A research project of which I am Principal Investigador (“Green, but Mean? The Relationship Between Ecologically Motivated Land Investments and Conflict in the Global South” (GREEN-MEAN)) has received funding from the International Catalan Institute for Peace (ICIP).
Numerous academic studies have linked land scarcity to an increased likelihood of violent conflicts in the Global South. Some of the most cited motives for land scarcity are droughts, population growth or land acquisitions by foreign investors (often described as “land grabbing”). However, another cause has so far been under researched: land acquisitions driven by projects to reduce and compensate greenhouse gas emissions. In these projects, private actors purchase vast areas of land to generate CO2 credits that can be traded on the global carbon market (e.g. through forest conversation). GREEN-MEAN asks whether such cases of “green grabbing” contribute to violent and non-violent conflicts in the affected areas. In other words, the project explores under what conditions, predominantly, western efforts to mitigate climate change may create undesired effects in the Global South.
The project’s researchers are, beside myself, Matthias vom Hau, Marta Iñiguez de Heredia (Autonomous University of Madrid) and Dominique Schmid (Pompeu Fabra University).