The Black Gold Rush: Environmental Justice on the Coal frontiers in Inner Mongolia

Mongolian yurt
Mongolian yurt

Coal, also called “black gold”, has been fueling the development of China, comprising over 50% of the country’s primary energy supply. However, the rapid growth of China’s coal-based economy has been achieved at the price of environmental and social liabilities. This is especially evident in Inner Mongolia, one of the top coal production regions in China.

In this talk, Bowen will walk you through a few coal frontiers in Inner Mongolia that are part of her fieldwork in 2021 and share some preliminary findings and reflections. This is part of her ongoing PhD research on coal and environmental justice in China, which builds upon the fieldwork as well as a comparative political ecology inquiry into the Global Environmental Justice Atlas (EJAtlas), the largest open-source online database of environmental justice movements around the world. Her study makes visible the unequal distribution of the environmental, social, health and climate impact of the coal value chain in China, as well as the various dimensions of enviromental (in)justice in connection with and in contrast to broader environmental and climate justice struggles in other parts of the world.

SPEAKER Bowen Gu is a PhD researcher at the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology, Autonomous University of Barcelona (ICTA-UAB). She is also a member of the Global Atlas of Environmental Justice (EJAtlas) team. Her research looks into coal and environmental justice in China and the Belt and Road Initiative from the lens of political ecology and ecological economics. Prior to starting her PhD, she had worked for years in socially responsible investment and corporate engagement on environmental, social and global health topics.

Event details



Bowen Gu, Autonomous University of Barcelona (ICTA-UAB)

Date & time

Friday 28 Oct 2022



Online Event


Uchralt Otede

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