Energy, or access to electricity, has now evolved as one of the essentials for a decent and modern standard of living. Our basic rights are now, in one way or another, connected to the quality of life brought about by electricity; it helps towards the progress, development and even realization of our rights to education, health, among other things. However, the same progress brought about by the use of energy has resulted in consumerist lifestyles and economies based on consumption.
Electricity is one of the greatest advances of human technology. The progress of the power industry has exponentially grown. But the growth of the power sector has never translated into an equitable distribution of energy but rather into unequal access, uneven distribution, exclusion and injustices. Worse, this progress has led us to global warming, and other adverse effects on natural resources and the climate.
Despite all the advances of science and technology, around 2 billion of the world's population, majority of them living in Asia Pacific still has no access to electricity. And many countries in the South today suffer from power supply shortage. A section of the South who may not have problems as worse as no access to electricity or having a power crisis, face the burden of rising energy costs. Moreover, women disproportionately bear the burden of the lack of access to sufficient electricity as they are usually the ones in charge of household and reproductive work.
The right to energy reinforces the fundamental right to development declared by the UN. Equitable access to quality and affordable energy must be available to all as a public good. In the modern world, the right to energy is essential in the pursuit of social justice.
Under the guise of technology transfer and management efficiency, power privatization has been intensified in developing countries. This phenomenon, mainly caused by pressures from International Financial Institutions to restructure the power sector, further drove peoples of the South into energy poverty. Privatization of the power industry in South countries - involving the entry of Independent Power Producers, private investors, global energy corporations and private-public partnerships - has led to further increase in power rates driven by pursuit of private profit, and the slowing down of national electrification programs primarily because the private sector will not invest in places where return of investments is low. Power projects have also resulted in massive displacement of the peoples of the South, making them more vulnerable to the adverse effects of a rapidly changing climate.
If there is one industry that has the most impact on the climate, it is the power industry. From the use of fossil fuels to the massive deforestation brought about by power generation projects and fuel extraction businesses, the power industry accounts for a significant portion of GHG emissions in general, and a huge portion of excessive GHG emissions of rich industrialized countries in particular.
The struggle of the people against the existing power industry paradigm must be intensified. The pressures from IFI's to advance neo-liberal restructuring in each country's power industry must be exposed and resisted.
The capitalist drive for expansion and the consequent overproduction, its fueling of a lifestyle of overconsumption among the middle class and elites, and the dependence and abuse of fossil fuels and extractive industries must be stopped, and a new system and social order put in place. Energy must be appreciated as means to enhance equity especially for the marginalized and vulnerable, and produced and used in a manner that is within the earth's capacity to sustain. Respect for human rights, energy responsibility, environmental justice and the pursuit of gender and social justice must be advanced as foundations of a sustainable future.
Affirm the people's right to energy that is adequate, reliable, affordable, safe, clean, and sustainable.
The state must be held accountable and responsible in its role to ensure the right of the people to energy. As such, each government must formulate national energy programs and policies that clearly uphold sovereignty rather than corporate and IFI's interests; enhance self-sufficiency; develop clean and renewable energy and; promote equity and social justice.
Equitable and responsible access to energy can be promoted through the socialization of power rates using government energy subsidies for the marginalized and full transparency in all contracts involving power-related government projects and programs. Push for socialized pricing schemes and transparent management of the power industry.
Ensure that the power industry will not be dominated by profit-driven private interests. Keep all sectors of the power industry, including transmission, in public hands.
Expose the failure of privatization schemes to solve the problems of the energy sector. Fight for the reversal of and stopping the privatization of the power industry. Resist the imposition and financing of the privatization of power by the World Bank and the ADB.
All loans used for the privatization of power should be treated as illegitimate and thus, should be refused, canceled or repudiated. Expose the linkages between the debt and privatization of power. . Rescind onerous contracts with local and global power companies.
Exclude the Power industry from the coverage of World Trade Organization (WTO) and General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS); Reject trade agreements that facilitate privatization of power . Remove energy from global trade agreements.
Stop all financing, in particular of the World Bank and ADB of fossil fuel projects and extractive industries that cause excessive emissions of GHG's into the atmosphere and cause widespread displacement; exacerbating climate change. Oppose the collusion of international financial institutions, global energy corporations, and Southern elites & governments.
Oppose the building of new nuclear plants. Nuclear power plants pose serious environmental and health hazards and risks including the wastage of huge amounts of water. Actively oppose the inclusion of nuclear plants in the climate mitigation programs of governments.
Oppose the building of new mega-dam projects which not only dislocate communities and peoples but also cause harm to forests and watersheds and other elements of the environment. Mega-hydroelectric dams should not be included in the energy alternatives programs for climate mitigation.
Oppose energy projects which dislocate communities and peoples, which particularly decrease their capacity to cope and adapt to the ill effects of climate change.
Promote renewable energy, including decentralized micro-energy projects, that are sustainable, renewable and are democratically managed. Oppose nuclear energy, "clean coal", agrofuels, "technofixes" and other false solutions to the climate crisis.
Campaign for climate justice and for policies on the power sector to be within the framework of mitigation program. Climate negotiations, agreements and policies on climate change must clearly recognize that fossil fuel projects and extractive industries must be phased out as quickly as possible and replaced by renewable energy to radically lower down global GHG emissions. Develop a more sustainable power transmission and distribution network that is compliant or compatible with solutions the climate crisis.
Seek restitution and reparations for power-related policies and projects that have negative effects on people's health, food security and livelihood, and cause the destruction of natural resources.
Fight for the transformation of states and the establishment of democratic governments so that they become true instruments of people power. These are vital requirements towards sustainable and democratic management of water resources and services.
Call for the fundamental restructuring of ownership of resources, of production and of consumption and towards the transformation of the global economic and financial system; recognizing that It is the only strategic solution to ensure that the power industry is managed well, and is shared equitably and democratically.