TUED Working Papers

Research and Analysis

TUED Working Papers2019-06-30T23:13:31+00:00

Working Paper #12 / May 2019

The Road Less Travelled: Reclaiming Public Transport for Climate-Ready Mobility

Sean Sweeney and John Treat

In order to have any chance of reaching internationally agreed, science-based targets to avoid dangerous global warming, transport-related emissions need to stop rising almost immediately—and must fall by several percentage points each year for the next few decades. Public transport can make a vital contribution to achieving this goal, but realizing its potential will require a radical shift in policy.

Click here for more information and to download.

Working Paper #11 / April 2018

Trade Unions & Just Transition: The Search for a Transformative Politics

Sean Sweeney and John Treat

Championed by unions, the term “Just Transition” has gained a firm foothold in the global policy discourse. But what do unions mean by Just Transition and how can it be achieved? How can worker-focused concerns become integrated into a broad program for social change that can address the need for a socio-ecological transformation?

Click here for more information and to download.

Working Paper #10 / November 2017

Preparing a Public Pathway: Confronting the Investment Crisis in Renewable Energy

Sean Sweeney and John Treat

Why a profit-based approach to renewable energy is failing to deliver the energy transition, and why we urgently need to pursue public alternatives.

Click here for more information and to download.

Working Paper #9 / January 2017

Energy Transition: Are We “Winning”?

Sean Sweeney and John Treat

In this ninth TUED working paper, authors Sean Sweeney and John Treat document the recent claims of the optimistic, “green growth” narrative; examine the evidence frequently used to legitimize and sustain it; and then consider this evidence in context of the broader trends in the global energy system, drawing on a range of major recent data sources. What the paper’s analysis shows is that, unfortunately, the world is not “moving away from fossil fuels”; far from it. The recent “we are winning” optimism is misplaced, misleading, and disarming. It must therefore be rejected, and replaced with a more sober perspective that draws hope and confidence not from a selective and self-deceiving interpretation of the data, but from the rising global movement for climate justice and energy democracy, armed with clear programmatic goals and a firm commitment to achieve them.

Click here more information and to download.

Working Paper #8 / November 2016

Up From Development: A Framework for Energy Transition in India

Rohan D. Mathews, Susana Barria, and Ashim Roy

In India as elsewhere, the need to transition to a new kind of energy system opens up the opportunity to remake society in a manner that promotes democracy and social justice. But it also creates the risk that the “common sustenance of humanity” will be captured by private interests rather than be deployed for the public good. Which path we go down will depend on the organizational and political strength of working people. In this paper, the authors provide a clear-eyed analysis of the policies that unions and their allies can rally behind in order to ensure a truly just transition.

Click here for more information and to download.

Working Paper #7 / July 2016

An Illness to One Is the Concern of All: The Health Impacts of Rising Fossil Fuel Use

Svati Shah and Sean Sweeney

This paper has been written to help unions representing workers in all sectors get a clear sense of what is presently happening in terms of the health impact of fossil fuel use and what could also happen if present patterns in energy use continue into the future. The data are presented in a way that unions can use to more effectively advocate both for their members and the broader public.

Click here for more information and to download.

Working Paper #6 / March 2016

Carbon Markets After Paris: Trading in Trouble

Sean Sweeney

The need to “put a price on carbon” in order to drive and incentivize low-carbon investment patterns and industrial practices has stood at the heart of neoliberal climate policy since the early 1990s. This paper takes a critical look at this core policy commitment, particularly emissions trading, and how unions have responded to it.

Click here for more information and to download.

Working Paper #5 / October 2015

Hard Facts About Coal: Why Trade Unions Should Re-evaluate Support for Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)

Sean Sweeney

Trade unions — especially those representing workers in power generation and energy-intensive industries — have generally supported CCS. This paper presents two sets of data that should lead them to reconsider. These data are presented as two scenarios labeled “CCS non-deployment” and “CCS deployment.” This paper argues that the problems associated with either scenario are serious enough to require a thorough re-evaluation of trade union support for CCS. It also urges unions to commit to developing a third scenario, one that is based on a willingness to challenge the assumption that the demand for energy will continue to rise and that “growth” as traditionally understood can continue in a more or less uninterrupted fashion. A third scenario will also be anchored in public ownership and the reclaiming of energy resources, infrastructure, and options to the public sphere.

Click here for more information and to download.

Working Paper #4 / June 2015

Power to the People: Toward Democratic Control of Electrical Power Generation

Sean Sweeney, Kylie Benton-Connell and Lara Skinner

The term “energy democracy” is now part of the trade union discourse on energy and climate change in a way that was not the case just two or three years ago. A growing number of unions, as well as regional bodies like the Trade Union Confederation of the Americas, are calling for democratic control over energy, for a “reclaiming” of the energy sector to the public sphere and for a just transition to a renewables-based, low-carbon economy. But the actual and potential content behind the term “energy democracy” needs to be fleshed out. Unions can engage in this struggle in a manner that could increase worker and community control over electrical power generation and, potentially, build unions.

Click here for more information and to download.

Working Paper #3 / January 2015

Syriza’s Program and the Transition to Renewable Power

Sean Sweeney

The goal of this paper is to show how economic crisis and austerity, which today serves as the perfect cover for inaction and reversals on climate protection and ecological sustainability, could actually spur a radical departure from the slow and stuttering progress of the recent past. The paper looks at the opportunities for such a departure in Greece, a country mired in debt, high unemployment, and on the receiving end of a full-blown austerity program. But Greece is also a country where the radical Left could soon be in power led by a party, SYRIZA, that’s committed to nothing less than the “ecological transformation of the economy.”

Click here for more information and to download.

Working Paper #2 / September 2014

Climate Change and the Great Inaction: New Trade Union Perspectives

Sean Sweeney

Trade unions — especially those representing workers in power generation and energy-intensive industries — have generally supported CCS. This paper presents two sets of data that should lead them to reconsider. These data are presented as two scenarios labeled “CCS non-deployment” and “CCS deployment.” This paper argues that the problems associated with either scenario are serious enough to require a thorough re-evaluation of trade union support for CCS. It also urges unions to commit to developing a third scenario, one that is based on a willingness to challenge the assumption that the demand for energy will continue to rise and that “growth” as traditionally understood can continue in a more or less uninterrupted fashion. A third scenario will also be anchored in public ownership and the reclaiming of energy resources, infrastructure, and options to the public sphere.

Click here for more information and to download.

Working Paper #1 / June 2014

Global Shale Gas and the Anti-Fracking Movement: Developing Union Perspectives and Approaches

Sean Sweeney and Lara Skinner

This paper has been prepared to assist unions and their close allies who wish to better understand the impacts of shale gas drilling, or “fracking,” and want to develop a position or approach to fracking that protects workers, communities, and the environment.

Click here for more information and to download.

TUED’s Framework Document / November 2012

Resist, Reclaim, Restructure: Unions and the Struggle for Energy Democracy

Sean Sweeney

Prepared for the Roundtable, this document is presently in draft form and is for discussion purposes only.

Click here for more information and to download.