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Coloniality and Climate Change Mitigation: Social movements at a crossroads of a globally just energy transition

The transition from fossil-based to decarbonized energy systems lies in the core of most of the climate change mitigation strategies and narratives. Recent research on green extractivism, the material requirements of the energy transition and the political ecology of climate change mitigation show that the transition planned under green capitalism has little to do with closing global inequality gaps. The necessary renewable energy infrastructure requires non-renewable materials to be mined mostly in peripheral countries, which will bear the social-environmental costs of extractivism for the “green” transition, and transfer to core countries strategical resources labelled as “critical”. A transition under these terms reproduces colonial patterns of unequal exchange and furthers dependency in peripheral nations. Therefore, social-environmental movements (e.g.: degrowth) face the challenge of conciliating calls for climate change mitigation and global justice. This working paper explores how progressive organizations engaged with climate politics articulate criticism to colonialism and imperialism in their claims, tactics, and coalitions choices. We present a preliminary analysis of documental material and interviews conducted with members of a range of organizations based in Sao Paulo (Brazil) and Vienna (Austria). The comparative analysis allows us examine propositions about differences between movements based in urban capitals in core and peripheral countries.


Day: 2023-08-31
Start time: 10:15
Duration: 00:15
Room: ZV-KC-1
Type: Paper Presentation
Theme: Climate (in)justice


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