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  • Series: New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series x
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Dayna Nadine Scott and Adrian A. Smith

8. Dayna Nadine Scott and Adrian A. Smith, Transforming relations in the green energy economy: control of lands and livelihoods. This chapter presents a tale of two Indigenous communities in Canada—one that faced the devastating impacts of energy development and another that has successfully developed a sustainable energy project under its inherent sovereignty. The chapter examines these communities, displaced by “green energy” projects designed to address climate change, such as solar, wind, nuclear, and hydroelectric projects. Despite these projects’ devastating human rights impacts (such as loss of land, forced migration, and destruction of subsistence livelihoods), many are proceeding full steam ahead. Planned relocation strategies developed for those fleeing the destruction of their homes by climate change are being proposed as solutions for communities displaced by green energy, disregarding the meaningful spiritual and cultural connections that many people develop with specific lands, species, and ecosystems. The chapter serves as a warning that the power dynamics of the green economy may reproduce the “sacrifice zones” of the fossil fuel economy.

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Shalanda H. Baker

9. Shalanda Baker, Emerging challenges in the global energy transition: a view from the frontlines. This chapter considers, through an energy democracy framework, how Indigenous communities in Mexico are being impacted by renewable energy investments by private capital from the Global North sparked, in large part, by Mexico’s market-oriented energy transition. The renewable energy transition unfolding in Mexico provides a preview of what private-led renewable energy development might look like across the Global South, as well as the inherent tensions of doing business in a country that is still home to millions of Indigenous peoples. Indeed, countries throughout the Global South, such as Brazil, are closely watching Mexico’s market-driven reforms to determine whether they can be replicated. This chapter provides a window into emerging tensions resulting from this development path and explores how these tensions might be resolved utilizing an energy democracy framework.

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Eleanor Stein

10. Eleanor Stein, Energy democracy: power to the people? An introduction. This chapter examines the contours of energy democracy. This chapter discusses how energy democracy has emerged in the American energy policy space as both a relatively new concept and a rallying cry. The energy democracy movement developed in Europe and has gained popularity in the United States as communities have sought to exert self-determination over their energy systems. Energy democracy, however, also has a broader meaning. It encompasses the struggle against the corporate ownership of socially vital and environmentally strategic resources in favor of democratically controlled and socially owned energy. The chapter, notes, however, that democratically controlled or owned utility systems do not necessarily result in social justice or equity. Through a case study of the Reforming the Energy Vision initiative in New York State, the chapter illustrates the ways in which grassroots movements are increasingly seeking both control over energy decision-making and also ownership of the energy infrastructure itself.

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Joseph F.C. DiMento and Alexis Jaclyn Hickman

The great seas contain immense resources and provide invaluable services to humankind, yet their environmental conditions are threatened worldwide. The authors of this comprehensive study provide a rich assessment of the seas and the efficacy of the initiatives governing them, as well as suggestions for improving governance and protection. Case studies of the Baltic, Mediterranean, Black, Caribbean and East Asian seas illustrate the varying degrees of policy success, failure and promise.
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Edited by Raya Salter, Carmen G. Gonzalez and Elizabeth A. Kronk Warner

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Raya Salter, Carmen G. Gonzalez and Elizabeth Ann Kronk Warner

1. Raya Salter, Carmen G. Gonzalez, and Elizabeth Ann Kronk Warner, Energy justice: frameworks for energy law and policy. This chapter provides an introduction to Energy Justice: US and International Perspectives. This volume is a pioneering analysis of energy law and policy through the framework of energy justice. While climate change has triggered unprecedented investment in renewable energy, the concept of energy justice and its practical application to energy law and policy remain under-theorized. This volume breaks new ground by examining a range of energy justice regulatory challenges from the perspective of international law, US law, and foreign domestic law. The chapters both illuminate the theory of energy justice and explain how energy justice might be applied in practice. The introductory chapter lays the foundation for the volume by examining the dominant definitions of energy justice and then discussing how these definitions intersect with environmental justice, human rights, climate justice, indigenous rights, and energy democracy. The goal of the volume is to invite further engagement with these linkages and to underscore the pressing need for practical solutions that hasten the transition from fossil fuels while addressing the inequities that plague energy systems.

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Uma Outka

2. Uma Outka, Fairness in the low-carbon shift: learning from environmental justice. The environmental justice movement in the United States forged a pivotal connection among concerns for social justice, civil rights, and environmental protection. Today, as climate change drives a shift in the energy sector away from fossil fuels and toward low-carbon resources, calls for “energy justice” and “climate justice” expand the environmental justice movement’s conceptual reach in the modern context. The link between climate change, energy, and environmental justice is unmistakable: the energy sector contributes to climate change more than any other industry; climate change is predicted to affect environmental justice communities most; and the energy sector has a long history with environmental injustice. The chapter provides practical guidance on integrating environmental justice principles into the law and policy governing the renewable energy transition.

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Carmen G. Gonzalez

3. Carmen G. Gonzalez, An environmental justice critique of biofuels. This chapter examines the intersection of environmental justice and energy justice at the international level in the context of biofuels law and policy. Replacing fossil fuels with biofuels derived from renewable organic matter has been promoted as a means of mitigating climate change, achieving energy security, and fostering economic development in countries that produce crops used as biofuel feedstocks. The chapter examines the impact of the laws and policies driving the biofuels boom, and concludes that they have contributed to global malnourishment by raising food prices and have accelerated the large-scale acquisition of arable lands in poor countries that displace vulnerable local communities. To add insult to injury, many of these biofuels emit more greenhouse gases than the fossil fuels they replace, and degrade soil and water in the countries where biofuel feedstocks are cultivated. The chapter discusses governance strategies to foster a more equitable and sustainable approach to bioenergy.

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Damilola S. Olawuyi

4. Damilola S. Olawuyi, Energy (and human rights) for all: addressing human rights risks in energy access projects. Lack of access to energy exacerbates other social challenges, including poverty, food insecurity, inadequate access to clean water, poor health, and stunted economic growth. However, many projects designed to promote access to both renewable and non-renewable energy, such as biofuel projects in Indonesia, nuclear power plant projects in Nigeria, hydroelectric projects in China, Panama, and Honduras, and the West African Gas Pipeline project in Nigeria and Ghana, have been plagued by human rights violations. The chapter examines law and governance innovations required to address human rights risks in energy access projects, including practical tools to incorporate human rights safeguards into national energy law and policy.

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Roger Colton

5. Roger Colton, The equities of efficiency: distributing energy usage reduction dollars. This chapter discusses how using energy more efficiently is one of the most effective ways to address climate change, reduce fossil fuel use, and promote energy justice. Energy efficiency reduces all types of power plant-related emissions and mitigates climate change while improving air quality in the communities most burdened by air pollution. Energy efficiency is a well-established industry in the United States with billions of dollars invested annually through administered energy efficiency services programs, energy savings performance contracting, and other efforts. The chapter offers a definition of “equity” in the context of the distribution of utility investments. It then describes an original mechanism which, first applied to issues of equity in non-energy industries, can be adapted to objectively measure the fairness of utility usage reduction investments in a particular application and set of circumstances. This chapter presents a first of its kind tool to measure equity in multifamily energy efficiency investments.