We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Department of Geography

Departmental Research Projects

The Rising Powers: Clean Development and Low Carbon Transitions in Southern Africa

A research project of the Department of Geography.


The Rising Powers, Clean Energy and the Low Carbon Transition in Southern Africa is a three-year project, which seeks to examine how, why and to what extent China, Brazil and India are enabling the transition to low carbon energy systems in South Africa and Mozambique. This interdisciplinary research project, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), will run from 2012 to 2015 under the leadership of Professor Marcus Power. The project will develop new frameworks for analysis in order to systematically compare the roles that the Rising Powers, including China, Brazil and India, are playing in facilitating the transition to low carbon energy systems in South Africa and Mozambique. In particular, it will analyse how Rising Powers actors are shaping the provision of energy services for productive uses, such as for cooking, lighting and mobility, and it will assess the consequent implications for the affordability, accessibility, and sustainability of energy services in the region. The project also seeks to assess the implications for the wider governance of energy and climate change at the local, national, regional and global scales.

The research project involves a team of academics from the universities of Durham (Department of Geography), Sussex (School of Global Studies and Science Policy Research Unit) and the University of Cape Town’s Energy Research Unit. These institutions are working together with the UK-based NGO Practical Action and the Brazilian Centre for Strategic Studies and Management. The team will conduct research in South Africa, Mozambique, Brazil, China and India, which will consist of semi-structured interviews and community-based participatory research methods. The project seeks to build capacity, to foster knowledge exchange and policy dialogue and to build cross-disciplinary and transnational research networks concerned with the role of the Rising Powers in facilitating low carbon transitions in Southern Africa.


Project Leader

From the Department of Geography

Related links

Further information

For further information, please contact Professor Marcus Power.