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Jonathan Symons & Simon Friederich: Tensions Within Energy Justice: When Global Energy Governance Amplifies Inequality. [Abstract]

Global energy justice remains far out of reach. If the goal of energy justice is the universal, equitable, and democratic provision of safe, affordable, and sustainable energy services, the international community currently lacks the physical, ideational, or governance infrastructure necessary for its realization. Instead, access to energy remains radically unequal, continuing greenhouse gas emissions are creating intergenerational sabotage, and fossil fuel revenues routinely corrupt democratic politics. In addition to distributive injustice, global energy governance also creates dilemmas of procedure and recognition that are our focus. Here, we first identify inherent tensions between local democratic sovereignty and global energy justice and then argue that existing energy governance infrastructures often amplify powerful actors’ leverage over the energy choices and strategies of less powerful communities. We conclude by discussing the design of a governance infrastructure that could promote climate mitigation and energy access goals without exploiting international inequalities in ways that risk undermining justice.

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