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energy democracy

New York Climate Jobs Initiatives

By J. Mijin Cha, Lara Skinner and Josh Kellermann - Global Climate Jobs, September 11, 2015

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

In 2014-2015, the New York labor movement and its allies in other movements launched two complementary Climate Jobs initiatives for New York City and New York State. The city-level campaign, Climate Works for All, is anchored by ALIGN, the NYC Environmental Justice Alliance (NYC-EJA) and the NYC Central Labor Council (CLC). Climate Works for All is a broad coalition of over 40 community, labor, environmental justice, faith and other organizations united to ensure that efforts to address climate change also create good, career-track jobs and prioritize low-income, climate-vulnerable communities. The coalition released a 10-point platform in early 2015 that focused on five primary sectors that contribute most to NYC’s climate crisis: Buildings; Energy; Transit; Waste; and Community and Infrastructure Resiliency. The 10-point platform ranges from demanding a mandatory energy efficiency retrofit program for large privately-owned buildings, to solar installations on 100 schools, to flood and stormwater infrastructure improvements, to making NYC’s public hospitals more resilient to climate change impacts.

The New York State initiative, coordinated by The Worker Institute at Cornell, brings together unions in the building, energy and transport sectors to develop a comprehensive climate jobs plan for New York State. A Climate Jobs report for New York State will be released in Fall 2015 along with specific climate jobs policy proposals for the energy, transport and buildings sectors – policies that the labor movement along with its allies will push to implement in the next year. The Worker Institute at Cornell and its union partners have also developed a labor-climate training curriculum for union members and leaders that will be used to build engagement and support for the climate jobs work in NY.

GMB: as Hinkley C collapses, it's time to get over nuclear!

By David Elliott, Ian Fairlie, Jonathon Porritt et al - The Ecologist, July 15, 2015

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

Dear Gary Smith (GMB National Secretary for Energy),

The undersigned are scientists, academics and energy policy analysts who read with concern your Press Release objecting to the Austrian Government's appeal against the UK Government's proposed subsidies to the planned Hinkley Point C (HPC) nuclear station. Your statement contains several misconceptions, unsupported assertions and inaccuracies.

Let's start with your view that HPC is "much needed". It isn't: UK electricity demand is steadily declining. In fact it has declined 14% since 2000, while GDP has increased 18% in the same period.

It's true that some coal-fired stations will be closing over the next few years, some of which may need replacing by quick-to-build gas-fired stations and an array of renewable sources. But there's no way new nuclear could make any contribution in the next decade.

Maybe you should seek another legal opinion?

Second, you allege the Austrian appeal is "almost certainly doomed to fail". The opposite is the case: the Austrian Government has retained a team of about a dozen European lawyers - experts in EC Competition Law.

They have been assessing this case since November last year and consider the appeal to be very robust and likely to succeed: the EC's decision flies in the face of several European Directives, Policy statements, and previous EC decisions. And it is not just Austria: Luxembourg will be joining shortly, and several European renewable energy utilities also launched their appeal today.

You state Austria's appeal is "more about playing to a domestic audience rather than a serious challenge to stop new nuclear in the UK." On the contrary, Austrian Government's press statement of July 6 is clearly serious in opposing nuclear - not just in the UK but in the rest of Europe.

As the Austrian Chancellor stated: "Nuclear power plants are dangerous, expensive, and compared with the technologies of the future like wind and solar energy, are neither economically nor ecologically competitive."

EcoUnionist News #54

Compiled by x344543 - IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus, June 30, 2015

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

The following news items feature issues, discussions, campaigns, or information potentially relevant to green unionists:

Lead Story:

Green Bans:

Bread and Roses:

An Injury to One is an Injury to All:

Carbon Bubble:

Just Transition:

Other News:

For more green news, please visit our news feeds section on ecology.iww.org; Twitter #IWWEUC; Hashtags: #greenunionism #greensyndicalism #IWW

EcoUnionist News #49

Compiled by x344543 - IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus, May 26, 2015 (Image: Judi Bari stands defiant outside of the Oakland Federal Building, ca: 1996).

