Guest essay by Eric Worrall
According to the Equinox Initiative For Racial Justice, the EU Green New Deal is driving exploitation in poor countries.
Climate colonialism and the EU’s Green Deal
By employing corporate solutions for climate change, the EU’s Green Deal will entrench further European neocolonial practices.
Steering group member of Equinox Initiative For Racial Justice
Meanwhile, the push for greener sources of energy, particularly in the Global North, is driving the demand for metals like nickel, cobalt and lithium. Labourers in mining communities working to extract these metals face dangerous and degrading working conditions.
Although the end of colonialism was declared decades ago, its last effects in the form of these extractive industries are clear. The system of Indigenous land takeovers, resource extraction, labour exploitation and wealth transfer set up by European colonialists continues to operate and dispossess people in the Global South.
The European Green Deal also ignores the environmental impact of Europe’s drive for renewable energy and electric mobility on other parts of the world, where resources for this economic shift will have to be extracted. It also does not pay attention to how climate change and environmental degradation have disproportionately affected its own marginalised communities and the poor and destitute in the Global South.
Only by acknowledging that it is perpetuating colonial capitalism, and committing to ending this approach, can the EU’s Green Deal be truly effective in addressing climate change. For far too long, European governments and companies have wreaked havoc across the world. It is time for justice, accountability and a complete overhaul of economic systems. Our collective survival depends on it.Read more: https://www.aljazeera.com/opinions/2021/6/23/the-eus-green-deal-could-propagate-climate-colonialism
I had a look at the Equinox Initiative For Racial Justice website, they haven’t got a lot of content, so I’m guessing the group was formed fairly recently. Their report Towards racial justice EU institutions mentions a few controversial policy positions, like decriminalising undocumented border crossing, and wanting more diversity in EU institutions. Their report Towards Climate Justice is very critical of “Racial Capitalism”, suggesting that Capitalism entrenches existing racist hierarchies, but it is not clear whether they are criticising the concept of Capitalism, or simply criticising the alleged brutality of African clean energy mineral mining companies.
They make some good points, like the massive rise in extractive activity needed to fuel the European “green transition”. From page 19 of Towards Climate Justice;
… The World Bank estimates that the production of minerals needed for a clean energy transition could increase by 500% by 2050.42 These materials include cobalt, lithium, copper, graphite and can be found in abundance on the African continent and in Latin America. These minerals are needed to build clean energy technologies, and the demand for these technologies is on the rise. As we have seen in the previous examples, clean technologies do not equate to ethical and equitable systems. The EU has demonstrated a techno-solutionist mentality, advocating that complex issues of climate change can be solved with technology, as long as the technology is sourced by renewable energy and is clean. This is far from the truth and reality. Creating solutions that build pathways to sustainable and ethical futures must not entirely rely on narrow science-based disciplines divorced from social realities. This limits the potential of building holistic solutions that address multiple aspects and impacts of clean technology. ….
It would be easy to write off Equinox Initiative For Racial Justice as yet another sad group of climate communists. But I strongly agree with their point that many rich country climate justice types seem to have a big blind spot when it comes to the ruthless exploitation of people in poor countries, to obtain the deluge of toxic minerals needed to supply their precious green energy revolution.
A reckoning for mainstream green groups over their neglect of genuine climate exploitation issues created by the green energy policies they promote is long overdue. Equinox is one of the few green groups I have seen which hilight such issues.