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Unions, climate change and the great inaction - Sean Sweeney

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Unions, climate change and the great inaction - Sean Sweeney

  1. 1. 1.Trade Unions for Energy Democracy (TUED) 1.TUED and Global Labor’s Climate Politics
  2. 2. A global, multi-sector, initiative to advance democratic direction and control of energy GLI International Summer School July 2014 Sean Sweeney, Ph.D. and Lara Skinner, Ph.D.
  3. 3. Why TUED? 1. “Business as Usual” = Civilizational Crisis 2. The Energy Transition is NOT happening 3. Solutions Exist – And Unions Can Play a Crucial Role
  4. 4. BAU – Emissions Set to Rise by 4-6 Degrees Celsius
  5. 5. Fossil Fuels are NOT Running Out
  6. 6. Extreme Energy on the Rise Tar Sands Oil  Shale gas “fracking”  Mountaintop removal and surface coal mining  Deep sea / Artic oil drilling
  7. 7. Energy Expansion, Not Transition Investment in Clean Energy v Conventional Capacity, 2004- 2011, $BN Fossil fuel investment is calculated from EIA and IEA data. Renewable energy investment includes asset finance and small-scale projects, but excludes large hydro. Sources: EIA, IEA, Bloomberg New Energy Finance
  8. 8. Renewable Energy is Below 5% of Electricity Production Nearly Everywhere
  9. 9. More Fossil Fuels, More Emissions ≠ Energy Equity Share of people without electricity access for developing countries, 2008
  10. 10. Under Attack- Workers and Communities •Many workers lack rights & union representation •Health & safety issues •Production up, •employment down •Companies closing union operations, reopening non- union.
  11. 11. The Great Inaction Failure to agree is a cover for ‘business as usual’
  12. 12. The U.S. supports a voluntary ‘pledge and review’ approach – the ‘Copenhagen Accord’ “Our view in the U.S. is that it (a binding climate agreement) is not a necessary thing to happen right now .” Todd Stern, U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change, Bankok, April 7, 2011
  13. 13. November 2013: The Collapse of the Talks in Warsaw
  14. 14. ons and environmental groups walk out of the Warsaw talks…. Commit to build a ‘peoples-led climate movement’
  15. 15. The Path Forward for Unions Unions Need a Climate Program that can: Effectively address the climate crisis and the ecological emergency Build trade union and working class power Challenge capitalist political economy and the ‘growth imperative’ Assert social ownership and democratic control over key sectors
  16. 16. Time for a class-based and independent trade union approach “Rio+20 is about scaling-up and accelerating the Green Economy transformation already manifest in most if not all countries across the globe.” -- Remarks by Achim Steiner to the Second Trade Union Assembly on Labour and the Environment, “Rio+20”, June 12, 2012
  17. 17. What stands in the way?
  18. 18. Energy: Developing a Framework for Action •Resist – Business as usual, “carbon lock in” and the extreme energy agenda •Reclaim – Take back what’s been privatized, de-marketize public companies •Restructure – Deploy renewable energy to scale under social ownership and democratic control
  19. 19. Immediate Goals of TUED: connect the struggles, build a global community, develop strategies and alternatives
  20. 20. Energy Democracy – Power to the People
  21. 21. www.energydemocracyinitiative.org

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