Energy Colonialism, Extractivism, Socio-Ecological Transitions, and Land Planning

A special issue of Land (ISSN 2073-445X). This special issue belongs to the section "Land Socio-Economic and Political Issues".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 25 September 2024 | Viewed by 23093

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Urban and Spatial Planning, University of Granada, Faculty of Architecture, Campo del Príncipe, 18071 Granada, Spain
Interests: bioregional planning; urban agroecology; short food supply chains; periurban agriculture; social participation; urban and territorial decoloniality; megaprojects, extractivism and collapse

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Guest Editor
HUM952-STAND UGR Research Group, Faculty of Humanities, 18071 Granada, Spain
Interests: environmental history; sustainability

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Guest Editor
Instituto de Investigaciones en Ecosistemas y Sustentabilidad, National Autonomous University of Mexico (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México/UNAM), Morelia 58190, Mexico
Interests: crisis of civilization; socio-environmental transitions; local futures; transdisciplinary research; biocentric philosophy

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Guest Editor
1. HUM952-STAND UGR Research Group, Faculty of Humanities, 18071 Granada, Spain
2. Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Toronto, 33 Willcocks Street, Toronto, ON M5S 3B3, Canada
Interests: migratory studies; south training action network of decoloniality

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Co-Guest Editor
Plataforma ciudadana para una Transición Ecológica Justa/Alianza Energía y Territorio-ALIENTE C/San Rafael, 18bis, Ráfels (Teruel), Spain
Interests: environmental impact of renewable energy; social participation; megaproyects

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Co-Guest Editor
Department of Human Geography, Faculty of Philosophy and Letters, University of Granada, Campus Universitario de Cartuja, 18071 Granada, Spain
Interests: agroecology; extractivism; socio-ecological conflicts; territory; landscape and sustainability

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Co-Guest Editor
Instituto de Investigaciones en Ecosistemas y Sustentabilidad, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Antigua Carretera a Pátzcuaro 8701 Col. Exhacienda de la Huerta, Morelia CP 58190, Mexico
Interests: tracing agrarian conflicts; communal resistance of peoples

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Although our attention is currently focused on the COVID-19 pandemic, we are experiencing numerous environmental crises, including climate change and the accelerated depletion of fossil fuels. In the last decade, we have been crossing the Rubicon of peak oil, which indicates a decline in the reserves of this energy resource that is fundamental to the functioning of the current world system. Therefore, in the 21st century, a transition is needed in which the energy sources used on a massive scale in the last two centuries will no longer be available. At the same time, this crisis exacerbates socioenvironmental and economic conflicts, generating a multiverse of experiences that mark the time of territorial defenses and major urban mobilizations in our century.

Since technological fantasies, such as cold nuclear fusion, can be dismissed as uncertain and very distant, the hope for mitigating scarcity is to be found in renewable energies. The eyes of scientists, environmentalists, and, of course, big business are currently focused on this energy transition. In fact, according to the International Energy Agency, the growth of renewable energies in 2020 was 20% higher than in 2019.

In this sense, there is an open debate on renewable energies and in particular on wind, photovoltaic, and biomass energies due to their technical problems and the environmental impacts they generate on the environment, including, of course, the occupation and transformation of the land in which they are installed and the materials that are used for this energy transition. On the other hand, there is the added problem that the renewable energy production model is based on the construction of megaprojects, as it tends to follow the massive, centralized, and hierarchical pattern of fossil fuels and nuclear power. Finally, the lack of spatial planning for this industrial land use intensifies the socioenvironmental impacts of the so-called energy transition.

According to this, the Special Issue will focus on the following topics:

  • The impacts of the energy transition on biodiversity, especially energy transport infrastructures and renewable energy megaprojects (wind farms, photovoltaic, etc.);
  • The socioenvironmental and human rights impacts of wind, photovoltaic and biomass infrastructures on rural, Indigenous, and/or peasant territories;
  • Analysis of territorial defense processes in the context of renewable energy megaprojects;
  • Research that problematizes energy colonialism, focusing on the one hand on the sacrificial territories that are used for the generation of renewable energy and, on the other hand, on the existing inequalities in the populations access to energy;
  • The relationship between mineral extraction and the energy transition, both for renewable energy generation systems and for the electrification of transport (and the world system);
  • The limits and scope of extraction of scarce minerals that are needed for the infrastructure and technologies used in the energy transition;
  • The environmental and socioterritorial impacts of extractivism associated with the energy transition;
  • Public policies and territorial planning processes for the energy transition, with special attention to the generation of renewable energies;
  • Analysis and proposals for energy and territorial models for socioecological transitions.

