317 Trade Unionists representing over 100 nations are in Copenhagen at the World’s biggest climate change conference, urging governments to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions to 85% lower than their 1990 levels by the year 2050. The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) represents 175 million workers. It’s a confederation of national trade union centres, each of which links together the trade unions of that particular country. The primary mission is the promotion and defence of workers’ rights and interests, through international cooperation between trade unions and global campaigning. While at the UN Climate Change conference they are calling upon the need for targets of at least 25 – 40% by developed countries by 2020 below 1990 levels. “The higher the better,” said Philip Pearson who is leading the ITCU delegation in Copenhagen.
“There needs to be a genuinely new finance for the developing countries to deal with 2 things adaptation for the climate impacts that are already there and a low carbon economic growth, but also from a trade union point of view we want a place at the table.”
As part of tackling climate change the ITCU are also calling on major emitters in developing countries as well as those that have surpassed a certain development threshold to participate through a range of polices including targets on renewable energy, energy efficiency, clean coal technology and avoided deforestation, among others.
While acknowledging their ned to make the transition to low-carbon development in a way consistent with their capabilities, developing countries should be able to provide access to decent livelihoods and quality jobs for their citizens.
“Unions want to be there to negotiate to represent their members as part of civil society that’s why we’ve got this demand of what we call ‘just transition’. It involves a sense of justice of equality and equity in the whole transformation of global society. It means that we want to be there with Governments, with business, with NGO’s and workers to argue for the right policies, understanding the impacts making sure there is genuine change.”--Nanette Woonton