Extractive Regimes in the Coal Heartlands of India: Difficult Questions for a Just Energy Transition

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Abstract

Despite the universal consensus about phasing out of coal-based energy sources, India continues to pursue a high-carbon pathway. India still has significant coal infrastructure and the coal industry is linked to the livelihoods of millions of people. Questions around climate justice are particularly complex in the heartlands of coal production (Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh) in India, where some of the poorest indigenous people live. Coal extraction has historically produced injustices ranging from dispossession of land and forest commons to dissatisfactory compensation. To complicate matters further, coal extraction is intertwined with the local economy producing exploitative dependencies. This paper contends that any question of a future just transition away from coal is tied into the past and present just extraction of coal in regions that have been historically coal-producing. It argues that there are nested "extractive regimes", both nationally and in these states, which have politically structured the ambit of imagination and dialogue around extraction, and will continue to play a part into the future by throwing up the spaces that can be mobilised to steer transformations.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationClimate Justice in India
EditorsPrakash Kashwan
PublisherCambridge University Press
Chapter4
Pages74-97
Volume1
ISBN (Print)9781009171915
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022

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