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While processes of unmaking high-carbon relations are anticipated to ripple through society as nations seek to meet climate goals, they are expected to be most pronounced in the regions where fossil fuels are extracted, and where a multitude of social, economic and political relations are tied up in them.

In this project I will conduct research in three of these regions. These are (provisionally): the oil city of Aberdeen in Scotland, the natural gas region of Groningen in the Netherlands, and the coal plains of Southern Alberta in Canada.

Image by Oliver Paaske




These three regions are each subject to different (and contradictory) attempts to unmake high-carbon infrastructures within and beyond them: The Scottish Government has set up a Just Transitions Commission (while also being reluctant to end oil extraction prematurely); the Dutch Government has set a target to phase out natural gas extraction by 2030 (but without clear indication how this transition is to be managed); and the Alberta State Government has developed a Coal Community Transition Support Programme (while private companies are exploring options for new coal mines). In each of these cases I will explore how these different political approaches interact with local and extralocal social, economic and material relations.Through focusing on recent attempts to unmake the energy infrastructures in these regions, these three examples will offer unique opportunities to analyse the ways in which different actors negotiate uncertainty and instability in their attempts to establish preferred pathways of unmaking. They will highlight the uneven ways in which the future is imagined, and subsequently enacted.

More information on each case study will be available in due course.

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