Tag Archives: climate

New Labor Forum Highlights: Feb. 6, 2017

The New Labor Forum has launched a bi-weekly newsletter on current topics in labor, curated by the some of the most insightful scholars and activists in the labor world today. Check out some highlights from the latest edition below.

In the short time since Donald Trump was inaugurated, a lot has happened — with the threat of more to come. Among the many Executive Orders signed last week, Trump acted to reverse Obama’s halt on the Keystone and Dakota Pipelines. While EO’s won’t get the pipelines built on their own, it’s a clear signal that on climate policy, things are quickly heading south.

New Labor Forum Columnist Sean Sweeney has written a post about the evolving relationship between some of the Building Trades, the new Administration, and the fossil fuel industry.

Naomi Klein rounds out the topic by pointing out that much of the policy changes we are likely to see under Trump will be driven by the logic of disaster capitalism – that changes the 1% has long desired and planned for, will be rolled out in response to ‘disasters’. Understanding this dynamic is important, as it will apply not only to energy policy, but to national security, labor rights, and more.

Given the tensions in the labor movement around climate policy, we expect (and hope for) vigorous debate — please be sure to visit our Facebook page and/or the blog to participate.

Table of Contents

  1. Pandering to the Predator: Labor and Energy Under Trump / Sean Sweeney
  2. Get Ready for the First Shocks of Trump’s Disaster Capitalism / Naomi Klein
  3. President Trump’s Strategic and Policy Forum – The Corporate Connections / LittleSis

Photo by Joe Brusky via flickr (CC-BY-NC)

Not Just Transition, But Transformation: the Paris Climate Agreement

via TUED Bulletin 53

By Sean Sweeney

The Paris Climate Agreement came into effect November 4th, 2016. More than 90 countries have ratified the deal, which is enough to turn it into international law.

Unions all over the world are trying to anticipate the agreement’s likely impacts and navigate its provisions to advance the interests of working people. Towards that end, a cross section of international labor will be in Marrakech from November 7th-19th calling for a “just transition strategy,” and to press for more ambitious targets and adequate climate financing for the global South. Continue reading Not Just Transition, But Transformation: the Paris Climate Agreement

Fall Undergraduate Class: Labor and the Climate Crisis

This course is open to interested students, labor and climate activists with at least a High School Diploma or GED. Students can email david.unger@cuny.edu or call 212-642-2011 for more information about registration and fees.

Taught by Lara Skinner, Ph.D.

URB451 Special Topics in Urban Studies – Labor and the Climate Crisis
Wednesdays 6:15 – 9:35 pm @ Cornell Conference Center

How can the labor movement and others best respond to the climate crisis? How can unions work to protect both the environment and good jobs? This class will give students a foundation in the scientific, social, and political aspects of the looming crisis. Students will explore how they can more effectively engage their unions, movement activism, and scholarship in efforts to protect the environment and our future.

Instructor: Lara Skinner, Ph.D., Associate Director of The Worker Institute at Cornell and Co-Chair of the Institute’s Labor Leading on Climate Initiative. Skinner has worked for unions doing campaign research and policy development since 1999. She began her career in labor working with Oregon’s Farmworkers Union (Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste) and as an active member of the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation, Local 3544. Skinner’s current research, writing, and labor education work focuses on increasing the role of unions and working people in addressing the environmental and climate crises and building a powerful, inclusive movement for climate and economic justice.

Registration for the class will open soon! Students must register through CUNYFirst. For more information on registering using CUNYFirst, call Orson Barzola at 212-340-2871. Registration is on a first-come basis, and is limited to 25 students.

Photo by Joe Brusky via flickr (CC-BY-NC)

Facing up to the Failure of Carbon Markets: TUED Working Paper #6

Carbon Markets After Paris: Trading in Trouble

By Sean Sweeney, Coordinator of Trade Unions for Energy Democracy

The 2015 Paris Climate Agreement and the “intended nationally determined contributions” submitted to the UNFCCC enshrines carbon markets and emissions trading schemes (ETSs) as a key mechanism for reducing emissions. But are carbon markets effective?

Since the early 1990s, “putting a price on carbon” has been, perhaps, the primary policy proposal for reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). Proponents see it as a way to gently guide investment away from high carbon sectors and practices toward low carbon ones, thus removing the need for more decisive government interventions. ETSs, in particular, have been favored by businesses and neoliberal policy makers seeking to limit emissions without unduly disrupting business-as-usual and economic growth.

The Lost Decade

In the TUED Working Paper Carbon Markets After Paris: Trading in Trouble, I examined recent reports released by the World Bank and Nicholas Stern’s Global Commission on the Economy and Climate. These reports hail the decade-long progress made by carbon pricing and ETSs in particular–which has “tripled” the proportion of the world’s carbon emissions that now involve polluters paying for the global warming pollution they generate. These reports are intended to convince policy makers and investors that all is more or less going according to plan. Continue reading Facing up to the Failure of Carbon Markets: TUED Working Paper #6

General Meeting of the People’s Climate Movement, NY

Click here to RSVP for this important end-of-year meeting!!

Sean Sweeney, who is in Paris for the UN Climate Talks, will be giving us an overview of what happened inside the talks and out on the streets. Sean is the Director of the International Program for Labor, Climate and Environment at the Murphy Institute – and a long- term organizer focused on labor’s involvement in the struggle against climate change.

We will also start planning for our efforts for the coming year as we look at proposals for protests, ongoing educational efforts, keeping the pressure on City Hall to move NYC toward 100% renewables, connecting with groups around the state, and much more! Your input will help shape the priorities for our work in the months ahead. The evening will end with a little holiday celebration. Please take a moment to RSVP now.

COP21: Dispatch #3 – A Bad Deal & A Call to Action

From Trade Unions for Energy Democracy, 12/11/15:

The Paris climate summit (Cop 21) is nearly over, and the deal that’s presently on the table falls short in terms of commitments on emissions, financing, human rights, and just transition.  The core concerns of unions and social movements remain in the preamble to the Paris Agreement and not the operative articles of the text.

On December 7th, these shortcomings were acknowledged by a capacity crowd of 700 people from the trade unions and their allies at a meeting organized by Trade Unions for Energy Democracy, the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung–New York Office, Global Climate Jobs and the Global Labour Institute Network.

The audience heard inspiring messages from writer and activist Naomi Klein and UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, as well as trade unions involved in TUED in different regions.

The power of these messages is captured in this 17-minute video, produced by ReelNews for TUED.  The speakers addressed energy democracy, climate jobs, and the need for a transition that is both just and transformative. 

A segment of Naomi Klein’s full presentation can also be viewed here.  She urged unions and their allies not to accept a “highly dangerous” deal, and to take to the streets in Paris on December 12.

A video of Jeremy Corbyn’s presentation is here.  His remarks on how the failure to address climate has contributed to recent flooding throughout Northern England, Scotland and Wales have been broadly distributed by the media. He urged unions and the climate movement to “unleash the hope” for a truly sustainable future.

Photo Credit: Chris Bentley/flickr/cc