Fuelling conflict? The impact of the green energy transition on peace and security
The rush to achieve net zero is driving massive global investments in renewable energy. Surges in energy prices as a result of the conflict in Ukraine make the green energy transition even more pressing and may further increase the benefits for investors.
No one needs a net zero world more than the almost two billion people who live in fragile and conflict-affected places: for them, the climate emergency can be literally a matter of life or death. And many of these places have huge potential for green transition investments, whether in energy sources such as solar, hydro or wind, or as vital sources of the minerals on which green technologies rely.
But green energy projects can cause or exacerbate conflicts and tensions, nowhere more so than in the world’s most fragile areas. If investments are not done right, there is a significant risk of the world’s green transition coming at the expense of higher levels of conflict and suffering. This report examines three case studies: the cobalt mining industry in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and wind and solar projects in Kenya and Morocco.
In DRC, the rapidly increasing demand for cobalt poses risks to the stability of mineral-producing regions already characterised by weak mining sector governance and histories of human rights violations.
Meanwhile, the Kenya and Morocco wind and solar infrastructure projects studied in this report highlight several ways that green energy transition projects can cause conflict and escalate tensions.