing hubs for wind and solar, while others such as India have struggled to reconcile competing priorities in rapidly increasing deployment while building a domestic production base. Further, as the rollout of renewables proceeds, the increasing significance of critical metals and minerals such as copper, zinc, manganese, lithium and rare earths raises questions around sites of extraction and the terms of their integration into green global production networks. Within this schema, complexes of private and public interests at national and transnational level are shaping the unequal developmental possibilities and constraints produced by the emerging geographies of decarbonisation.

We plan to hold a conference in Manchester on 17 October 2022 to discuss some of these emerging themes, with a view to producing an edited volume. We retain a broad ambit for the conference and would welcome abstracts on any of these subjects. After the first conference, we will hold a follow-up conference in early 2023 to finalise the edited collection.

Possible topics may include:

  • Theorising the green global division of labour
  • The evolving global production networks/global value chains for solar PV, on- and offshore wind, and associated sectors such as battery storage.

  • Offshoring of green energy manufacturing (e.g. solar PV manufacturing in SE Asia).

  • National and transnational approaches to renewables governance (e.g. trade, intellectual property) and standard setting.

  • Competition and complementarities among leading states in green energy (e.g. Germany, China, US, South Korea).

  • The political economy and geoeconomics of key minerals for the energy transition (e.g. copper, manganese, lithium, rare earths).

  • Multilateral, bilateral and private development finance of green industries internationally. Including comparisons with multilateral finance and with Chinese funding of fossil fuel projects overseas.

  • The domestic political economies of key states’ energy mixes and future prospects for decarbonisation.

  • Cross-case comparisons by country  (e.g. India, Japan, Brazil, Germany, South Korea, Spain, Vietnam) and/or sector (e.g. green energy vs. renewables, solar vs. wind)

Please consider submitting a chapter abstract of 200 words and an author bio of 100 words, including author name(s) and affiliation.

Send everything to Nicholas Jepson ( and Niall Duggan (

Any other inquiries may also be directed to them.

Deadline for submission: 16 September 2022

Conference: 17 October 2022 (in Manchester)

Funding is available to support travel (within Europe), accommodation and subsistence for a limited number of conference attendees. This will be a hybrid event, so accepted authors may also choose to participate remotely via Zoom. Please indicate your preferred option when submitting your abstract.


–          Dr Nicholas Jepson Global Development Institute, School of Environment, Education and Development, University of Manchester

–          Dr Niall Duggan, Department of Government and Politics, School of Society, Politics and Ethics, University College Cork

–     Dr Pritish Behuria, Global Development Institute, School of Environment, Education and Development, University of Manchester

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