Geopolitics of the Energy Transition: Potentials for EU-LAC Partnerships

At the global level, attempts at an energy transition that liberates us from hydrocarbons are not only shaking up the energy landscape, but the economic, social, political, and geopolitical landscapes as well. To the constant appearance of new challenges that contribute to deepening the fault lines between the different actors in this transition, we must now add the consequences of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This Policy Brief analyzes relations between the European Union (EU) and Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) in terms of the geopolitical dimension of the energy transition amidst the COVID-19 crisis, the consequences of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the increase in disasters linked to climate change. It analyzes the challenges, opportunities, and inherent contradictions found in both bloc' narratives and tools to confront the energy transition which — faced with Europe’s “war ecology” — has given new intensity to the theater of strategic rivalry between the United States and China. After examining LAC’s position towards the European approach vis-à-vis China, as well as its non-alignment with the Washington-Beijing axis, the Brief looks at the potential for bi-regional partnerships around the energy transition as a driver of democratic renewal with greater social inclusivity, strengthened strategic autonomy, and the decarbonization necessary to meet climate change goals. It concludes with a series of recommendations that are able to respond to these new challenges, opportunities, and contradictions in order to harness the potential of these partnerships.

This document was produced by the EU-LAC Foundation in collaboration with the Spanish edition of Le Grand Continent, a publication of the Groupe d’études géopolitiques, and the Coordinadora Regional de Investigaciones Económicas y Sociales. This is one product of the events co-organized as part of the V Annual Call for co-organising events on topics relevant to the bi-regional partnership between the European Union and Latin America and the Caribbean, which has been selecting initiatives based on the priority themes of the strategic relationship between the two regions every year since 2018.