Greener Jobs Alliance Newsletter No 28
Editorial: When will this government see the green light?
Both the TUC and the CBI are urging the government to invest now to create over a million new green jobs in response to rising unemployment and the COVID-19 crisis. As the Tories’ ‘furlough scheme’ comes to an end, the TUC is calling for a new Job Protection and Upskilling Plan. New support for businesses must come with strings attached, unions say, to promote decent work, protect jobs and give union rights. Meanwhile, the CBI, the employers’ organisation, says we face ‘two seemingly separate yet fundamental problems: Covid-19 – the biggest health crisis in living memory – and climate change, the defining challenge of the modern era.’
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Greener Jobs Alliance Newsletter No 27
Please spare us another ‘world beating’ claim
On 21 July, Prime Minister Johnson announced a £350m ‘green funding package’ to support efforts to drive down carbon emissions from heavy industry, construction, space and transport. He said it would ‘fuel a green, sustainable recovery from the Covid-19 crisis. He added, ‘We’ve made great strides towards our net zero target over the last year.’
Meanwhile, out in the real world, the Committee on Climate Change says meagre progress has been made over the last year to build the foundations for the transition to a net zero emissions economy. As we report below, exhausted from trying to get the Prime Minister to act, the government’s independent advisers have now resorted to direct appeals to Ministers.
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Greener Jobs Alliance Newsletter No 26
‘A stronger, fairer, greener country’
‘We can emerge from this crisis a stronger, fairer, greener country’, says the #BuildBackBetter campaign. Ministers are preparing to unveil an economic stimulus package in early July, in an attempt to stave off what is expected to be the biggest recession in living memory following the coronavirus crisis. But the TUC says government must learn the lessons of the coronavirus crisis. It wants A Better Recovery programme, combining ‘making work fairer’ with a massive new investment in public services and low carbon projects. A second TUC report, Cutting Carbon, Growing Skills, says ‘working people must be equipped with the new skills and training for the better economy.’
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Greener Jobs Alliance Newsletter No 25
The unprecedented, government-led, global response to the coronavirus models how the climate crisis needs to be addressed. At some point this year, when we turn our attention back to the climate crisis, we will be much the wiser for having re-learned the meaning of community solidarity, responsible government and expert advice. Hopefully we will now appreciate the dangers of scientific ignorance in response to a major threat.
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Greener Jobs Alliance Newsletter No 24
Building a UK climate movement
We have 10 months to go until the United Nation’s 26th international climate conference opens in Glasgow on 9th November 2020, and an awful lot to do in that time. But, taking inspiration from the half-million people on the streets of Madrid in December and the fantastic People’s Summit and other activities organised there, we know that together we can do it
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Greener Jobs Alliance Newsletter No 23
The UK general election is the chance to put the climate crisis centre stage and Labour has risen to the occasion. Launching Labour’s election manifesto, Jeremy Corbyn promised to release a green industrial revolution creating a million green jobs, revive the UK’s manufacturing heartlands and put the UK on track for a zero-carbon energy system in the 2030s.
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Greener Jobs Alliance Newsletter No 22
Unions will be backing the Youth Climate Strike on 20 September. The plan, agreed at the Trades UnionCongress (TUC) annual conference in Brighton (September 10th), is for ‘30-minute workday campaigns’ across the UK. As Jo Grady, University and College Union told the conference, ‘The Youth Climate Strikes movement is one of the most impressive forms of mass action in recent years.’ The education union’s general secretary asked, ‘How will young people forgive us if we let them down, whilst they are building a movement at this pivotal moment for the world’s climate?’
Or, as Unite’s Steve Turner put it, ‘Unions will back the school strikes on September 20th. If we don’t, we will be seen as irrelevant.’
