From the TUC

Durban diary 10: Last call from the ITUC

09 Dec 2011, by in Environment

UN Climate Change Conference, DurbanAs the restive crowds gather at the UN centre in Durban, the ITUC has issued a final appeal to governments to “make a U-turn on the road they are taking to climate disaster.” After two weeks of negotiations, the talks are entering their final hours with negotiations expected to continue into the early hours of Saturday morning. ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow said:

“Negotiators are taking us further away from the goal of capping the rise of the earth temperature to 2 degrees. The gap between the science and decision makers is widening, which will leave a terrible impact for the planet and people.

“It is not acceptable for governments to turn up at meeting after meeting, with the same blinkered mandate, and ignore the actions called for by voters, workers and communities.” Unions had come to Durban to ask government to join a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, yet a postponement on its ratification until 2012 in Qatar, without solving the loopholes in the Protocol rules, seems likely.

“We came asking a mandate for a global legally-binding outcome, to be negotiated as soon as possible, and it seems we’ll again see a postponement. Draft a mandate after 2012 risks delaying climate commitments until 2020, and reducing the scope for a Just Transition for our people.”

The ITUC also came asking for an operational and democratic Green Climate Fund. We might get just an empty bank account with weak governance mechanisms.

Whatever the outcome in Durban it’s clear from the tremendous commitment from unions globally and the exchange of experience and ideas between the over 200 union  delegates that we have a vital role to play in tackling climate change from the grassroots upwards. Through workplace actions and in influencing employers and governments at national level in many countries, we are building platforms and initiatives in just transition and green jobs, despite the inability of many governments to reach a global deal.

Sharan Burrow added:

“We will bring an ambitious and rights-based voice to the UN climate talks in Qatar in 2012. And we will mobilise thousands of people in support of green and decent jobs on the streets for the Rio+20 meeting.”