15 February 2021

Natural Gas. The new ‘green’ resource curse?

While natural gas is considered a low-carbon alternative to other fossil fuels in the quest to transition to renewable energy, its exploration has security, environmental and geopolitical implications for the regions where it is found. In Mozambique, a large natural gas field has drawn in foreign investors, while construction of infrastructure has displaced thousands of people and violent insurgency-related to the gas field is threatening the local population.

A natural gas field off the coast of Cyprus is escalating tensions between Greece and Turkey, flaring up the tense relations between the EU and Turkey and around the unresolved divide of Cyprus. This Clingendael policy brief analyses and compares the implications of natural gas extraction in Mozambique and Cyprus. It concludes that natural gas does not necessarily imply a new form of the resource curse but framing it as ‘less harmful’ than other fossil fuels turns a blind eye on its political, security and environmental implications. Preferably, investments in natural gas should be redirected to renewable energy and transparency of financial and diplomatic ties between Mozambique and donor countries should be enhanced. Yet, natural gas at the same time could be an entry point to normalise relations between the EU and Turkey. 

"Framing LNG as another resource curse does not do justice to the broader context of security implications of fossil fuel extraction. Therefore, in order to judge the potential impact of LNG, not only (geo)political or economic dimensions should be considered, but also its (future) environmental and subsequent (human) security implications"


Read the full policy brief recommendation HERE

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