2023 Summer/Winter School – Critical mineral supply in the European energy transition: Toward just institutional approaches

Date and Time: THURSDAY 14 September 2023, 10am-11.30


The European Green Deal’s (EGD) transformative policies around the clean energy transition (CET) will affect communities and industries globally. The European Union (EU) cannot source all of its critical mineral supply domestically, and thus, the shift towards renewable energy requires obtaining these minerals from other places, potentially externalising the socioenvironmental risks that accompany mining. This may contribute to conflicts over resource extraction that stem from European decision-making but have impacts that are felt beyond its borders. The EGD recognises the need for careful attention to potential trade-offs between economic, environmental and social objectives by emphasising a just transition. However, this raises important questions about how policymakers will strike the appropriate balance, and whether such considerations will include impacts upon individuals and communities beyond EU borders. What are the imperatives of a just institutional approach? These questions are considered from an interdisciplinary perspective, by including insights from the social sciences, law and environmental sciences. The example of water impacts from mining in the Lithium Triangle is highlighted to contextualise the justice implications of the ever-increasing demand for critical minerals, and to argue that the principles of a just transition should be operationalised throughout the critical mineral supply chain to include all impacted communities. Otherwise, there is a risk of reproducing a form of climate colonialism in the name of CET.


Dr Asmaa Khadim, Leiden University 


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