Climate and energy justice in Northeast India

Authors: Costanza Rampini*, San Jose State University
Topics: Cultural and Political Ecology, Energy, Global Change
Keywords: climate change, hydropower development, Brahmaputra, energy justice
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Washington 3, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Recurrent destructive floods along the Brahmaputra river are a major challenge for the people and state governments of Northeast India.  Climate change is expected to further exacerbate this challenge, as melting Himalayan glaciers and changes in the South Asian monsoon lead to an increase in the frequency of severe floods.  At the same time, the Brahmaputra has become the focus of India’s hydropower development efforts, with 132 new dams planned along its main stem and tributaries.  Though these dams could provide flood protection for downstream communities, political and economic factors have led dam builders to prioritize hydroelectricity generation over flood control.  Furthermore, hydroelectricity generated along the Brahmaputra is ‘evacuated’ to distant urban centers, while rural dwellers in Northeast India suffer from high levels of energy poverty. Using the Ranganadi Hydroelectric Project in Arunachal Pradesh as a case study, this talk highlights how vulnerable communities in Northeast India are forced to bear the costs of both climate change impacts and decarbonization efforts.

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