Resisting Green Extractivism: The Unjust Cost of the Energy Transition

This conversation was recorded on 13 Nov 2020 as part of the COP26 Coalition’s “From The Ground Up” series of events.

By Saul

Dec 14, 2020

A central demand of climate movements has been to move to ‘100% renewable energy’ — but this call could result in a new wave of green extractivism reproducing the same dynamics and practices that caused the climate crisis in the first place. There is a potential for widespread destruction and human rights abuses that could be unleashed by the extraction of so-called ‘transition minerals’ (those minerals which are vital to renewable energy replacing fossil-fuels, including cobalt, lithium, nickel and copper among others). How then do we transform our energy systems in a way that meets the scale of the challenge in a just and sustainable way?

Drawing on the specific experiences of partners in Asia, Africa and Latin America, through the session, we will seek to explain how that ‘green extractivism’ could be potentially worse for mine-affected communities. Grounded in international solidarity with those impacted by ‘transition’ minerals, we will develop a deeper understanding of the initiatives needed to ensure fair and just global supply chains for renewable energy technologies, and address the fundamental societal change needed to reduce our unsustainable material consumption.

For more on green extractivism, see our joint report with War on Want:

A Just(ice) Transition is a Post-Extractive Transition

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