Blog Action Day: Unions talk climate with the EU
It’s Blog Action Day today, and over 8,000 blogs are coming together to spark discussion around the issue of climate change.
I’m spending the day in Brussels, at a co-ordinating conference of unions working on environmental issues. A European Union spokesperson has just told us that CO2 reduction pledges are so far adding up to a 17% cut, which is around half of the fall in emissions we need globally by 2020.
We’re hearing again that the EU is 100% behind a Just Transition text in the new agreement at the UN climate change conference in Copenhagen this December, though we were confused that the EU rep seemed at first to be unaware of it. It seems that this is beause the high politics of Copenhagen are focusing most closely on getting key agreements on CO2 reductions of between 25% to 40% by 2020, and on a massive new climate fund for developing nations.
True, but if government CO2 pledges to date total just 17% down from 1990 levels, clearly our plans for a Just Transition, with the emphasis on consultation, investment in green jobs and low carbon technology, and building green skills, will be even more necessary to secure the road from Copenhagen to the transformed world we’ll live and work in in 2020.
We’re now turning to an EU strategy for the heavy energy-consuming industries like steel, cement, aluminium etc. It’s the kind of detailed and engaged debate that unions believe must lie at the heart of the post-Copenhagen Europe.
At this point, workers across Europe are very worried about the outlook for jobs. We have to make sure we combine economic recovery with the opportunities in a full green transition strategy, because the transformative changes we need can’t just be top down and will only work as completely and as quickly as they have to if all of society are able to buy in to them. More urgent talks between the EU and Europe’s unions will be happening in the run up to Copenhagen.