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
The International Union of Food Workers and the Tunisian national center, the Union Générale Tunisienne du Travail (UGTT), have joined the Trade Union Call for A Global Moratorium on Fracking.
The statement sends a strong message calling for “a global moratorium on hydraulic fracturing (fracking) for shale gas, coal seam gas, and shale oil,” stating that “[f]racking has led to attacks on land rights, and the large amounts of water used in fracking also threatens to increase water scarcity in areas where water supply and access pose real problems for people, particularly those in poor rural communities.” Moreover, “[t]he experience of fracking in the United States since 2002 has shown that the process threatens the health and quality of life of communities situated near drilling sites.”
See the full statement and a list of signatories here.
Photo by Simon Fraser University via flickr (CC-BY).
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