Energy Democracy and the Struggle over Climate Change Infrastructure

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 08:45
Oral Presentation
Robert O'BRIEN, McMaster University, Canada
This paper examines the intersection of the movement advocating energy democracy and the corporate struggle over climate change infrastructure. The energy democracy social movement is primarily union led and focuses on democratizing the production and provision of energy through public ownership and public control. The struggle over climate change infrastructure is taking place across a range of economic activities and features a competition between sunrise and sunset industries to influence state regulation of large scale infrastructure in fields such as the electricity grid, public transportation and automobile use. This paper will map the terrain of the two conflicts with the goal of seeing where the energy democracy and infrastructure regulation struggles overlap or diverge. The contest takes place across scalar levels from local municipalities to international institutions and part of the paper will examine the connection between these levels. It will also investigate the degree to which everyday struggles over the regulation of energy impacts the larger climate change infrastructure struggle and the possibilities for a just transition to a better future.