Special Section: The political ecology of green extractivism edited by Alexander Dunlap and Judith Verweijen

Energy justice in the context of green extractivism: Perpetuating ontological and epistemological violence in the Yucatan Peninsula

Author: Carlos Tornel orcid logo (Durham University)

  • Energy justice in the context of green extractivism: Perpetuating ontological and epistemological violence in the Yucatan Peninsula

    Special Section: The political ecology of green extractivism edited by Alexander Dunlap and Judith Verweijen

    Energy justice in the context of green extractivism: Perpetuating ontological and epistemological violence in the Yucatan Peninsula

    Author:

Abstract

As the world gets warmer, the deployment of low-carbon infrastructure is seen as the cornerstone to mitigate the pressures created by fossil capitalism, prompting questions over what constitutes a 'just' energy transition. This has simultaneously broadened the discussion over what are the social justice and colonial legacies embedded in the infrastructural, technological and material composition of energy systems. Drawing on semi-structured interviews with different actors, this article looks at the deployment of low carbon infrastructure in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico, as the colonial legacies, politics and power relations embedded in energy systems interact with the construction of the so-called "Maya Train", a regional integration project seeking to interconnect the southeast of Mexico. It asks the question: can we speak of energy justice in a context of total extraction? Drawing on the literature of green extractivism, it argues that as long as energy justice is linked to a Westernized conception of modernity and development it risks reproducing injustices instead of solving them. The article suggests that political ecology must pay closer attention to emancipatory struggles in defense of the territory as they move away from a universal definition of energy justice. 

Keywords: Green Extractivism, Energy Justice, Political Ecology/Ontology, Coloniality, fossil fuel+

How to Cite:

Tornel, C., (2023) “Energy justice in the context of green extractivism: Perpetuating ontological and epistemological violence in the Yucatan Peninsula”, Journal of Political Ecology 30(1). doi: https://doi.org/10.2458/jpe.5485

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Funding

  • CONACyT-México

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Published on
16 May 2023
Peer Reviewed