Grey areas in green grabbing: subtle and indirect interconnections between climate change politics and land grabs and their implications for research
The authors define land grabbing as the control of land and resources through mechanisms that involve large-scale capital and competition among antagonistic social classes. These mechanisms can vary over space and time based on political and institutional contexts. According to them, it is important to study the interconnections between climate change politics and land grabs because the politics of climate change may displace more people than climate change and even though land grabbing receives less coverage in the media, it may not have reduced in practice. For example, even rumors about land acquisition for biofuel plantations have been shown to alter resource access and use.
Research goals & methods
The authors conduct a review of theoretical and empirical literature to outline key concepts and practices while discussing the interconnections between climate change politics and land grabs. They also suggest new avenues for research on this topic.
Conclusions & takeaways
According to the authors, there are at least areas where climate change politics intersect with land grabs: (a) climate change politics could trigger land grabs either directly or indirectly, (b) land grabs could undermine potentially genuine climate change mitigation efforts, and (c) climate change politics may be used as a cover for land grabs. They provide examples of these types of interactions in practice. For example, climate change discourses encourage the production of ‘flex crops’ like palm oil, sugarcane or corn for their multiple uses but their production requires bringing large tracts of land under agriculture, with implications for social relations and access to land resources. They suggest that genuine climate change mitigation efforts will require blocking and rolling back land grabs while furthering systemic change for agrarian justice through creating minimum land access guarantees as well as ceilings on land ownership.
Grey areas in green grabbing: subtle and indirect interconnections between climate change politics and land grabs and their implications for research. Land Use Policy. 2019;84:192 - 199. doi:10.1016/j.landusepol.2019.03.013..
- China Agricultural University, Beijing, China
- Transnational Institute (TNI), Amsterdam, the Netherlands