From the TUC

ITUC gains Observer status at UN Climate Change Conference

08 Dec 2008, by in Environment

In recognition of the important work on climate change conducted by the trade union movement, the UN body dealing with climate change (the UNFCCC) has granted the ITUC the select formal status of being an “official constituency” in the Climate Change process for the ITUC’s contributions and its participation from now on.

“Trade unions believe climate change is not only an environmental issue, but also is about social rights and rights to development, and that is the contribution we bring to the UN process,” said ITUC General Secretary Guy Ryder.

“Combating climate change will imply huge transformations in production, necessary to change our unsustainable, carbon-intensive societies, but which require significant government intervention. It is how well this economic transformation is managed that will determine whether the new jobs created will be more numerous than those lost, whether it is socially just or traumatic, and whether it is broadly supported or encounters resistance from labour.”

Trade Unions specifically call for a “Just transition framework” to be introduced into the negotiations. This means promoting the opportunities offered by the ‘Green Economy’ – green & decent jobs and the greening of workplaces – based on sustainable industrial development and an equitable share of losses and gains.

“The UN must place workers and workplaces at the core of its strategy to tackle climate change,” said Ryder. “Unions are calling for innovative multilateral solutions, without which the main victims of climate change will be the workers, in particular in developing countries.”

The ITUC supports the 2020 and 2050 targets set in the IPCC conclusions on the need for a reduction of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of at least 25%-40% by 2020 below 1990 levels to attain a global reduction of 85% by 2050.

The ITUC’s groundbreaking policy statement to the UNFCCC conference in Poznan clearly affirmed its commitment to a socially fair and climate agreement by the end of 2009, and put forward concrete demands to ensure a fair transition.

At meetings with Governments and packed Side Events in Posnan, the trade union delegation (which is composed of more than 100 delegates from 40 countries) has been pressing the case for massive green jobs programmes to counter the global recession now hitting major economies. This means a new role for many Governments, with smart, green interventions at national and sectoral level.