Energy Security, Decarbonization, and the Environmental Justice Movement

Rafael Leal-Arcas, Ahad Gasimov, Vundhyala Shanthan Reddy


This article will analyse two key challenges of today: 1) energy security and decarbonization in the context of the United Nations’ sustainable development goals, and 2) decarbonization and energy security from the perspective of environmental justice. Energy security and decarbonization are integral components of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Specifically, they are addressed in SDG 7, which aims to ensure universal access to clean and affordable energy. Access to energy is crucial for the development of vital sectors such as agriculture, business, communications, education, healthcare, and transportation, and a lack of access to energy can impede human and economic development. In addition, the effects of climate change are disproportionately borne by those residing in the developing world. This inequity needs to be at the core of any climate change research – both at a practical and theoretical level. However, some scholars have argued that dominant modes of thinking about climate change and environmental hazards have often chosen to ignore this inequity or have not placed such inequity at the core of their analysis. This is where the Environmental Justice movement acts as a game-changer. We argue that it provides an alternative rationality to approach environmental hazards, with the social injustices and inequities at its center that are direct or indirect effects of environmental degradation and climate change.

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