Urgency vs justice : A politics of energy transitions in the age of the Anthropocene

Kumar, Ankit; Pols, Auke; Höffken, Johanna


This introductory chapter sets out the overall logic and argument for this book, based on a critical investigation of the concept of the Anthropocene from a postcolonial vantage point. It posits that the argument for urgency and the calls to unify under the scientific narrative of the Anthropocene risks jeopardising political pathways of justice. The chapter reframes the Anthropocene narrative to argue for decolonising our knowledge and resolving the dilemma of urgency vs justice. It searches for a more political Anthropocene; one that tackles the urgency of collective action, while keeping a politics of justice at its centre.
Reviewing literature on energy transitions in the global South, the chapter outlines four (inter alia) areas of concern for justice in a time of urgency: carbon colonialism, democracy and distributional justice, reframing of public good as private commodity and its marketisation, and gender and racial justice. To address these concerns we need to progress anti- and de-colonial thought within current discourses of urgent energy transitions. By bringing diverse perspectives in the chapters together this book identifies pathways developed in the global South that can bring urgency and justice together.