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CUPE National Secretary-Treasurer Claude Généreux was front and centre moderating a panel at a prominent climate change conference in Montreal on Friday, April 15.

The conference – dubbed Cochabamba + 1 – Climate Justice and Ecological Alternatives – was hosted by Alternatives, a Montreal-based coalition, along with Canadian Dimension, a prominent labour and social justice journal.

The conference focused on building a climate justice movement in Canada leading up to COP17 in Durban, South Africa. Specific attention was paid to mobilizing against the effects of shale gas exploration and the tar sands, moving toward a carbon-free economy and assessing current ecological crises while pushing forward with alternatives.

Généreux moderated a panel comprised of:

The session centred on discussing what can be done as the next international climate change conference (COP17) draws near in Durban. Panellists discussed the need for the international community to embed climate justice into reaching a consensus on actions that must be taken to cut greenhouse gases and move the world toward a stable, equitable low-carbon future.

It is essential that CUPE continues to build and expand its partnership work with environmental and social justice groups on climate change and related issues, such as water. This is particularly crucial given the underwhelming virtual absence of environmental issues on the federal election campaign.

There is a good reason why the Harper Conservatives don’t want to talk about the environment: they have a horrible record on climate change and other issues since taking office and have all but destroyed Canada’s credibility internationally on this file. At home, the Harper Conservatives don’t score much better, considering, for example, their killing in the Senate of the New Democrat’s Bill C-311, the Climate Change Accountability Act.