Carbon Diary #6: Who what where when and why?
A call to arms today, as we seem to be approaching the last few hours before the UN goes into a closed session to agree the basis of a statement from the conference. The lack of transparency is deeply worrying. We have not been able to identify a single government, reason or meeting objecting to the union’s position. Is this therefore a UN-led blocking move? The five “W”s apply: who what where when, and why?
A new version of the Shared Vision text was issued on 7 December 2010, which does bring back elements of the original vision, notably on gender, indigenous peoples, human rights and stakeholder participation. But principles of Just Transition and Decent Work are surprisingly omitted. This is despite what we understand to have been the EU’s support for this text to be reinstated.
Environment Secretary Chris Huhne is here working hard to help deliver support for a new Kyoto Protocol, a fall back option for the UN. We recall his assertion at the TUC’s recent conference, Alliances for Green Growth, on 11 October 2010, that he would expect that when a policy feels like it’s headed in the wrong direction, he would “expect the TUC to speak up.”
- These principles are vital to set a balanced framework to support the move to a low-carbon economy.
- It ensures that organisations that represent working people are advocates of what will be the biggest economic restructuring in our generation.
- Just transition language has been key in bringing on board key influential affiliates, notably the USA, in supporting the rapid shift through green and decent jobs to a low carbon future.
The Committee on Climate Change (UK) has recommended a CO2 pathway to 2030, involving a 60% cut in UK emissions by then, or about 3% a year from 2020. The committee is a statutory body advising government on our legally binding CO2 targets. The committee has also urged the EU to aim for 55% by 2030. This no doubt helps reinforce Huhne as he talks to other governments. But this signals a truly long term restructuring for the UK economy, in power supply, high energy users, like steel, car making, energy efficiency. This is why the principles of consultation, green jobs and skills, i.e. just transition, are vital to ensure working people and trade unions deliver this through consent.
Huhne commented at the TUC’s conference that working together in pursuit of common aims we can achieve more than we could manage alone. “We can only achieve the transition if we work in partnership. Unions and business each had a stake in this agenda.” These words need action here in Cancun.