Energy Democracies for Sustainable Futures - Chapter 24: Will electro-mobility encourage injustices? The case of lithium production in the Argentine Puna

Elsevier, Energy Democracies for Sustainable Futures, 2023, Pages 225-232
Escosteguy M., Diaz Paz W.F., Iribarnegaray M.A., Clavijo A., Ortega Insaurralde C., Stern H. et al.

Around half of the world’s lithium reserves (known exploitable deposits) are located in the Andean salt flats of Argentina, Bolivia, and Chile, in the so-called “lithium triangle.” Communities close to lithium extraction areas are highly concerned about the social and environmental impacts of extraction activities in their territories. We apply an energy justice framework and some concepts from political ecology to identify the distribution of injustices in the lithium global production network, focusing on the microscale, while being aware of the constraints imposed by regional and global variables. We exemplify our analysis with data from the lithium extraction projects currently operating in Argentina. We argue that power asymmetries are significant and that more inclusive decision-making processes are needed for the transition to electro-mobility to be compatible with sustainable development and social justice.