Greener Jobs Alliance Newsletter No 21
The University and Colleges Union (UCU) will urge delegates to the TUC’s annual Congress in Brighton (September 8-11) ‘to call a 30-minute workday solidarity stoppage to coincide with the global school student strike on the 20th September.’ At least three unions, with some 345,000 members, (UCU, PCS and the Bakers’ Union) have already declared their support for a climate emergency.
Greener Jobs Alliance Newsletter No 20
What will it take to release trade union energies to confront the climate emergency? Across the Arctic, large amounts of methane from rotting vegetation are trapped in permafrost. When scientists broke the ice in a demonstration watched by millions in David Attenborough’s BBC film, Climate Change, the facts, they ignited a bubble of trapped methane gas as it escaped. Vast expanses of the Arctic region, are fast approaching the tipping point when millions of lakes across the Arctic will release uncontrollable quantities of methane gas once they unfreeze. Methane is 40 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than CO2.
Greener Jobs Alliance Newsletter No 19
News that the Scottish Government has awarded most of a multi-billion contract for offshore wind manufacture to firms in Belgium and Spain questions why Scotland ever set up the world’s first Just Transition Commission? The offended unions Unite and the GMB, whose members have lost jobs and skills opportunities, rightly say, ‘There’s no ‘just transition’ or ‘green jobs revolution’
Greener Jobs Alliance Newsletter No 18
December 2018/January 2019
Wake Up Call! 1.5 to Stay Alive!
Thousands of protesters, led by the Campaign Against Climate Change, marched in London ahead of the UN climate conference in Poland demanding radical action to curb climate change. On 3 December, as politicians, officials and scientists from 195 nations assembled, the World Meteorological Organisation warned that the ‘window of opportunity to halt climate breakdown is almost closed.’
Greener Jobs Alliance Newsletter No 17
UN Climate Report – final wake-up call
In a year in which extreme weather has battered every part of the planet, the UN’s scientific panel has issued its most critical report ever on climate change. Leading scientists, adding up all the promises to cut carbon made by countries signing the Paris climate agreement, conclude unanimously https://bit.ly/2pA6aKo that these ‘commitments’ would see the world heat up by more than 3 degrees C by the end of this century …
Greener Jobs Alliance Newsletter No 16
Unions united have a unique opportunity to shape Labours policy…
There is much to welcome from this summer’s round of union conferences.Unite came out firmly against fracking, PCS decided to campaign for a Just Transition Act, and the Bakers’ union, champions of the McDonalds strikers, launched a new green newsletter, Green Stuff.
Greener Jobs Alliance Newsletter No 15
Get in touch with the zeitgeist
When it comes to tackling the climate crisis, the Conservatives are well out of step with the general public. Onshore wind and solar power projects, starved of government backing, command huge public support (over 87% in one poll). The result? Green investment here has ‘plummeted to its lowest level for ten years.’
Greener Jobs Alliance Newsletter No 14
In this Newsletter, we are launching a new Joint Statement on Just Transition, and would urge you to offer your organisation’s support. Global trade unions successfully campaigned to have a commitment to a ‘just transition’ inserted into the UN’s Paris Agreement in 2015. What happens next here in the UK will determine if this term has any meaning.
Greener Jobs Alliance Newsletter No 13
A future which doesn’t cost the earth
The UK government must issue firmer, more ambitious decarbonisation policies as a “matter of urgency” if it is to meet its legally binding carbon reduction targets. So says the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), the government’s independent climate watchdog, in its formal response to last November’s Clean Growth Strategy.
Greener Jobs Alliance Newsletter No 12
Bonn climate talks – unions zone in on Just Transition
Trade unions from across the globe headed for the international climate change talks in Bonn (November 6-17th) with a single purpose: to hold governments to their word that the Paris Agreement endorsed by the UN in December 2015 would ‘Take into account the imperatives of a just transition of the workforce and the creation of decent work and quality jobs in accordance with nationally defined development priorities.’
