Towards a just energy system - the struggle to end energy injustice

October 2014

We live in a world of energy injustice. While multinational corporations drive the world towards dangerous climate change, consuming more energy than entire nations, one in five people globally live without electricity because they are unable to access it, and millions more go without because they cannot afford to pay for it.

In Africa, only 10 per cent of those living in rural areas have access to electricity. Meanwhile, governments and institutions like the World Bank continue to impose a model of development on impoverished countries that force them to hand control of their energy systems over to multinational companies that prioritise their profits over the needs of people. The result is usually a failure to improve energy access, and continued dependence on dirty fossil fuels that cause displacement, health problems and pollute people’s environment.

But it is possible for everyone to access the energy we need while tackling climate change if we have a system where energy is fairly distributed, democratically controlled and managed, recognising environmental limits. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution, but around the world people are using systems which give them control over energy.

Examples include small-scale hydro-electricity cooperatives in Indonesia, Bolivia’s rural electricity cooperative which supplies over 300,000 households, and decisions to bring the electricity supply back into public hands in Hamburg and other German cities.

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