Socially Owned Energy

Climate Reparations

So now we know that we need to transition our energy system as fast as possible away from fossil fuels that are heating the planet, and towards renewables, we have a big problem….

How can we do any of this without workers employed in coal, oil and gas industries, plus all the related industries, being thrown out of work?

Let’s look at coal, which still employs many people in South Africa and in many communities a coal mineworker’s wages is the only money coming into the household. At present, these mineworkers have two choices and neither of the them are very nice. They can either become climate activists, stop what they’re doing and die quickly from poverty…or they can carry on mining in horrible toxic conditions and die slowly from continuing to work in mines that kill them and poison their communities?

Workers should not have to make this choice. They deserve both jobs and a clean environment.

So the first priority is to call on the government to create what we call climate jobs – jobs that could cut greenhouse gas emissions. Fossil fuel workers will be top of the list for any jobs and retraining needed. These would include building solar and wind farms and safe public transport systems. We also need our governments to invest in jobs that fulfil human needs – building sanitation, decent housing, healthcare and education. The details will be different in each country, but the simple fact is – the government must create these jobs and provide the training necessary.

There is a real possibility here that the Just Transition can act as a rallying cry to organize and mobilize around the joint problems of climate and social inequality.

But to achieve any of this, it is the state, and not private companies that must take the lead in planning and investing in the next economy. This is a real shift from the way the economy is currently run. Therefore, it’s important that we first win the argument that energy is a public good and should not be privatized, just as with clean air, water, healthcare, education and more. As part of the just transition, we need the trade unions in all of the fossil fuel industries along with communities and climate activists to fight for what we call Socially Owned Energy.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1664870837235{margin-bottom: 0px !important;}”]Want to learn more about exactly what a ‘just transition’ is and how we can achieve it? Check this link out: What does a just transition really mean