Special Seminar on Energy Transition in Asia and Latin America on November 14, 4 to 6pm, Large-size Room, Inamori

The Center for Southeast Asian Studies, the International Institute of Social Studies-Netherlands, together with the Graduate School of International Development, Nagoya University present


Pathways to Decarbonisation in Asia and Latin America: Challenges, Limits, and Possibilities

Date & Time: November 14, 2022, Monday, 16:00-18:00
Venue: Large-size room, 3F, Inamori Foundation Building, CSEAS, Kyoto University

Welcome and Opening Remarks: 
Fumiharu Mieno (Center for Southeast Asian Studies)
Yusuke Murakami (Center for Southeast Asian Studies)

Jewellord Nem Singh(International Institute of Social Studies, Netherlands) 
Ray Asada (JICA Ogata Research Institute)
Japan’s Resource Investment Strategy amidst Crisis and Uncertainty

Eliza Massi (International Institute of Social Studies, Netherlands; Embassy of Brazil, London, United Kingdom)
Approaches to the Energy Transition: The Case of Brazil

Lorenzo Pellegrini (International Institute of Social Studies, Netherlands)
Post-Fossil Fuel Capitalism, a view from Latin America

17:00 – 17:15
Discussant: Rohan D’Souza (Graduate School of Asian and African Area Studies, Kyoto University) 

17:15 – 17:55
Speakers’ Reply and Q&A

17:55 – 18:00
Closing Remarks

Moderator: Julie de los Reyes (Center for Southeast Asian Studies)

Japan’s Resource Investment Strategy amidst Crisis and Uncertainty 
Jewellord Nem Singh and Ray Asada

The success of Japan’s post-war industrial strategy was underpinned by a highly effective resource investment policy aimed at securing natural resources to sustain its export-led growth model. With permissive external contexts, the Japanese state deployed a range of economic, diplomatic, and trade policies to support its resource needs during the 20th century. Yet, with the rise of China and its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Japan has faced multiple challenges in order to sustain its industrial competitiveness, and as a consequence, in securing its geopolitical interest in the Indo-Pacific region and the world. This increasingly complex setting—currently exacerbated by uncertainties from the Ukraine-Russia conflict and U.S. posturing vis-à-vis China—sets the stage for the worldwide trend of embracing a rapid transition towards clean energy technologies. 

Our presentation offers an initial assessment over the Japanese strategy on how to deal with the twin challenge of industrial competition and energy transition. We examine Japan’s resource investment strategy, specifically the ways economic policies are organized around several focal points: (a) adapting dual defence-civilian technology to pursue geopolitical ends within the constitutional limits; (b) promoting resource efficiency and recycling policies to achieve resource security; and (c) mobilizing domestic resources aligned with existing state-business relations to accommodate Japanese capital overseas. Employing a global value chains approach, we will look at nickel and rare metals sectors—two of the most important primary minerals in energy transition and geopolitics—and the role played by Japan in these supply chains.

Approaches to the Energy Transition: The Case of Brazil
Eliza Massi

The energy transition is taking different paths across the world. Countries are exploiting their comparative advantage in designing their own paths, particularly in the context of heightened uncertainties regarding the worldwide supply of energy and minerals critical to transition. Brazil is in a privileged position in this regard as it has one of the cleanest energy matrices in the world with over 84 per cent of its electricity generated by renewable sources. It is also a leader in biofuels production, a top producer and exporter of critical minerals, and holds significant reserves of lithium, nickel and rare earth. This presentation will discuss the distinctiveness of Brazil’s energy transition strategy and its evolving policy towards the development of critical mineral reserves supportive of the transition process.

Post-Fossil Fuel Capitalism, a view from Latin America
Lorenzo Pellegrini

The incipient transition from fossil capitalism to renewable capitalism is a transition from a set of resources (fossil fuels) to a set of technologies (renewables). With renewables, there is nothing equivalent to the role that fossil fuels have played in shaping the global economy and the political economy of Latin America. 

President Boric of Chile, elected in 2022, has made the commitment to environmental protection a central plank of his programme, which includes also a new taxation regime for mining and the funding of a new state-owned company in charge of extracting lithium. President Petro of Colombia, also elected in 2022, has made commitments to abandon the exploration and expansion of fossil fuels. 

The incipient/current new wave of left-wing governments have been more ambitious in terms of environmental regulations, ultimately promising to limit the possibility to expand extractive activities. This is potentially a real break with the history of extractivism in the continent. The question is whether a post-extractivist consensus might be at hand in Latin America and what will be the implications in terms of scarcity of materials for the renewables transition. 

Jewellord (Jojo) Nem Singh is the Principal Investigator of a five-year research programme Green Industrial Policy in the Age of Rare Metals: A Trans-regional Comparison of Growth Strategies in Rare Earths Mining (GRIP-ARM) funded by the European Research Council Starting Grant No. 950056 (2021-2026). He is an Assistant Professor (tenured) at the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS), The Hague and a Research Fellow at the International Institute of Asian Studies (IIAS), The Netherlands. 

Ray Asada is a research fellow at JICA Ogata Research Institute and a post-doctoral research assistant for the GRIP-ARM project. She is interested in critically questioning conventional development which has been aimed at maximising economic growth, and examining alternative paths of development in which rural areas will not be sacrificed to the cities. One of her most recent research projects examines the rise of China in the Indo-Pacific region and the new geopolitics of neighbouring countries.

Eliza Massi is the Lead of Energy and Mining at the Trade and Investment Department, Embassy of Brazil in London. She was awarded a doctorate from SOAS, University of London in 2015. Her research focuses on the political economy of development, industrial policy, energy economics, and the mobilization of finance for development in Latin American and East Asia. 

Lorenzo Pellegrini is a Professor in Economics of Environment and Development at the International Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam. His research interests include the socio-environmental impact of extractive industries, environmental justice, impact evaluation, institutions and corruption. He has led and participated in a number of research and capacity-building projects in the Global South. He teaches courses on research methodology, development economics, development theory, sustainable development, and ecological economics.

*Chatham House Rule will be observed: participants are allowed to use the information from the seminar provided that the identity and affiliation of the speakers, or other attendees, are withheld. This is to encourage open discussion and sharing of information amongst participants.