n African Journal of Science, Technology, Innovation and Development - Europe's long history of extracting African renewable energy : contexts for African scientists, technologists, innovators and policy-makers

Volume 6, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 2042-1338
  • E-ISSN: 2042-1346
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Having failed to identify local energy supplies compliant with Kyoto Protocol obligations, the EU turned to Africa in the 21st C. According to definition, the term 'renewable energy' source equally describes slaves, forests and rivers. Environmental history analysis demonstrates the 1) poverty of economic analysis; 2) inadequacies of short-term and local check-list style of environmental impact assessment; and 3) parallels between the social violence of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and the environmental violence of conventional renewable energy technologies. Technological innovation and development enabled separation of electricity production from its use, obscuring social and environmental effects. Neo-liberal economics' shift in electricity's definition from public good to commodity promoted gigantic environmental interventions with complex and unanticipated consequences. The 21st C requires more nuanced evaluation by Africans of energy production technologies and export policies, while Europeans make concerted efforts to control - and reduce - demand.

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