Creating conflict? The effects of the switch to green energy on peace and security

Global investments in renewable energy are soaring due to the push to attain net zero. The move to green energy is becoming more urgent, and the advantages for investors could grow due to increases in energy prices brought on by the situation in Ukraine.

No one needs a net zero world more than the over two billion people who reside in unstable and conflict-ridden regions; for them, the climate emergency may mean the difference between life and death. And many of these locations provide enormous opportunities for investments in the green transition, like renewable energy resources like solar, wind, hydropower, or essential mineral resources for green technologies.

The stability of mineral-producing regions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which is already characterized by poor mining sector governance and a history of human rights violations, is in jeopardy due to the quickly rising cobalt demand.

The wind and solar infrastructure projects in Kenya and Morocco examined for this paper illustrate various ways these projects can exacerbate tensions and spark violence.

Initiatives for development cooperation and humanitarian aid have also demonstrated their compatibility with conflict sensitivity. By evaluating the risks and opportunities associated with disputes and tensions in all development cooperation programming, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, for instance, created a conflict sensitivity toolkit in 2017. This toolkit’s overarching goal was to “not harm.” The toolkit acknowledges that all societies have risks and opportunities and that inclusive and peaceful communities will benefit from an integrated conflict-sensitive worldview.

In conclusion, utilizing a clean energy revolution that comprehensively tackles issues related to human rights can offer a broader perspective for enhancing energy security, promoting growth, and establishing and maintaining long-term peace, even in unstable environments.

Author : Swastika Jha

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