Atmospheric Tales

Atmospheric Tales

A Just Energy Transition for India

December 10, 2022

In this episode we discuss a just energy transition for India with a focus on socio-cultural aspects, limits of technology-centered approaches, and exploitation and employment in the renewable energy sector.

  • Socio-cultural aspects for just energy transitions
  • “Smartness” beyond the technical
  • Extractivism and exploitation in renewable energy
  • Employment in the renewable energy sector

Our guest Dr. Ankit Kumar is a lecturer in Development and Environment at the Department of Geography, University of Sheffield. His research interests are situated around climate and energy justice. He enquires on justice questions working at the nexus of culture, knowledge and politics, conceptually drawing from postcolonial/anticolonial studies, critical development studies and environmental geographies. He was a postdoctoral researcher at the School of Innovation Sciences, Eindhoven Institute of Technology (TUe) from 2016 to 2020 where he researched social and institutional aspects of off-grid smart energy systems and taught on issues of globalization, development, and sustainability at various undergraduate and postgraduate levels. He also worked in a small Indian consultancy firm on carbon finance and feasibility assessment of small-scale renewable energy projects in South Asia. He has a PhD in Geography from Durham University where his thesis was on social and cultural aspects of access to modern energy in rural India. He has a BSc degree in Botany (with honors) from Delhi University and a MSc degree in Natural Resources Management from TERI University. Find him on Twitter.

Our interviewer Vaishnavi Rathore is a Land and Climate reporter at Scroll Media based in New Delhi, India. She works on stories related to environmental justice and democracy, governance of commons, forest, and land rights. Her journalistic stint also includes her time as an Environment Associate at The Bastion — a development journalism organization. Before she ventured into full-time environmental journalism, she spent two years working on ground with communities and their relationship with natural resources. Her experience in the state of Gujarat with Foundation for Ecological Security exposed her to challenges of localizing governance, while working with forest dependent communities in the Himalayan landscapes of Himachal Pradesh introduced her to the Forest Rights Act. There, she was with Himdhara Environment Collective, and was involved in spreading awareness on the Act, facilitating its implementation, researching and advocating on it. Find her on Twitter.

Episode notes and references:

Music by: Ritesh Prasanna

Podcast website: