The Canadian Labour Congress has just released its policy statement on the COP15 climate change conference. The paper calls for strong international action that is supported by clear and decisive domestic action:
“Globally and domestically, we can transition away from fossil fuels to a green economy with decent family-supporting unionized jobs, greater conservation, energy efficiency, renewable energy and sustainable transportation. This requires urgent domestic action, and effective international action.”
This outcome will only occur if a fair climate change agreement is reached in Copenhagen that will achieve significant and binding emissions reductions.
The CLC paper recognizes there is an urgent need to act to set policies that are science-based and that will quickly cut greenhouse gas emissions. The paper also highlights the fact that industrialized countries have mainly caused climate change and yet it will most severely impact the Global South, including indigenous populations and small island states. Therefore, the industrialized North must take the lead by agreeing to deep emissions cuts, while providing financial support for climate change adaptation to developing regions of the world.
Other priorities spelled out in the CLC statement include:
- Funding to establish a comprehensive National Just Transition program.
- Developing strong domestic procurement investments linked to green technologies to foster Canadian job growth.
- Greater investment in the research, development and promotion of clean and sustainable renewable energy sources of electrical power and combined heat and power systems in the public sector that will create jobs and reduce Canada’s reliance upon fossil-fuel and especially coal fired power generation.
- Significantly increased investments in mass transit infrastructure.
- Establishing a carbon pricing system that is consistent with the polluter pays principle.
CUPE will be part of a broad Canadian Labour delegation in Copenhagen that will be led by the CLC.