From Trade Unions for Energy Democracy:
During 2015 and 2016, a number of significant public and political figures have made statements suggesting that the world is “moving away from fossil fuels,” and that the battle against greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) and climate change is therefore being won. Such statements are frequently accompanied by assurances that the transition to renewable energy and a low-carbon economy is both “inevitable” and already well underway, and that economic growth will soon be “decoupled” from dangerously high annual emissions levels. This optimism has also been accepted by a section of the environmental movement, and even by some unions.
Renewables and Reality
If the “green growth” optimists are correct, the political implications for trade unions and social movements are profound. For unions, it would mean focusing aggressively on the need to protect the livelihoods of the tens of millions of workers around the world who currently work in fossil fuels and rallying around the principle of “just transition” encoded in the preface to the Paris Agreement. But it would also mean that the need to wage a determined and protracted political struggle against fossil fuel expansion and “extractivism” would immediately become less urgent. In this scenario, trade union efforts would rightly focus on working to shape the next energy system as it rises from the ashes of the old. Continue reading Is the World Really Moving Away from Fossil Fuels?
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
A new TUED Working Paper draws attention to the alarming implications for human health caused by pollution and by climate change, both of which are being made worse by the growing use of coal, oil, and gas.
Authored by Svati Shah and Sean Sweeney, An Illness to One is the Concern of All presents the main findings of recent landmark reports in a way that unions can use to more effectively advocate both for their members and the broader public.
Read more, and download here.
With Dilma’s impeachment imminent, unions unite against “coups and corruption.”
TUCA-CSA 3rd Congress, São Paulo, April 28th, 2016
More than 500 delegates representing unions in the Americas today adopted a ‘base document’ that included a call for governments in the hemisphere to issue a moratorium on fracking. Via the TUED-initiated Unions Against Fracking, five trade union centers in the Americas had earlier supported the call for a moratorium, namely CTA Argentina, CSN Quebec, the Canadian Labour Congress, CUT Brazil, and CUT Peru. A growing number of individual unions are also on board. The TUCA-CSA Congress document also declared, “We fight against the extractive model imposed by the business logic of large oil production and mining transnational corporations that do not foster development.”
Convened once every four years, the 3rd Congress of the Trade Union Confederation of the Americas is meeting at a time when unions in Brazil and across the region believe that a coup against president Dilma Rousseff is imminent. A right-wing government replacing the governing Workers Party is expected to push forward with an aggressive privatization agenda and a full-force attack on collective bargaining. Continue reading Congress of Unions in São Paulo Urges Governments to Stop Fracking
By Michael O’Neil, for Trade Unions for Energy Democracy
In the Chittagong district of Bangladesh, thousands of villagers held what they described as a peaceful protest over multiple days at the construction site of twin coal-fired power plants. The plants, costing $2.4 billion, are backed by Chinese companies and the project had just commenced leveling farmland to prepare for construction.
Police opened fire on the villagers on Monday, claiming the protesters had injured 11 officers. Four protesters were killed, with dozens more wounded. According to the district Police Chief, charges have been filed against 3,200 protesters although, incredibly, only 57 individuals have actually been named in the cases.
According to Agence France-Presse, protesters are concerned that the mass case filed by the police:
“…could give authorities extra powers to harass or detain anyone protesting against the project.
‘Police will now use their power indiscriminately against any villager who speaks against the plants,’ a schoolteacher who lives in the village told AFP by phone on condition of anonymity.”
Today, “hundreds of villagers” regrouped at the construction site to demand justice for the four killed on Monday, and relatives of two victims have filed cases against the police.
Photo by DFID via flickr (CC-BY-NC-ND)
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