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Mining for the low-carbon transition: Conflicting discourses of sacrifice zones and win-win narratives
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.
2021 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

To support the transition towards a low-carbon economy, mining companies, international financial institutions and governments are preparing to drastically scale up mineral extraction of energy transition minerals such as cobalt and lithium. Mineral extraction, however, has far-reaching impacts on the biophysical environment and mining-affected communities that may become more severe under a changing climate. In May 2019, the World Bank sought to respond to these challenges with the launch of its climate-smart mining Facility, evoking critique from non-governmental organisations working in solidarity with frontline communities. Drawing on poststructuralist political ecology and discourse analysis, this study examines the conflicting narratives on mining for the energy transition and interrogates the political solutions made conceivable through these narratives. Utilizing documents by proponents and opponents of the climate-smart mining Facility, and semi-structured interviews, the analysis reveals two contrasting discourses on mining for the energy transition, problematising climate change as a problem of rising CO2 emissions, and as a social justice problem rooted in global inequality respectively. These distinct conceptualisations generate three key and overlapping tensions, relating to (i) global versus local priorities, (ii) mitigation and adaptation, and (iii) socio-technical versus socio-political transformations. By highlighting these discursive processes, the results aid our understanding in how mining is made salient in the carbon constrained future, and which actors are likely to benefit and be harmed by the promotion of climate-smart mining. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2021. , p. 63
Keywords [en]
Climate-smart mining, low-carbon transition, discourse analysis, discourse coalitions, storylines, sacrifice zones, World Bank
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies)
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-194328OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-194328DiVA, id: diva2:1568937
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Available from: 2021-06-18 Created: 2021-06-18 Last updated: 2021-06-18Bibliographically approved

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Andersson2021(1171 kB)676 downloads
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CiteExportLink to record
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  • apa
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