Tag Archives: sean sweeney

Standing Rock-Solid with the Frackers

This post was originally featured at New Labor Forum.

By Sean Sweeney

If anyone were looking for further evidence that the AFL-CIO remains unprepared to accept the science of climate change, and unwilling to join with the effort being made by all of the major labor federations of the world to address the crisis, the fight over the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) provides only the most recent case in point. Taking direction from the newly minted North American Building Trades Unions (NABTU) and the American Petroleum Institute (API), the federation stood against the Standing Rock Sioux and other tribal nations. Continue reading Standing Rock-Solid with the Frackers

Labor and Climate Change: What Comes Next?

For a while, it looked like we’d have to choose: labor or climate; jobs or the planet. But with unions like the CWA increasingly calling for action on climate change, some of these once-divergent interests appear to be coming into alignment. As Samantha Page wrote in an article in ThinkProgress last week:

The Climate and Community Protection Act passed the Democrat-led Assembly this week and is now at the Republican-controlled State Senate. NY Renew, a coalition which brought together labor, climate, and social justice groups, helped pass the measure. The bill sets a goal of 50 percent renewable electricity generation by 2030 and focuses on clean energy job creation, particularly in disadvantaged communities.

While unions have traditionally fought for workplace and economic improvements, climate change represents a serious threat to everyone, including union members, [CWA Political and Legislative Director Pete] Sikora said, so an alliance with green groups makes sense. Continue reading Labor and Climate Change: What Comes Next?

New Labor Forum Highlights: May 31st, 2016

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 this week’s newsletter, we begin by taking a closer look at workers in the energy industries. New Labor Forum columnist Sean Sweeney examines the deep environmental rift in the U.S. labor movement, with the building trades promoting continued coal, oil, and gas extraction and transport workers, nurses, service employees, and a growing number of other unions pushing to end our dependence on fossil fuels. However, Sweeney points to signs that many members and leaders in the Trades appear uncomfortable playing the role of attack dog for fossil fuel interests. Although not imminent, a realignment for  “energy democracy” and environmental sustainability may be possible.

Environmental activists and labor leaders around the globe will be keeping a close eye on  Canada’s New Democratic Party (NDP) after its recent convention resulted in the introduction of the Leap Manifesto and its “ambitious vision for a nobody’s-backyard approach on pipelines.” We’ve gathered a few articles and perspectives for you to learn more about what’s brewing in Alberta, home to the Tar Sands and location of the NDP convention.

Contents:

  1. Contested Futures: Labor After Keystone XL by Sean Sweeney
  2. The Leap Manifesto 
  3. VIDEO: Avi Lewis talks about The Leap Manifesto
  4. The Leap Manifesto, and where the NDP will land by Jason Markusoff, (MacLean’s)

Photo by kris krüg via flickr (CC-BY-NC-ND)

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

COP21: Dispatch #1

From Murphy Prof. Sean Sweeney, 12/5/15:

I am here at COP 21 in Paris, where the first week of the two-week UN climate change conference has just concluded. Unions are fighting for a reference in the final agreement to “a just transition of the workforce” and are getting support from Argentina, Canada and one or two others.  The US negotiators are not blocking this, but neither are they willing to support it openly. Meanwhile, the JSMI is represented through Trade Unions for Energy Democracy, which has organized a number of workshops on the issue of asserting democratic control over the energy system in order to meet climate targets. Here’s an article in YES! that reports on one of these sessions.