Through a systemic analysis of academic literature, this report explores the state of knowledge on how the diffusion of low-carbon technologies impacts gender and social equity.
Inequality and/or poverty > Gender inequality, Other
Social and/or cultural impacts > Other
Oliver Johnson, Jenny Yi-Chen Han, Anne-Louise Knight, Sofie Mortensen, May Thazin Aung, Michael Boyland, Bernadette Resurrección
Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI)
Academic/research institution or journal
There is a lack of dedicated research and knowledge on the gender and social equity implications of low-carbon energy transitions. This paper examines these justice implications through a systemic analysis of peer-reviewed literature.
The authors explore the general trends and interconnectedness of the positive and negative impacts of introducing low-carbon technologies, most of which are broadly related to economics. Poverty alleviation and energy self-sufficiency were the dominant positive impacts, while issues of land loss and displacement were the dominant negative ones. The authors explore the broader implications on female gender roles, poverty and employment, land loss, and (un)equal access through specific examples in the academic literature.
Based on their findings, they conclude that low-carbon energy systems are not inherently more inclusive or empowering than traditional energy systems. The outcome of a transition is not determined by the technology itself, but rather the ways in which the technology interplays with the existing sociocultural, socioeconomic, and institutional context. They emphasize the need for inclusive institutional arrangements that ensure a just process and provide general recommendations based on these needs.
Brief/Case Study; Guidelines, Strategies and Recommendations
This brief provides snapshots of community perspectives on renewable energy projects in West Sumatra, Indonesia, and suggests that customized approaches are needed to address local gender and social equity concerns effectively in low-carbon transitions.
West Sumatra was selected for this study due to its high potential for renewable energy generation and diversity of possible renewable energy sources. The authors reviewed four development sites in West Sumatra as transition examples: two geothermal projects, one micro hydro project, and an oil palm company that produces biofuel and also uses waste as biomass for energy production. They conducted interviews and focus group discussions that illuminate local gender and social equity implications, which often related to customary land management practices and gender roles. They also explore lessons learned from Indonesia’s subsidy program for liquified petroleum gas.
The authors argue that policymakers should adopt a gender-sensitive approach to renewable energy decision-making to identify potential policy repercussions that could worsen existing inequalities. This approach will produce results that benefit more people and satisfy the needs of more interest groups.