The rise of gendered political subjects in response to development of shale gas in the United Kingdom

Dr Meg Sherval1

1The University Of Newcastle, Callaghan, Australia


The global energy landscape is transforming. Debates about energy security and energy scarcity have become increasingly important as nations seek to ensure continuity of supply into the future. Recent technological innovations have brought renewed hope to many nations through the development of unconventional oil and gas reserves. Accompanying this, however, has been an increase in community opposition most notably in Australia, Britain and the United States where concerns about governance and justice have been raised. Within activist communities, a gendered response may be seen to be occurring where women primarily are becoming the face of local resistance. Drawing on in-depth interviews with female activists throughout Britain, this paper explores the personal and political motivations for opposition to shale gas and examines how governments as agents of the law have responded to this phenomena.


Meg Sherval is a legal geographer with an interest in rural and remote places. She is particularly interested in resource communities and government decision-making around land-use transformation and strategic planning. Her research examines arguments around energy security, placement of energy infrastructure, the rise of gendered political subjects and concerns about environmental impacts and climate change. Her current focus is on shale gas communities in the UK, but she also works with agricultural communities in Australia faced with the introduction of competing industries such as coal seam gas.

The ‘discretionary principle’: understanding the implications of government policy for developing unconventional gas and oil in Australia and the UK

Mrs Bridie Meyer-Mclean1

1University Of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia


Mining unconventional resources is increasingly fraught with conflict. People are at odds with the exploitation of natural resources when the intensive and controversial processes of extraction cross over into other land uses. Concerns range from the broader risks to climate change to direct risks to the local environment, agricultural land, local economies, livelihoods, and public health. The anti-fracking movement in Australia and the United Kingdom (UK) are social grass-roots movements part of a broader, global anti-fracking movement and anti-fracking discourse. This paper presents a finding from a critical discourse analysis; the anti-fracking discourses in Australia and the UK consistently dispute discretions governments use to advance the unconventional gas industry over and above existing mechanisms to protect public health, the environment, and local economies, and national and international climate change agreements. In doing so, anti-frackers argue that the ‘precautionary principle’ is not used. This paper proposes that governments use a ‘discretionary principle’, justified by ideological and political tenets, exemplifying a broader discourse, which positions the unconventional gas and oil industry as powerful and outside of otherwise legislated, regulated and democratic processes. Consequently, the use of the discretionary principle acts as an obstacle for resolving tensions and problems related to the industry.


Bachelor of Environmental Policy and Management (Hons)

PhD student – Department of Geography, Environment and Population

Research Assistant

Managing the Irrigation and Energy Nexus for achieving Sustainable Agriculture Growth: Experience from Odisha and West Bengal

Mr Amartya Pani1, Mr. Pulak Mishra2

1Indian Institute Of Technology Kharagpur , Kharagpur, India, 2Indian Institute Of Technology Kharagpur , Kharagpur, India


In late rapidly changing climatic conditions has become increasingly difficult to meet the growing demand for food on sustained basis.  So, there should be continuous efforts towards linking energy, water and food as an adaptation strategy to climate change and this requires efficient conservation, management and use of water resources with active participation of the farmers. Given this backdrop, the paper makes a review of development and management of irrigation systems to facilitate socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable growth of agriculture in the eastern Indian states of Odisha and West Bengal. The paper also examines the policy interventions and institutional arrangements that aim at bridging the gaps between the demand for and supply of water and energy, especially in inter-linked activities and how these interactions are shaped by environmental, economic, social and political changes. Further, potential impact of the strategies like autonomous irrigation departments, self-financing irrigation system, collection of water tax, participation of private sector, use of renewable energy in irrigation, energy metering, etc. are also explored in the paper. Finally, the paper provides a detailed framework for conceiving the water-energy-food nexus in relation to climate change and discusses the implications of the potential synergies for designing efficacious water policy.


Mr. Amartya Pani received Master’s in Geography and Environment Management from Vidyasagar University, India in 2012 with the specialization of Urban Geography and Regional Planning with first class. Mr. Pani is currently a senior doctoral research scholar under National scholarship funded by University Grants Commission, India in the department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, India. He has worked on Irrigation Infrastructure, natural resource conservation and sustainable agriculture growth in West Bengal Furthermore, He received Early Carrier Scientist award in Science Forum 2018 by Tata- Cornell Institute and FAO, ISPC, CGIAR at Cape Town, South Africa.

Examining social and institutional costs of decarbonisation in India’s coal-bearing regions

Dr Vigya Sharma1

1University Of Queensland, St Lucia, Australia


She is also part of the RapidSwitch Initiative at UQ, a multi-country research agenda examining the pace of global decarbonisation. Her presentation is based on recent work in this project.

Coal is critical to the global decarbonisation narrative. Its continued use or abandonment is likely to significantly influence the outcomes of our combined action on climate mitigation over the next few decades.


Following the Paris Agreement of 2015, while several countries have committed to taking meaningful actions in their quest to combat climate change, the reliance on coal world-wide remains alarmingly high. For countries such as India, where investment towards enabling energy transitions may divert critical resources away from pressing development needs for more than a third of the total population which remains in poverty, coal offers an indispensable economic lifeline rooted in a strong cultural and social identity. Efforts to phase coal out therefore, need to pro-actively consider potential socio-economic and institutional impacts across all levels – national, state and grassroots – to ensure these impacts, and resulting potential bottlenecks to the decarbonisation process, are adequately addressed and managed.

This presentation will discuss findings from fieldwork undertaken in early 2019 in one of India’s largest coal mining belts. Interviews and focus group discussions provide insightful evidence of the suite of factors that may offer critical impediments to India’s decarbonisation ambitions.


Vigya is a research fellow with the Energy and Poverty Research Group at the University of Queensland. She has a PhD in human geography and international development and has since worked in the area of climate adaptation and resilience in the energy and mining sectors.

About provides delegate registration, website and app solutions, and financial management for conferences, conventions and scientific meetings.

Terms & Conditions

All registrations and bookings are subject to our standard term and conditions.

Contact Us

Please contact the team at with any questions regarding the conference.
© 2017 - 2020 Conference Design Pty Ltd. is a division of Conference Design Pty Ltd.