Greener Jobs Alliance Newsletter No 11
Our economy is in the wrong hands
A landmark study of public opinion in the UK since the General Election has found widespread support for Labour’s nationalisation agenda, and much less support for free enterprise. More than three-quarters of the public say that water, electricity, gas and railways should be in the hands of the public sector. Great then that unions have caught the new public mood.
Greener Jobs Alliance Newsletter No 10
Another world is possible
Words are powerful and can shape our understanding. Dull words like ‘environment’ don’t sparkle. Scientist George Monbiot argues that , “If we called protected areas ‘places of natural wonder’, we would not only speak to people’s love of nature but also establish an aspiration that conveys what they ought to be. Let’s stop using the word environment, and use terms such as ‘living planet’ and ‘natural world’ instead, as they allow us to form a picture of what we are describing. Let’s abandon the term climate change and start saying ‘climate breakdown’. Instead of extinction, let’s adopt the word promoted by the lawyer Polly Higgins: ecocide.”
Greener Jobs Alliance Newsletter No 9
Caroline Lucas said, “It beggars belief that this election has been almost environment-free when we face an air pollution crisis, a climate denier in the White House, the threat of an extreme Brexit and accelerating climate change.”
She’s right of course. Both Labour and the Green Party manifestos presented voters with some of the most progressive and democratic environmental choices ever. Yet in reality, the issue disappeared from the debate.
Greener Jobs Alliance Newsletter No 8
The Earth has a message for politicians in this election, and so do we. Measurements taken from Hawaii’s Mauna Loa Observatory show that carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere just reached concentrations not seen in three million years. Trump may despise science and love fake news. Theresa May can sell off our only Green Investment Bank and fake action to deal with toxic air in our cities, as we report here. But the condition of the planet doesn’t lie.
Greener Jobs Alliance Newsletter No 7
There’s no escaping the reality that unions are at the heart of the fight against climate change. No blind eye turning will help. No heavy hearted ‘jobs-versus-environment’ get outs. Fossil fuels are polluting the very air we breathe. Yet the transition from fossil fuels is ‘neither imminent nor inevitable’, as we report from a new TUED study. Trump has split the US labour movement by reversing President Obama’s ban on two trans-America pipelines. With average wages falling, what’s not to like about Trump’s promises of more oil and more steelmaking jobs?
Greener Jobs Alliance Newsletter No 6
The tame phrase ‘climate change’ hardly does justice to the universal carbon pollution that is choking our cities, acidifying the oceans, disrupting seasons with unbounded extremes of heat and cold, and magnifying storms and droughts. As we report here, one impact among many is on 140 million people displaced through climate-related disasters in the past six years. The risks will redouble in coming decades, reversing years of development activity and driving up inequality in the global South.
Greener Jobs Alliance Newsletter No 5
The impact of a Donald Trump presidency has not taken long to emerge. The new White House website refers to an ‘America First Energy Plan’, getting rid of ‘burdensome regulations in our energy industry’ and scrapping Obama’s ‘Climate Action Plan.’ There is no mention of climate change, only the unlimited use of coal, shale gas and oil. The environment is reduced to protecting air and water.
Greener Jobs Alliance Newsletter No 4
The three months since we re-launched the Greener Jobs Alliance has seen quite a few highs and lows. At the international level we had the coming into force of the Paris Agreement at the same time as a victory for Donald Trump in the US elections. Now we’ve had the latest announcement that a climate change sceptic, Scott Pruitt, has been put in charge of the Environment Agency. It has inevitably raised huge concerns about the future direction of US policy.
Greener Jobs Alliance Newsletter No 3
Welcome to the third edition of our newsletter. It has been written against the backdrop of the election result in the USA, and the start of the CoP22 meeting in Marrakech.
Greener Jobs Alliance Newsletter No 2
Welcome to the second edition of our newsletter. In it we report on debates and decisions at the TUC and Labour Party last month. We also continue our assessment of the steps needed to transform the economy to meet the challenges of a low carbon future.
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