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A delegation from the Canadian Union of Public Employees will be in Copenhagen, Denmark from December 7 – December 18 for the United Nations Climate Change Conference (also known as the 15th Conference of the Parties or “COP 15”).

The delegation, led by National Secretary-Treasurer Claude Généreux, will be part of one of the largest Canadian labour contingents ever to attend a COP meeting.

Climate change poses the most serious challenge humanity has ever confronted,” says Généreux. “On behalf of over 600,000 CUPE members in Canada, we want to bring the message to the COP 15 that CUPE is serious about halting climate change and creating a more sustainable Canadian economy.”

At the conference, CUPE delegates will join Public Services International (PSI) and International Trades Union Confederation (ITUC) delegations.

Labour’s presence at this Conference of the Parties will be stronger than ever before,” explains Généreux.

That’s because the outcome of this meeting is critical. Over the next two weeks in Copenhagen world leaders, climate change scientists, environmental and social activists will forge a new international agreement to replace the Kyoto Accord, which expires in 2012. Workers around the world must have a voice at this event.”

If left unchecked, runaway climate change will bring ecological disaster that will severely affect human beings, creating massive social upheaval, economic turmoil and political conflict.

What’s more, climate change is afflicting and will further afflict the world’s most vulnerable populations with increasing poverty, illness and despair. Droughts, crop failures, disease, and war will all be outcomes in poorer regions of the planet in particular if climate change is not dealt with.

Alongside members of the Canadian and international labour movement, CUPE will push for a binding, fair and ambitious accord to cut greenhouse gas emissions; “just transition” provisions for workers displaced by the move to a low-carbon economy; and sufficient financing to help developing economies adjust to climate change.

If the world gets it right in Copenhagen, CUPE can expect to see Canada shift to a much more sustainable economy, which will benefit public sector workers. A new green economy means enhanced public sector infrastructure investment and new ways of doing work.

Most importantly, turning back the clock on climate change will mean a better life for current and future generations. CUPE encourages members from coast to coast to coast to get involved in the fight against climate change and to work toward a greener future for Canadians and for citizens around the world.

While in Copenhagen, CUPE delegates will be making regular posts to cupe.ca. Read more about events and the progress of the negotiations at cupe.ca/copenhagen-2009.