Get on with it, before the lights go out

THIS WAY? Are world leaders heading in the right direction?

With governments downplaying prospects for December’s UN climate summit and the chances of a binding agreement receding fast, the international trade union movement has called on governments to go to the Copenhagen meeting ready to make decisions that will put the world on an unequivocal path to a low-carbon future.

 * Cambio climático: El realismo ha de implicar también ambición
* Changement climatique : Réalisme doit se conjuguer avec ambition

“The science shows clearly that the longer we wait, the higher the human, environmental and economic costs will be,” said ITUC general secretary Guy Ryder.

“We need governments to make ambitious commitments which will set in stone the core elements of a treaty that must be completed as a matter of urgency. This means legally-binding targets on emissions and longer-term financing to assist developing countries to adapt, as well as ’just transition’ strategies to deal with the social and employment dimensions.”

The ITUC statement to the Summit, released on 17 November, sets out the international trade union movement’s position in detail, emphasising the need for creation of green and decent jobs, through investment in new low-carbon production and services and measures to reduce the carbon footprints of existing industries.
ITUC says its platform was developed through an exhaustive 18-month process of negotiation involving trade unions from every part of the world, and reflects the concerns and proposals of working people from developing and industrialised countries.

“The world simply cannot afford further delays in action to avoid catastrophic climate change. Political leadership is critically important at this juncture, and unless momentum is regained, the world will pay a heavy price,” said Ryder.

The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) also expressed concern about talk of no deal at the December summit, and called instead for “a strong and ambitious political commitment.”

Confederal secretary Joël Decaillon commented: “It is essential to maintain the objectives that have been set for the Copenhagen conference. The absence of an agreement would boil down to wasting an extremely important opportunity, particularly in a context of crisis that imposes another concept of development.”

He added: “The European trade unions also point out that climate change can and must have the ambition of becoming a driver of sustainable growth and of social progress in the fight against poverty and social inequalities.”

* ITUC Statement to the Copenhagen COP15 Summit and related information about trade unions and climate change.

* Towards the Copenhagen Summit – John Monks’ contribution [video]


Union action call

Note from Anabella Rosemberg, ITUC sustainable development – occupational health policy officer


Dear friends, the CALL for ACTION from the ITUC on climate change is now available in all ITUC languages in our climate website: and also ITUC Circular 65/Letter for Ministers

Chers amis, l’appel de la CSI pour agir au sujet du changement climatique est désormais disponible dans toutes les langues de la CSI et aussi Circulaire CSI 65: Lettre pour les Ministres [pdf].

Queridos amigos, el llamado a la acción de la CSI sobre el cambio climático ya está disponible en todos los idiomas de la CSI. Circular de la CSI 65: Carta para los Ministros/as [pdf]

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