Prof. Dr. Alberto Matarán Ruiz
Prof. Dr. Antonio Ortega Santos
Ms. Josefa Sánchez Contreras
Dr. Ivan González Márquez
Dr. Chiara Olivieri
Mr. Helios Escalante Moreno
Mr. Luis Bolonio
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Land is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • energy transition
  • biodiversity
  • renewable energy
  • megaprojects
  • energy colonialism
  • extractivism
  • socioenvironmental impacts
  • human rights impacts
  • territorial defense
  • territorial planning

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

15 pages, 335 KiB  
Article
Energy Colonialism: A Category to Analyse the Corporate Energy Transition in the Global South and North
by Josefa Sánchez Contreras, Alberto Matarán Ruiz, Alvaro Campos-Celador and Eva Maria Fjellheim
Land 2023, 12(6), 1241; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12061241 - 16 Jun 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 3821
Abstract
This article aims to define the category of energy colonialism in order to analyse the conflicts that are arising due to the deployment of renewable energy megaprojects in the Global South and in the peripheries of the Global North. First, the limits of [...] Read more.
This article aims to define the category of energy colonialism in order to analyse the conflicts that are arising due to the deployment of renewable energy megaprojects in the Global South and in the peripheries of the Global North. First, the limits of the corporate energy transition are questioned, and based on an exhaustive bibliographic review, the category of energy colonialism is formulated along with six dimensions that characterise it: geopolitical; economic and financial inequalities; power, violence, and decision making; land grabbing and dispossession; impacts on territories and commons; resistance and socio-territorial conflicts. Based on this framework, we analyse and juxtapose different expressions of energy colonialism in four case studies; the isthmus of Tehuantepec (Oaxaca, Mexico), the territories of Western Sahara occupied by Morocco, the Saami territory in Norway, and the rural territories of Spain. The results from this study allow us to conclude that energy colonialism is a useful concept for understanding and critiquing the effects of the corporate energy transition and establishing a base for grassroots and decolonial alternatives in both the Global North and South. Full article
22 pages, 1755 KiB  
Article
Territorial Inequalities, Ecological and Material Footprints of the Energy Transition: Case Study of the Cantabrian-Mediterranean Bioregion
by Javier Felipe-Andreu, Antonio Valero and Alicia Valero
Land 2022, 11(11), 1891; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11111891 - 25 Oct 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1709
Abstract
This study develops a methodology to assess the energy transition’s territorial, ecological and material impacts on regions. As a case study, the methodology is applied to the Cantabrian-Mediterranean Bioregion, a geographical area constituting eight autonomous communities located in the north of Spain. Two [...] Read more.
This study develops a methodology to assess the energy transition’s territorial, ecological and material impacts on regions. As a case study, the methodology is applied to the Cantabrian-Mediterranean Bioregion, a geographical area constituting eight autonomous communities located in the north of Spain. Two energy demand scenarios for 2030 and 2050 were assessed. The 2030 scenario is based on the Spanish government’s planning, and the 2050 scenario constitutes a net-zero emission economy based on electrification. Energy dependence between autonomous communities, energy and raw material needs, and availability are obtained for both scenarios. Results show a high imbalance between energy producer–consumer autonomous communities and an ecological and critical material deficit for the Bioregion. Two alternative scenarios are proposed, one based on self-sufficiency to ensure a balanced energy transition and another based on energy and material efficiency seeking that the ecological and critical material footprints do not surpass the planet’s carrying capacity. The indicators and methodology proposed can be easily replicated elsewhere and help develop more equitable and sustainable territorial planning strategies. Full article
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17 pages, 2342 KiB  
Article
Connections between Water, Energy and Landscape: The Social Acceptance in the Monachil River Valley (South of Spain)
by Belén Pérez Pérez and Pilar Díaz-Cuevas
Land 2022, 11(8), 1203; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11081203 - 30 Jul 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1640
Abstract
The relationship between water and renewable energy, as a vertebrate axis of the territory and landscape and its social acceptance in the Monachil river valley, was analysed. Qualitative interviews and surveys were designed and implemented using quantitative techniques that enabled the measure factors [...] Read more.
