System change not climate change
If we’re to have any chance of keeping global temperature rises to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels we need a very rapid shift to a net zero carbon economy. Despite some investment in renewables, climate change has not been treated like the emergency it is. But the change we need also has to get to the root cause of the problem.
Energy democracy is about creating an energy system which is democratic, shifts quickly to renewables and keeps electricity affordable for all. A combination of public ownership and co-operatives can change the priorities of our energy system for good.
We also need a free public transport system, paid for through taxation, support for ecological agriculture and a just transition to green production, ensuring that workers in polluting industries are not left behind. That includes shifting towards a caring economy which produces prosperity without depending on material wealth.
The other side of reducing demand is the urgent need to rapidly phase out oil, coal and gas extraction. Only by keeping fossil fuels in the ground can we stop runaway climate change.
Colonialism created a huge inequality in the world which has only got worse in the decades of free market economics. For an ecological transition to happen around the world, we also need a global redistribution of wealth. Without this, many people will simply not survive in a warming world.
Rolling back the rules and institutions which enforce free market economics is also vital. We need to end tax havens and the kind of trade rules which stop countries making climate-friendly decisions, like banning tar sands or fracking. Trade justice is intimately linked to climate justice.
All of these transformatory changes represent a fundamental challenge to the way wealth and power is distributed in the world. But from fossil fuel divestment to energy democracy to our win again TTIP, people power has fought back against corporate power.
More on energy democracy
Watch Global Justice Now director Nick Dearden talking about energy democracy in this video from our ally the Transnational Institute.