Skip to main content
In These Times Getting to Zero cover

In These Times special issue features how a democratic economy can help in “getting to zero”

Gar Alperovitz

Gar Alperovitz

Co-Chair of The Next System Project more

Johanna Bozuwa

Johanna Bozuwa

Research Associate, The Democracy Collaborative more

Environment & Energy Democratic Ownership

The May 2019 special issue of In These Times magazine, “Getting to Zero,” features an article by Next System Project co-founder Gar Alperovitz and researcher Johanna Bozuwa that calls for taking public control of electric utilities to remove a major impediment to the green transition. The issue also includes an article on “How to Bury the Fossil Fuel Industry” by Kate Aronoff that is based on The Next System Project’s “quantitative easing for the planet” proposal.

In “Electric Companies Won’t Go Green Unless the Public Takes Control,” Alperovitz and Bozuwa write that meeting the goals of the Green New Deal “requires not just a few new green technologies, but a reimagining of the way the pieces fit together. We need a system rebuilt from the ground up with institutions of democratic, rather than private, control.”

Corporate energy utilities “stand as impediments to a viable energy future,” having proved “more interested in fleecing ratepayers than in sustainability.” An energy grid more suitable for a warming world and for the use of solar and wind power would replace today’s large, centralized generating nodes with “smaller, community-sized units, interlinked but capable of operating independently in an emergency. Here, community- or neighborhood-size renewable energy installations could be owned and operated for the benefit of the communities they serve, not a giant power company’s investors.”

Aronoff writes that “living up to the values embodied in a Green New Deal will require a managed decline of the fossil fuel industry, in which the first priority is ensuring a dignified quality of life for extractive sector employees—not golden parachutes for C-suite executives.” She notes that ”researchers at the Next System Project have suggested the U.S. government could bring U.S.-based fossil fuel industries under public ownership by buying up 51 percent of their shares—investors could sell these voluntarily, or else be made to compulsorily—then moving swiftly to curtail production.”

Read these and other articles in the In These Times special issue here.

 

 

Gar Alperovitz

Gar Alperovitz

Co-Chair of The Next System Project more

Johanna Bozuwa

Johanna Bozuwa

Research Associate, The Democracy Collaborative more

More related work

Democratic employee ownership funds

Plans advance for democratizing worker ownership

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has put forward a set of proposals that would”fundamentally shift the wealth of the economy into the hands of those who create it.” read more
Democratizing power in rural America through electric co-ops

Democratizing power in rural America through electric co-ops

In this episode, we’re discussing how to further democratize rural electric cooperatives and what that means for the communities that these institutions serve. read more
Red-state socialism

Red-state socialism

Many “red states” already have some socialist policies and institutions—actual common ownership and public provision of goods and services often reserved for private markets. Not only are many of these institutions long-lasting; they’re also both popular and successful. read more