Looking at inequalities as asymmetric power relations within green transformations (Paper)

Paola Velasco Herrejon (University of Cambridge)
Gerardo Alonso Torres Contreras (IDS, University of Sussex)
B: Agriculture, natural resources & environment
Start time:
27 June, 2018 at 16:00
Session slots:

Short abstract:

Given tensions, contradictions, and lack of consent from social sectors behind green transformations, this panel aims to discuss current trends, legislative instruments, and other participation schemes that challenge asymmetric power relations while promoting renewable energy in developing countries

Long abstract:

A sense of urgency behind green transformations has brought a myriad of renewable energy projects to the Global South in the last two decades. These projects have been implemented on a massive scale through internationally-financed corporations, in a top-down technocratic manner with full state support. The tensions, contradictions and lack of consent from different social sectors behind this development intervention have provoked a confrontation of actors across scales and spaces suggesting a politics of renewable energy for any specific setting. Promoting common interest in sustainable development and environmental problems would be more effective if solutions resulted in everyone being better of. Yet, this is rarely the case since strategies to reduce carbon emissions usually result in winners and losers, and renewable energies, are no exception. Although some tools have been created to provide local communities with an opportunity to articulate their demands and viewpoints, barriers to effective community engagement still persist in different spaces, with vulnerable groups, systematically excluded from governance decisions. Accumulated evidence concludes that power disparities, lying on socio-cultural and political elements, shape these patterns, which, in turn, are reflected in socially unsustainable outcomes. The proposed panel aims to invite participants to discuss current trends, legislative instruments, and other participation schemes that may shed light into finding ways to promote renewable in developing countries while engaging with the ways in which openings for resistance and the articulation of social demands transform patterns of exclusion and social injustice in order to challenge asymmetric power relations within green transformations.