Norwegian version of this page

GreenMENA: Climate Change and Energy Transition in the Middle East (completed)

GreenMENA studied the human and social factors in energy transition in the Middle East and North Africa. Which factors influence ordinary people’s perceptions of, and support for, a green shift in the MENA region?

The sea in front and a skyline with sky scrapers in the back. Photo.

Photo: Doha skyline in the morning. Wikimedia Commons

About the project

This project raised a question of fundamental importance for the countries in the Middle East and North-Africa (MENA) in light of the challenges posed by Climate Change (CC): Which factors influence ordinary people’s perceptions of a transition to renewable energy in the MENA region and what determines their support or opposition to a green shift?

Climate change will have a profound impact on the MENA countries that go beyond environmental consequences. The ongoing global energy transition is likely to undermine the very foundation of non-elected governments in oil-producing countries. At the same time, an energy transition on the scale necessary to mitigate CC disasters locally will involve fundamental societal reforms. Whether or not the countries in the region will succeed in navigating through this dual challenge depends in no small part on the views and practices of the actors involved. The importance of human and social factors in energy transition has long been acknowledged, but remains an understudied subject with regards to the MENA countries.

This project aimed to address this lacuna in the research literature through a number of complementary and detailed case studies that investigated how the effects of CC and the challenges of energy transition are perceived, articulated and practiced in selected MENA countries (Morocco, Jordan, Lebanon, Kuwait, Iran, and UAE). This provided new insights into the social, cultural and political preconditions for a green shift, on the social and political feasibility of different energy solutions, and on how transitions in the energy market will affect regime stability and conflict. Such knowledge is crucial in order to design the policies and technical solutions needed to enable a successful energy transition.

The success or failure of a green shift in the region will greatly impact Norway and other European countries in terms of security, migration, and economic development.

The project included participants from different disciplines that together combine expert knowledge on the region and the Arabic language with climate change and renewable energy.


The main objective of the project was to identify factors that influence ordinary people’s perceptions of, and support for, a green shift in the MENA region, and assess the prospects and requirements for successful energy transition in the area. Moreover, the project sought to develop a new approach to the study of a green shift and the consequences of climate change in the MENA region based on a humanistic perspective, and to build a lasting research environment at the University of Oslo focused on energy and climate change in the MENA countries, in cooperation with partner institutions in Norway and in the region.

The research project GreenMENA has led to a new project: Energy Transition in Oil-Exporting Countries.


The Project was financed by UiO:Energy


We cooperated with Center for Development and the Environment and Zayed University in United Arab Emirates.

Published Oct. 5, 2016 11:23 AM - Last modified Feb. 22, 2022 3:40 PM


Project leader:
Brynjar Lia


Detailed list of participants