We must demand something better.
Last week, a fuel poverty activist told me this story. She’d been invited as the token campaigner to a corporate energy event, and was chatting to a rep from the notorious price-hiking frack-happy utility company British Gas. She decided to ask him a cheeky question: ‘What will you do if we get our way? If the world switches away from fossil fuels, to better insulation and renewable energy? What happens to your company then?’
The utility rep replied: ‘Well, I guess we’ll just move into insulation and renewable energy.’
This suggestion filled her – and me – with dread. It’s easy to get caught up in the urgency of climate change, and assume that we just need more renewable energy, and it doesn’t matter exactly what it is or who provides it. This magazine explores why, and how, we must demand something better: an energy system controlled by people, not by corporations, providing genuinely clean energy to everyone who needs it.
Continuing the environmental theme, our Argument this month provocatively asks: if you care about climate change, should you have children? And Gavin Evans considers the ugly return of racism into science and academia.
Danny Chivers for the New Internationalist co-operative.
Is big business poised to capture the renewables revolution? Danny Chivers draws up the battle lines.
In January this year, the energy researcher Jeremy Leggett made a bold claim. He told the Guardian newspaper that we should expect a major oil firm to turn its back on fossil fuels soon and shift to renewable energy. ‘One of the oil companies will break ranks,’ he said, ‘and this time it is going to stick.’1
Leggett points to the collapsed oil price, the falling costs of renewable-energy generation and potential...
Dreaming of a better future, some 700,000 Indonesians each year join the ranks of migrant workers abroad. But many face exploitation, abuse and deception at the hands of their employers. Michael Malay travelled to the West Javan province of Indramayu to talk to some of those who have returned.