The relationship between water and renewable energy, as a vertebrate axis of the territory and landscape and its social acceptance in the Monachil river valley, was analysed. Qualitative interviews and surveys were designed and implemented using quantitative techniques that enabled the measure factors and dimensions of the perception of water, territory, and landscape. The main values and elements of the Monachil inventory, their links with ecosystem services, and traditional activities were identified. In addition, the influence of these premises on the acceptance of renewable energy projects was analysed. Results show that in Monachil, water is part of the territorial identity and landscape of the valley. There is also a strong link between the territory and hydroelectric power, which has generated a new energy landscape. More recently, solar energy has led them to pioneer an energy transition at the local scale. It is demonstrated how renewable energy infrastructures have been integrated into territorial practices. Full article
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26 pages, 7152 KiB  
Article
Spatiotemporal Dynamics of Direct Carbon Emission and Policy Implication of Energy Transition for China’s Residential Consumption Sector by the Methods of Social Network Analysis and Geographically Weighted Regression
by Yuling Sun, Junsong Jia, Min Ju and Chundi Chen
Land 2022, 11(7), 1039; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11071039 - 8 Jul 2022
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 1960
Abstract
As China’s second largest energy-use sector, residential consumption has a great potential for carbon dioxide (CO2) reduction and energy saving or transition. Thus, here, using the methods of social network analysis (SNA) and geographically weighted regression (GWR), we investigated the spatiotemporal [...] Read more.
As China’s second largest energy-use sector, residential consumption has a great potential for carbon dioxide (CO2) reduction and energy saving or transition. Thus, here, using the methods of social network analysis (SNA) and geographically weighted regression (GWR), we investigated the spatiotemporal evolution characteristics of China’s residential CO2 emissions (RCEs) from direct energy use and proposed some policy suggestions for regional energy transition. (1) From 2000 to 2019, the total direct RCEs rose from 396.32 Mt to 1411.69 Mt; the consumption of electricity and coal were the primary sources. Controlling coal consumption and increasing the proportion of electricity generated from renewable energy should be the effective way of energy transition. (2) The spatial associations of direct RCEs show an obvious spatial network structure and the number of associations is increasing. Provinces with a higher level of economic development (Beijing, Shanghai, and Jiangsu) were at the center of the network and classified as the net beneficiary cluster in 2019. These provinces should be the priority areas of energy transition. (3) The net spillover cluster (Yunnan, Shanxi, Xinjiang, Gansu, Qinghai, Guizhou) is an important area to develop clean energy. People in this cluster should be encouraged to use more renewable energy. (4) GDP and per capita energy consumption had a significant positive influence on the growth of direct RCEs. Therefore, the national economy should grow healthily and sustainably to provide a favorable economic environment for energy transition. Meanwhile, residential consumption patterns should be greener to promote the use of clean energy. Full article
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22 pages, 3531 KiB  
Article
Gold Mining in the Amazon Region of Ecuador: History and a Review of Its Socio-Environmental Impacts
by Carlos Mestanza-Ramón, Jefferson Cuenca-Cumbicus, Giovanni D’Orio, Jeniffer Flores-Toala, Susana Segovia-Cáceres, Amanda Bonilla-Bonilla and Salvatore Straface
Land 2022, 11(2), 221; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11020221 - 1 Feb 2022
Cited by 35 | Viewed by 10676
Abstract
Artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) and large-scale mining in the Ecuadorian Amazon region is potentially harmful to nature, and its impacts are associated with environmental degradation and deterioration of people’s health. So far, limited efforts have been directed at exploring the current [...] Read more.
Artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) and large-scale mining in the Ecuadorian Amazon region is potentially harmful to nature, and its impacts are associated with environmental degradation and deterioration of people’s health. So far, limited efforts have been directed at exploring the current situation and challenges facing the implementation of environmental policies in the country. The objective of this study focused on analyzing the historical and current situation and challenges of ASGM in the Amazon region of Ecuador in relation to a political perspective (laws), socioeconomic impacts (population displacement, loss of livelihoods, migration of people, cost of living, water scarcity, and health impacts), and environmental impacts (biotic and abiotic). The methodology used was based on a literature review and interviews, and information that was discussed through an expert judgment allowed for establishing challenges to improve ASGM management. The main results indicate that lack of community participation in decision-making, insufficient coordination between government institutions, communities, and miners, and lack of control of mining activities are factors that contribute to ineffective compliance with environmental policies in the gold mining sector in the Amazon. Finally, the study concludes by considering the socioeconomic and environmental scopes within its findings for implementing effective environmental and social policies in the Amazon region of Ecuador. Full article
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