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

Special Note: Due to the recent (voluntarily, fortunately) location of this site's main administrator, some of these stories are a little delayed. We apologize for any delay in timely reporting. Bear with us; we're all working class volunteers. ;-)

The following news items feature issues, discussions, campaigns, or information potentially relevant to green unionists:

Lead Stories:

An Injury to One is an Injury to All:

Gulf South Rising:

Carbon Bubble:

Just Transition:

1267-Watch:

Other News:

For more green news, please visit our news feeds section on ecology.iww.org; Twitter #IWWEUC

Why the Climate Change Movement Must Demand Energy Industry Nationalization

By Bruce Lesnick - Truthout, Op-Ed, March 27, 2015, reprinted by permission, © truthout 2015

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

"All the forces in the world are not so powerful as an idea whose time has come."
- Victor Hugo

Ever since scientists discovered a runaway greenhouse effect on our nearest planetary neighbor, Venus, we've known that climate Armageddon is a possibility. Even though Venus is closer to the Sun than the Earth, Venus' thick cloud layer permits only one-sixth as much sunlight to reach the planet's surface. And while Mercury is nearly twice as close to the Sun as Venus, the surface on Venus is 10 percent hotter, measuring more than 864 degrees Fahrenheit. Why is Venus so hot? Its atmosphere is 97 percent carbon dioxide.

We know that human activities are adversely affecting Earth's climate. Scientists began to draw our attention to the link between fossil fuels, greenhouse gases and climate in the 1980s. Since then, the evidence for anthropogenic climate change has become overwhelming.

All that's left to debate is what to do about it.

Under the current setup, energy conglomerates that owe their fortunes to fossil fuels have every incentive to dismiss global warming and to cast aspersions on climate change research. The top five oil companies (BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil and Shell) reported combined profits of $93 billion for 2013. That's more than the discretionary US budget that year for health, human services, Medicare and Medicaid ($80.6 billion). It's more than 10 times the federal budget for environmental protection ($9.2 billion). The more coal, oil and natural gas that get burned, the more the climate is thrown out of whack, and the more these companies are rewarded financially.

If you give a dog a piece of meat every time it bites someone, it could reasonably be argued that you are encouraging this dangerous and irresponsible behavior. In light of environmental necessity, we might beseech the energy companies to behave responsibly, but they are guaranteed to ignore us. Why? Because they earn large sums of money when they do so. A demand for reform of energy policy may be well framed and well founded, but it is wasted wind if the current setup, which so richly rewards all of the wrong behaviors, is allowed to persist.

If we're serious about addressing climate change, nationalization of the energy industry must become a central organizing demand.

Renewables Not Enough: World Needs Democratic, Decentralized Energy, says Report

By Jon Queally - Common Dreams, October 9, 2014

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

In order to build an adequate low-carbon 21st century energy system that scientists have said is necessary to stave off the worst impacts of climate change, a new report argues that the world must look beyond large-scale, centralized renewable projects—such as industrial solar and wind farms—and take up efforts to build more democratically-controlled and decentralized power grids.

Contained as a chapter in the Worldwatch Institute's State of the World 2014: Governing for Sustainability, the research compiled by professor Sean Sweeney, who co-directs of the Global Labor Institute at Cornell University, says the world's energy systems must be "reclaimed to serve public interests, rather than focus on maximizing sales and profits" for the large corporations who now benefit from the burning of fossil fuels and the centralized grids that distribute most of the world's electricity.

"A timely and equitable energy transition can occur only with greater energy democracy, which requires that workers, communities, and the public at large have a real voice in decision making, and that the anarchy of liberalized energy markets is replaced with a comprehensive and planned approach," writes Sweeney.

According to a 2010 report (pdf) by the Center for Social Inclusion, true "energy democracy" is exemplifed by renewable energy projects that are "small-scale, locally owned or controlled" and  "structured to allow local investment, sweat equity, and a transparent process for setting fair [market] prices."

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