Just energy? Structures of energy (in)justice and the Indonesian coal sector

Authored by: Anna Fünfgeld

Routledge Handbook of Climate Justice

Print publication date:  November  2018
Online publication date:  November  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138689350
eBook ISBN: 9781315537689
Adobe ISBN:


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The energy sector contributes a significant share to global greenhouse gas emissions. However, it is not only the unequal distribution of climate change impacts, but also the inequalities arising from energy production and consumption on various political and social levels that need to be understood as major sources of social injustice. Therefore, a more comprehensive understanding of “energy justice” is highly important for struggles over climate justice at the international and the domestic level. Most obviously, on the consumption side, countless people worldwide are affected by insufficient access to electricity or fuel. Moreover, inequalities stemming from energy production are often overseen. For example, in Indonesia the problems arising from coal-based power production (e.g., the mining and firing of coal) adversely impact farming and fishing communities living in close proximity to production sites. Evidently, there is a whole range of ethical considerations that should be taken into account when assessing the energy sector. Energy justice approaches should be oriented towards tackling the entire production and consumption chain. This also requires a closer assessment of underlying economic-political structures and their embeddedness in capitalist structures. Drawing on two local case studies from Indonesia, the chapter explores dimensions of (in)justice related to the Indonesian coal sector and identifies what social justice theory in general and climate and energy justice frameworks in particular can add to our understanding of energy production and distribution and related decision-making structures.

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