From the TUC

Copenhagen Diary #6: Hopenhagen (really)

12 Dec 2009, by in Environment

Last night, perhaps for the first time ever at the UN, governments discussed the relevance, or not, of references to workers’ issues in an international agreement. We have urged governments to put the issues of Just Transition and Decent Work on the table. And last night, albeit in closed session, we hear from various reports that governments gave explicit support for a just transition to a low carbon future!

Many nations contributed to the discussion. It’s impossible not to report here the sense of jubilation at this morning’s meeting, as we received this news. We’re at a key stage in the UN negotiations. The text – see below – received the full support of the G77, the EU, the US and many others.

With around 19 paragraphs in the Shared Vision text as a whole there is some way to go. But governments will probably decide today if this SV text will form the basis of the new agreement. It has helped a little that the EU Council yesterday confirmed its willingness to shift to a 30% cut in COo2 by 2020 if the deal is completed, and (with UK leadership) put firmer financial proposals on the table.

It feels from the reports from last night’s session (10pm finish) that our lobbying and briefing over the past 2 years since Bali has worked. Negotiators, it seems, were familiar with the concept of Just Transition, each perhaps with their own particular angle on the issue. For the G77 nations, at the heart of this notion is the “just transition of the workforce”. One delegate apparently remarked that he would not be able to go home without it. JT includes the powerful principle of stakeholder engagement, at national and local level.

It’s well known in our delegation that the US is keen to add language to para 12 on investments in low emission infrastructure and technologies, which have “the potential to create millions of quality jobs and to advance SD in all parts of the world.” This may be considered afresh today.

For the TUC’s perspective, we acknowledge the sustained support of the UK Government delegation, and the positive role they have played within the EU in keeping this text in play. Monday kicks off the Ministerial stage, when they debate the final SV text. Our aim remains to ensure, now, that the vital and energizing principles in JT are carried into the final declaration by heads of state.

Off to join the global demonstration in the city centre now. Snow is on the way. (UPDATE: This Twitpic live from the demo)

Paragraph 12 of the Shared Vision:

“Realizing that harmonizing sustainable development while addressing climate change and demands for a more equitable utilization of the global atmospheric resource necessitate a paradigm shift that adjusts global economic growth patterns towards a [low-emission, High growth], sustainable, climate-resilient development, based on innovative technologies and more sustainable production and consumption, while ensuring a just transition of the workforce which creates decent work and quality jobs, seeking the active participation of all stakeholders, be they governmental, including sub national and local government, private business or civil society, including the youth, and addressing the need for gender equity.”

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