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Higher Seminar in Statecraft and Strategic Communication | Mara Bălașa

Risks and Incentives in the Green Energy Transition


Bălașa obtained her MSc in Economics from the Stockholm School of Economics in 2022, specializing in Applied Economic Analysis. She completed the Data Analytics Track, and her thesis examined the environmental Kuznets curve for CO2 emissions in Romania between 1968 and 2018. She holds an undergraduate degree in Economics, Politics and International Studies from the University of Warwick. 

Bălașa has previously worked in central banking, public affairs and diplomacy. She has published on issues related to NATO and free trade. Her PhD project examines risks and incentives in the context of the green energy transition. 



Despite increased investments in green technology, global emissions and the material intensity of production are still on the rise. Several global trends stand out in this context. Countries turn to protectionist measures, with industrial policy nationalism being employed in Europe, the United States, and China. Governments continue to subsidize fossil-fuel industries, and developing countries engage in de-risking strategies to attract foreign investments. 

Climate change is a collective problem and there have been multiple collaboration efforts between countries to tackle it. The International Environmental Agreements have experienced a shift from the top-down Kyoto Protocol to a bottom-up Paris Agreement approach with Nationally Determined Contributions. This is likely to have influenced the interaction between countries, as well as their domestic efforts to address climate change risks.  

We are entering a new era of industrial policy with disruptive implications. This mosaic of challenges, risks and dependencies requires more research, so this seminar will discuss the overarching theme and plan of my PhD. My project aims to uncover how the green transition could prevent the further commodification of nature while also safeguarding energy security. It will consider geopolitical risks such as the dependency on rare earth minerals and the lack of trade diversification strategies when it comes to resources. This research will therefore shed light on how to better navigate the transition from several different angles, from industrial policy to trade and national security. 

CSSC Research seminar