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Extreme energy, ‘fracking’ and human rights: a new field for human rights impact assessments?

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Extreme energy, ‘fracking’ and human rights: a new field for human rights impact assessments?


This article explores the potential human rights impacts of the ‘extreme energy’ process, specifically focussing on the production of shale gas, coal-bed methane (CBM) and ‘tight oil’, known colloquially as ‘fracking’. The article locates the discussion within a broader context of resource depletion, the ‘limits to growth’ and the process of extreme energy itself. Utilising recent secondary data from the United States and Australia, combined with the preliminary findings of our ethnographic fieldwork in the United Kingdom, the article outlines a prima facie case for investigating ‘fracking’ development through a human rights lens. Indeed, based on considerable emerging evidence we argue that ‘fracking’ development poses a significant risk to a range of key human rights and should thus form the subject of a multitude of comprehensive, interdisciplinary human rights impact assessments (HRIAs) as a matter of urgency. Finally, given the close relationships between government and extractive industries, we argue that these impact assessments must do more than bolster corporate social responsibility (CSR) statements and should be truly independent of either government or industry influence.

Short, Damien and Elliott, Jessica and Norder, Kadin and Morley, Joanna and Lloyd-Davies, Edward (2015) Extreme energy, ‘fracking’ and human rights: a new field for human rights impact assessments? The International Journal of Human Rights, 19 (6). pp. 697-736. ISSN 1744-053X


Item Type: Article
Subjects: Human Rights & Development Studies
Law
Politics
Sociology & Anthropology
Keywords: extreme energy, fracking, human rights, impact assessments, environment, hydraulic fracturing, corporate social responsibility
Divisions: Human Rights Consortium
Depositing User:
DOI: 10.1080/13642987.2015.1019219
URI: http://sas-space.sas.ac.uk/id/eprint/6367
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