Climate Change

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Climate change resulting from carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gas emissions poses the greatest threat to our existence on this planet. To contain that threat, the world needs to cut emissions by about half by 2050 and to start reducing emissions now. We support strong actions at home, believing that green jobs can help secure our climate change objectives. Following advice from the Committee on Climate Change the UK is committed to halving its CO2 emissions by 2025.

But concerted international action is essential to achieve global cuts in CO2 emissions. We work with trade unions globally through the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)  to secure a “fair, ambitious and binding” UN agreement on climate change. Like many other organisations, we were hugely disappointed by the outcome of the Copenhagen Accord, in December 2009. Through the global trade union movement, we will be represented in Durban this December at the UN negotiations as governments meet again to try to agree a deal on global emissions reductions, and the Green Climate Fund.

The TUC argues that a new global climate agreement must be based on four principles:

  • the historic responsibilities of developed nations for past greenhouse gas emissions, and therefore greater obligations to make cuts
  • “common but differentiated responsibilities”, with the developed world taking the lead in cutting emissions, leaving room for the developing world to grow
  • future sustainability – obliging all nations to ensure that future generations are not placed in jeopardy
  • “procedural fairness” – a Just Transition to a low carbon future, perceived as fair by workers and their communities, involving consultation and investment in green jobs and skills

The mythical “march of the makers”: In his 2011 Budget speech, George Osborne said he wanted “a Britain carried aloft by the march of the makers.” However, a new TUC analysis shows that manufacturing’s proportion of GDP has flatlined at 10.1% of GDP for the past six years. Our foundation...
18 March 2015
7 March 2015 Commenting on the Time to Act on Climate Change march taking place today (Saturday) in London, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “2015 is a crunch year for the UN’s climate change negotiations and every government must play its part to make the new climate treaty a...
07 March 2015
The government is saddling businesses with higher than necessary energy bills through its failing energy efficiency strategy for the commercial sector, a new TUC report argues today (Friday). Efforts by government to boost commercial energy efficiency are not working, and end up costing UK businesses millions of pounds every year,...
13 February 2015
An ambitious roll-out of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology in Scotland would generate a large number of jobs and create a market worth £15-35bn by 2030, says the TUC and the Carbon Capture and Storage Association (CCSA).
27 January 2015
Green innovation: industrial policy for a low carbon future This report for the TUC by Prof Paul Ekins and Will McDowall argues that government has a key leadership role in creating a “dynamic and vibrant innovation system” that meets society’s environmental and economic aspirations. The direction the UK’s economic growth...
06 November 2014
This Time is Different: The Prospects for an Effective Climate Agreement in Paris 2015 Fergus Green explores the “policy architecture” of the global climate change treaty that the UN is striving to conclude by the time it meets in Paris, December 2015. We want a “fair, ambitious and legally binding”...
06 November 2014
Commenting on today’s report ‘Better Growth, Better Climate’ from the Global Commission on the Economy and the Climate, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “This excellent report by a highly distinguished commission drawn from across the globe makes a compelling and practical case for how a rapid low-carbon shift can...
16 September 2014
GREENING THE WORKPLACE – BUILDING THE UNION EFFECT, 11 JULY 2014 Speech by Kay Carberry, TUC Assistant General Secretary Key points from the new Labour Research Department report for the TUC on the union effect in greening our workplaces. New rights for environmental reps.
15 July 2014
The Union effect, the latest greenworkplace report from the TUC, bring together the latest evidence of on the benefits of joint union/management "green" initiatives at work.
11 July 2014
TUC welcomes EU investment in Yorkshire carbon capture project The TUC today (Tuesday) welcomed the news that the European Commission is to award up to £240m to the White Rose carbon capture project in Yorkshire. TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “This is great news for jobs and investment in...
08 July 2014