UN Climate Summit Glasgow: Just Transition is the pathway to climate ambition

Unions are warning world leaders attending COP26 in Glasgow that lack of action to reduce global emissions with Just Transition measures puts at risk economic and political stability.

The latest report by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) found that “Human-induced climate change is already affecting many weather and climate extremes in every region across the globe.”

Under all scenarios for curbing emissions, global temperatures are still likely to rise within the next two decades, according to the report. That means more droughts, extinction of species and mass disappearance of coral reefs, the lifeline of fisheries worldwide.

It foreshadowed a grim future for the planet, suggesting that there is only a narrowing window of opportunity left for humans to stop global temperatures from rising further, to unliveable levels.

With a global health crisis still playing out in our everyday lives, the need for a safer and secure future of our planet and our people is paramount. The UN Climate Change Conference (COP26 https://ukcop26.org/ ) conference taking place in Glasgow (31 October to the 12 November) is a decisive moment in addressing the changes that are needed to stem the pace of climate change and mitigate its impact on people and planet.

Working people face a convergence of crisis with the climate emergency, a global pandemic, inequality and the breakdown of trust in democracy.

Less than a quarter of governments commit to Just Transition in their NDCs (Nationally Determined Contributions). This fails to give workers and their communities hope and it fails to build trust. Governments with credible Just Transition plans include: Argentina, European Union (EU), Germany, Kenya, Netherlands, Norway, Spain and Suriname.

• Investing in public transport creates 1.4 times as many jobs as road construction per $1 based on new research from WRI, ITUC and NCE.

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has estimated that renewable energy could employ more than 40 million people by 2050 and that total employment in the energy sector could reach 100 million by 2050, up from around 58 million today, if renewable energy was to be pursued to its full potential.

Renewable energy employment worldwide reached 12 million last year, up from 11.5 million in 2019, according to the ILO’s Renewable Energy and Jobs: Annual Review 2021

The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) has outlined the trade union movement’s priorities for the COP26 conference. These include:

  • Climate ambition with Just Transition: raise climate ambition with Just Transition policies and measures in enhanced NDCs.
  • Human and Labour Rights: implement inclusive climate policies that respect and promote human and labour rights.
  • Climate Finance: provide climate finance to decarbonise the Global South.
  • Industry Policy and Investment: implement strong industrial policies and investment plans underpinning the transition to zero-emission economies.

How can your union and workplace activists take action during COP 26?

In this respect we are outlining several ways in which trade union activists can take action during the period of the COP26 conference. Many of the activities being undertaken by civil society are being co-ordinated by the global COP26 Coalition. The COP26 Coalition is a civil society coalition of groups and individuals mobilising around climate justice during COP26. Coalition members include NGOs, trade unions, grassroots community campaigns, youth strikers, migrant and racial justice networks – to name a few.

While world leaders meet to discuss our future at COP26, the Global COP26 Coalition will be bringing together the climate justice movement to discuss, learn and strategise for system change.

  • Unions and activists can find information on the work of the trade union caucus on the following website: https://www.wemaketomorrow.org/
  • The Global Peoples’ Summit will take place from the 7-10 November. Activists can join in online from anywhere in the world. Click here for more information : https://cop26coalition.org/peoples-summit/
  • Follow social media updates on #COP26 #JustTransition and #ClimateAction on wakelet: https://wakelet.com/wake/2UfL7KKc0K0ZGIae5-kLE
  • Read the ITUC, WRI, NCE Report, “The Green Jobs Advantage: How Climate-friendly Investments are Better Job” (English) For updates from the COP 26 conference please check out social media action from the following trade union accounts :
  • COP 26 Coalition @COP26_Coalition
  • International Trade Union Confederation @ituc
  • Climate Policy Officer at the ITUC •
  • If you are affiliated to a Global Union Federation (GUFs) , please check in with the relevant twitter account as many of them will also be present at COP26.