Commentary: Shift to renewable energy can both drive conflict & contribute to peace

Author: Dario Kenner, Why Green Economy? , Published on: 8 May 2017

"Solar and wind energy: Driver of conflict or force for peace?", May 2017

There are growing calls to shift from dirty fossil fuels to clean renewable energies...and many positive reasons for switching, such as increasing energy access and reducing greenhouse gas emissions...However, a more nuanced understanding is needed because sometimes there can be negative social and environmental consequences associated with these technologies that can trigger conflict in developing countries...Mining for key minerals and metals such as aluminium, nickel and rare earths can displace people and lead to water, air and soil pollution...Large-scale solar and wind energy installations can lead to land-use change and displacement, which can restrict access to food and water...There is scope to look more at how solar and wind power can contribute addressing structural causes in order to build long-lasting peace. A key part of this will mean moving away from the goal of "energy security", which has the potential to be used to justify the "expansion of renewable energy in a way that ignores concerns about human rights, democratic governance, or energy access". Instead, the shift to renewable energy is an opportunity for a broader perspective, to "think about how we manage energy provision in ways which build and sustain peace and development." [Refers to Coca-Cola, Heineken, Walmart]

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Related companies: Coca-Cola Heineken Walmart