This site provides a repository of project outputs. All outputs from this project will be made publicly available and will be added here once completed.
Project report: The Justice Dimensions of Extracting Energy Transition Metals from the Pacific
The JTPac project report, The Justice Dimensions of Extracting Energy Transition Metals from the Pacific, has been published by the British Academy
The report uses results from the Just Transitions and the Pacific project to address the central dilemmas of the ‘energy transition-extractives nexus’, namely: as energy transitions drive global demand for ETMs, how do we account for and mitigate justice issues that arise from intensified pressure to extract in specific regions, like the Pacific for example?
Energy Transition Metals supply chains
Energy transition metals (ETM) supply chains are instrumental in shaping ways in which costs and benefits of ETM extraction are distributed and how justice issues converge in the global ETM markets.
We tested the extent to which it is possible to trace the trajectory of an ETM from a specific region, in this case nickel from New Caledonia. You can read more about it here:
Our results highlight knowledge barriers that exist and make it difficult to track an ETM and the implications this may have for a just transition. If this poses challenges for accounting for the social and environmental costs of extraction at the point of final product sale, it also constitutes a form of injustice where producers can treat the impacts of extraction on supply locations as externalities. It also means that the dominant narrative driving increased extraction (to supply ETMs to combat climate change) may mask other drivers and interests.
Enhanced supply chain due diligence is necessary to fully assess justice dimensions associated with supplying ETMs from the Pacific (and other parts of the world) and ensure that impacts that emerge in source location and along the supply chain are aligned with the values of ‘justice’ and ‘fairness’ that underpin the concept of a just transition.
The justice dimensions of extracting energy transition metals in the Pacific
As part of the JTPac Project we produced three country case studies – each focused on a particular Energy Transition Metal (ETM) sourced from a given Pacific country: Papua New Guinea (copper), New Caledonia (nickel) and Cook Islands (cobalt in polymetallic manganese nodules). The case studies offer a closer examination of distributive, procedural and restorative justice issues that accompany increased pressure to extract ETMs found in the Pacific for global renewable energy technologies:
In considering distributive, procedural and restorative justice issues in the three case studies we have found that:
- Unpicking a ‘single’ justice issue around the extraction of ETMs in the Pacific necessitates an approach than can penetrate multiple dimensions, and that is sensitive to historical contexts (past, present and future), political processes across a scale of individual and collective aspirations.
- There is a need for a wider view of just transition in relation to ETM extraction – as a plural, multidirectional and multifaceted process that links global actions and aspirations with local realities and impacts, and that fully appreciates how all justice dimensions converge in the energy-extraction nexus.
The Pacific energy transition – extractives nexus dataset
What are the environmental, social and governance risks tied to the extraction of energy transition minerals and metals (ETMs) in the Pacific? And what does this mean for just transitions in the region?
As part of the Just Transitions and the Pacific project we have produced a first-of-a-kind dataset that maps ETMs and mining concessions in the Pacific Islands region against composite environmental, social and governance (ESG) indicators. The dataset, and the accompanying methodology and summary briefing note, provides the basis to identify and understand the broader justice issues that co-occur with specific energy transition ore bodies, and to map potential justice risks that will accompany future extractive activities in the Pacific. Our results are unequivocal:
- In the Pacific region, the conditions around ETM mining projects appear more complex and volatile than in the rest of the world
- ETM mining projects in the Pacific are on average more exposed to situated ESG risks than ETM projects in the rest of the world
Please use the following citations for the dataset and the briefing note respectively:
Lèbre, E., Bainton, N., Burton, J. and E. Skrzypek. 2021. Pacific energy transition-extractives nexus integrated dataset. Just Transitions and the Pacific Project: University of St Andrews and University of Queensland.
Lèbre, E., Skrzypek, E., Burton, J. and N. Bainton. 2021. Pacific energy transition-extractives nexus integrated dataset: methodology and summary briefing note. Just Transitions and the Pacific Project: University of St Andrews and University of Queensland.
Three publications co-authored by members of the project team provide foundations for this project:
Bainton, N., Kemp, D., 2021. More clean energy means more mines – we shouldn’t sactifice communities in the name of climate action. The Conversation, 4 November. More clean energy means more mines – we shouldn’t sacrifice communities in the name of climate action (theconversation.com)
Bainton, N., Kemp, D., Lèbre, E., Owen, J.R. and Marston, G., 2021. The energy‐extractives nexus and the just transition. Sustainable Development, 29(4), pp. 624-634.. https://doi.org/10.1002/sd.2163
Lèbre, É., Stringer, M., Svobodova, K., Owen, J.R., Kemp, D., Côte, C., Arratia-Solar, A. and Valenta, R.K., 2020. The social and environmental complexities of extracting energy transition metals. Nature communications, 11(1), pp.1-8. 23. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-18661