Category Archives: International Program for Labor, Climate and Environment

Sean Sweeney at Society for Ethical Culture

On March 19th, Murphy Professor Sean Sweeney participated in a panel hosted by 350NYC and New York Society for Ethical Culture about COP21, the global climate treaty conference taking place in Paris in December 2015.

Sweeney was joined by Jeffrey Salim Waheed – Representative of Maldives to the UN; Tamar Lawrence-Samuel, Associate Research Director at Corporate Accountability International; Reinhard Krapp – Economic Department, UN Mission of Germany to the United Nations; and City Council member Helen Rosenthal. The panel was moderated by Claire Vondrich and introduced by Lyna Hinkel of 350NYC. Video by Joe Friendly.


Let’s Change the System, Not the Climate: TUED in the Guardian

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.

From Schouwenberg:

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.”

Photo by Mike Steinhoff via flickr (CC-BY).

Syriza can show ‘another energy is possible’

by Sean Sweeney

During its first days in office, Syriza has taken actions that suggest it is willing to confront the EU’s neoliberal approach to energy and to embark on a new course. New Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has also stated his government will restore collective bargaining agreements and stop 300,000 planned layoffs.

The Syriza government has said it will stop the proposed sell off of the Public Power Corporation (PPC) which is 51% publicly owned but had been targeted for full-on privatization in 2016. “We will halt immediately any privatization of PPC,” Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis told Greek television a few hours before officially taking over his portfolio. “There will be a new PPC which will help considerably the restoration of the country’s productive activities,” he said.

Lafanzis also announced that that the mostly state-run gas company, DEPA, will also not be privatized. Both the PPC and DEPA were due to be privatized under the conditions imposed by the Troika. Continue reading Syriza can show ‘another energy is possible’

This Is What Energy Democracy Looks Like

Profit-driven approaches to our energy supply are not working. Emissions continue to rise and our climate is rapidly changing. How can we move toward “energy democracy,” shifting to a more sustainable, equitable energy system? And what’s the role of trade unions in getting us there?

This video from RLS–NYC and Trade Unions for Energy Democracy (TUED) points the way:


Photo by David Blaikie via flickr (CC-BY).