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Resisting green colonialism for a just transition

Global Justice Now | May 2024

Resisting green colonialism for a just transition: Trade and the scramble for critical minerals

A serious overhaul of how we run the economy and live our lives is needed to tackle the climate crisis – and there are signs that decision makers are recognising the urgent need for a ‘green transition’: a massive shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy systems.

Yet there are different possible versions of this new green economy. Will the global majority benefit, or will it maintain the power dynamics that ensure big business and wealthier countries keep the largest share of the pie?

Powerful countries and corporations are shifting into gear to capture the lion’s share of the green economy. Governments in the global north are scrambling for raw materials – the basic metals and ‘critical minerals’ needed for the technology of the renewables transition, such as electric batteries and solar panels. They’re doing so partly by negotiating trade deals with global south countries where these are found, driving more and more mining, often on Indigenous communities’ land, and the human rights abuses and environmental damage that so often comes with it.

We must grapple with the shifts, continuities and contradictions in this new trade world order – including how we fairly extract, share and reduce the need for transition minerals – to unblock the road to a just transition. Dismantling unjust trade rules, as we have done before, will create the space to build a radically transformed global economy.

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 source: Global Justice Now