Trade Unions for Energy Democracy (TUED) got a plug in the Guardian on Tuesday with a letter from Bert Schouwenburg, International Officer of GMB, the energy union in the UK. The letter was in response to an article by Mark Lynas called We must reclaim the climate change debate from the political extremes.
Had Lynas attended the alternative people’s summit at the COP 20 climate change talks in Lima last year, he would have heard a succession of speakers from Latin America’s indigenous communities rejecting development models imposed on them by transnational capital. They are in the frontline of the fight against climate change and are struggling to stop the destruction of their environment by mining and mono-crop agriculture for export. They would not see themselves in terms of left or right, but fully understand that an economic model based on infinite growth, with the commensurate depletion of the planet’s natural resources, is incompatible with saving the Earth from the catastrophic effects of global warming.
This does not mean sufficient energy cannot be provided for the needs of future generations, but that it must be responsibly sourced and publicly owned instead of being left to market forces and monolithic corporations whose priorities lie in ripping off consumers and making money out of burning fossil fuels. As an energy trade union, we support the necessary, just transition to a low-carbon economy, and are members of the global network Trade Unions for Energy Democracy. As the slogan read in Lima: “Let’s change the system – not the climate.”