The Big Energy racket: democracy now!

Ellen Potts explains why the Climate Justice Collective will be standing up to Big Energy in London on 3 May

April 26, 2012
4 min read

The UK Energy Summit, due to take place in the fortress-like Grange Hotel in the City of London on 3 May, will bring together ‘top policy makers, industry executives and influential thinkers’ under the premise of ‘securing a sustainable energy future.’ Sessions include debates on energy security and ‘engaging with and influencing the energy consumer.’ Talk of sustainability is entrenched firmly in the lexicon of the market, and the default model of big business is underlined by featured attendees – from the Big Six energy companies including EON, EDF, and Scottish Power, and fossil fuel giants Shell and BP. It is clear that the summit, with its prohibitive attendance costs, is an arena in which to play the exclusive game of Big Energy – behind closed doors

As this elite group discusses how to ‘keep the lights on and the transport moving,’ concepts like energy security evoke just the opposite, underlining the degree of their control over the UK energy system and acting as an implicit threat to those who might refuse to play by the rules they dictate

The vicissitudes of a complex global energy market (with all the politics it contains) combined with opportunism of energy corporations, which by nature are focused above all on maximising profit, have led to dramatic rises in domestic fuel prices, to the extent that between 7.8 and 8.9 million people in the UK are expected to live in fuel poverty by 2016. And the subtext of energy efficiency drives seems to be to force consumers to pay increasingly more for less – perhaps the kind of ‘influence’ summit attendees have in mind.

The massive and continuing growth in Big Six profits makes a mockery of government talk of austerity, and adds the energy industry to the parade of big corporations for whom ‘recession’ is simply an opportunity to increase wealth; the 99 per cent / 1 per cent split, underlined daily.

The Big Six and other energy giants continue to use climate-wrecking fossil fuels as the mainstay of energy production for one reason – profit. Fossil fuels are simply the cheapest source of centralised energy: for all the rhetoric about renewables, the numbers just don’t stack up. Big Energy is turning to ever-more environmentally destructive methods of fossil fuel extraction including tar sands, fracking and deep sea oil drilling, as well as other unsustainable energy sources like agrofuels and nuclear power. In short, Big Energy is diametrically opposed to sustainability, from source through to production and transmission

One solution is absolutely off the table at the summit: a democratic energy system. A wide-ranging network of locally run, community controlled renewable energy projects like those springing up in Bristol, Brixton and elsewhere would mean real choice for you and me

The Big Six Energy Bash will descend on the UK Energy Summit, combining party and protest to take action against Big Energy as well as proposing democratic energy futures. Themed blocs will converge to create a carnivalesque space, satirising the business of dirty energy and taking power back to the people. Through direct action, music, theatre, workshops and speakers, we will create the community sorely lacking in the summit.

If the UK Energy Summit is a symbol of energy dictatorship, The Big Six Energy Bash will symbolise energy democracy; standing up to those who control popular access to a living essential and, in doing so, continue the race towards global climate catastrophe.

On 3 May the Climate Justice Collective (supported by UKUncut, the UK Tar Sands Network and Fuel Poverty Action London amongst others) will be playing a different game – celebrating the potential of energy in our hands, and actively resisting the stranglehold of the ‘free’ market approach.

Come and play!

climatejusticecollective.org

facebook.com/climatejusticecollective

follow us on Twitter @cj_collective hashtag #big6bash

 


✹ Try our new pay-as-you-feel subscription — you choose how much to pay.

Secrets and spies of Scotland Yard
A new Espionage Act threatens whistleblowers and journalists, writes Sarah Kavanagh

#AndABlackWomanAtThat – part II: a discussion of power and privilege
In the second article of a three-part series, Sheri Carr reflects on the silencing of black women and the flaws in safe spaces

How progressive is the ‘progressive alliance’?
We need an anti-austerity alliance, not a vaguely progressive alliance, argues Michael Calderbank

The YPJ: Fighting Isis on the frontline
Rahila Gupta talks to Kimmie Taylor about life on the frontline in Rojava

Joint statement on George Osborne’s appointment to the Evening Standard
'We have come together to denounce this brazen conflict of interest and to champion the growing need for independent, truthful and representative media'

Confronting Brexit
Paul O’Connell and Michael Calderbank consider the conditions that led to the Brexit vote, and how the left in Britain should respond

On the right side of history: an interview with Mijente
Marienna Pope-Weidemann speaks to Reyna Wences, co-founder of Mijente, a radical Latinx and Chincanx organising network

Disrupting the City of London Corporation elections
The City of London Corporation is one of the most secretive and least understood institutions in the world, writes Luke Walter

#AndABlackWomanAtThat: a discussion of power and privilege
In the first article of a three-part series, Sheri Carr reflects on the oppression of her early life and how we must fight it, even in our own movement

Corbyn understands the needs of our communities
Ian Hodson reflects on the Copeland by-election and explains why Corbyn has the full support of The Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union

Red Pepper’s race section: open editorial meeting 15 March
On 15 March, we’ll be holding the first of Red Pepper’s Race Section open editorial meetings.

Social Workers Without Borders
Jenny Nelson speaks to Lauren Wroe about a group combining activism and social work with refugees

Growing up married
Laura Nicholson interviews Dr Eylem Atakav about her new film, Growing Up Married, which tells the stories of Turkey’s child brides

The Migrant Connections Festival: solidarity needs meaningful relationships
On March 4 & 5 Bethnal Green will host a migrant-led festival fostering community and solidarity for people of all backgrounds, writes Sohail Jannesari

Reclaiming Holloway Homes
The government is closing old, inner-city jails. Rebecca Roberts looks at what happens next

Intensification of state violence in the Kurdish provinces of Turkey
Oppression increases in the run up to Turkey’s constitutional referendum, writes Mehmet Ugur from Academics for Peace

Pass the domestic violence bill
Emma Snaith reports on the significance of the new anti-domestic violence bill

Report from the second Citizen’s Assembly of Podemos
Sol Trumbo Vila says the mandate from the Podemos Assembly is to go forwards in unity and with humility

Protect our public lands
Last summer Indigenous people travelled thousands of miles around the USA to tell their stories and build a movement. Julie Maldonado reports

From the frontlines
Red Pepper’s new race editor, Ashish Ghadiali, introduces a new space for black and minority progressive voices

How can we make the left sexy?
Jenny Nelson reports on a session at The World Transformed

In pictures: designing for change
Sana Iqbal, the designer behind the identity of The World Transformed festival and the accompanying cover of Red Pepper, talks about the importance of good design

Angry about the #MuslimBan? Here are 5 things to do
As well as protesting against Trump we have a lot of work to get on with here in the UK. Here's a list started by Platform

Who owns our land?
Guy Shrubsole gives some tips for finding out

Don’t delay – ditch coal
Take action this month with the Coal Action Network. By Anne Harris

Utopia: Work less play more
A shorter working week would benefit everyone, writes Madeleine Ellis-Petersen

Mum’s Colombian mine protest comes to London
Anne Harris reports on one woman’s fight against a multinational coal giant

Bike courier Maggie Dewhurst takes on the gig economy… and wins
We spoke to Mags about why she’s ‘biting the hand that feeds her’

Utopia: Daring to dream
Imagining a better world is the first step towards creating one. Ruth Potts introduces our special utopian issue

A better Brexit
The left should not tail-end the establishment Bremoaners, argues Michael Calderbank


36