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Trade union members are on the climate change frontline. Not just in vulnerable nations such as Bangladesh, which is facing the most extreme impacts of unstable, changing climate, but also in the industrial and energy sector across the developed world, with our unsustainable dependence on fossil fuel. This has reached the point where, according to the International Energy Agency http://www.iea.org/ , “the consequences for the global climate of policy inaction are shocking”.
Our future lies in a green economy http://www.ituc-csi.org/climate-change-and-green-economy.html
We work with European trade unions for investments in the jobs and skills for a low carbon economy. The European TUC is calling on the European Council to prioritise sustainable investment and support a 2nd Kyoto period for Just Transition at Durban (COP17: http://www.etuc.org/a/9161)
We work with trade unions globally through the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) http://www.ituc-csi.org/climate-change.htmlÂ to secure a “fair, ambitious and binding” UN agreement on climate change. Through the global trade union movement, we will be represented in Durban in December 2011 at the UN negotiations as governments meet again to try to agree a deal on global emissions reductions, and the Green Climate Fund.
A new global climate agreement must be based on four principles:
- historic responsibilities of developed nations for past greenhouse gas emissions, and therefore greater obligations to make binding cuts in emissions in line with the scientific evidence.
- “common but differentiated responsibilities”, with emerging economies willing to adopt low carbon development strategies, below “business as usual”.
- a Just Transition to a low carbon future, involving consultations between governments, unions, employers, voluntary and community organisations on investments in green jobs and skills.
The TUC is working with UK NGOs and with unions globally for a successful Rio+20 UN Conference in June 2012. As the European TUC says, the Summit must deliver a concrete and ambitious pathway towards sustainability [pleased make link to ETUC statement]. A declaration will not be enough. Workers expect governments and civil society to leave Rio+20 with decisions that will be implemented from day 1. These must include nationally-based commitments for decent and green jobs, including targets and accompanying social policies. They must also commit to a Financial Transactions Tax to support climate action, support social protection in the poorest nations and their development, and to reduce financial speculation.