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Monday, September 21, 2015

Trade unions and climate experts say ‘no jobs on a dead planet’

As support for a low carbon, renewable energy economy grows worldwide, trade unions from 60 countries joined forces today to call for an ambitious climate change agreement in Paris this December. 

They urge governments to increase climate ambition, deliver climate finance and ensure a ‘just transition’ to a low carbon economy. 

Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation said: 

Without a just transition to a zero carbon future, there will be no jobs on a dead planet. Workers and their unions are ready to take a seat at the table with industry, with government. To tackle climate change we need everyone to ensure our countries and our economies have a sustainable future. 

By calling for action, working people are joining others from all walks of life, including  faith communitiesbusinesses and investors, who are pushing governments to leave fossil fuels behind and make a sustainable move to a fully renewable energy powered economy. 

In doing so, governments will protect workers and communities, create jobs and support the neediest, say the Unions and climate specialists, who presented their demands to COP21 President Laurent Fabius. 

Over nine million people already work in the renewables sector worldwide. The US climate plan will deliver nearly 470,000 jobs by 2030. 

And more ambition brings even greater benefits: if the European Union were to head for 100% renewables by mid-century, 420,000 jobs would be created and $170 billion saved in prevented fossil fuel import costs.

Not to mention the massive job potential offered by a resource-efficient, circular economy.

Bernadette Ségol, General Secretary, European Trade Union Confederation said:

Climate change poses an existential challenge to humanity. At the same time there are enormous job opportunities arising from investment in energy infrastructure, renewable energy and energy efficiency. As trade unionists we want ambitious climate and energy targets with a just transition for workers and their communities to a low-carbon economy. The positive and negative job impacts have to be managed fairly, and workers must not be left behind by technological change. 

Leaders who still use ‘jobs’ as a magic word to keep failing, polluting sectors on a life support drip could find support for their leadership vanishing into thin air. 

Pumping carbon is not a prerequisite for economic growth; quite the contrary – there are ‘no jobs on a dead planet’.

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