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Trade Unions Demand an Ambitious Climate Agreement

Trade Unions Join World Demands for an Ambitious Climate Agreement

Launch of the trade union statement to the COP14 in Poznan, Poland

Brussels, 27 November 2008 (ITUC OnLine): On the eve of major international climate negotiations in Poznan, Poland, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), in a new groundbreaking policy statement, has clearly affirmed its commitment towards reaching a socially-fair and climate-engaged agreement by the end of 2009. ITUC General Secretary Guy Ryder explained the movement's main reasons for its strong position: "Accelerating climate change, financial disorder and food & oil price instability share the same origins: a lack of commitment to regulation, a push towards 'small government' and free market economics, and an international system that has underperformed in terms of its governance of globalisation. All these crises always end up affecting the most vulnerable among us, those who did little to cause these problems."

Ryder continued, "The trade union movement calls on governments to take immediate action on climate change. It is a moral responsibility to do so. We must collectively initiate an indispensable transition towards a more equitable and just society, a society in which the most vulnerable no longer pay the price of irresponsibility. We now have, through sustainable production and consumption patterns, a unique and historic opportunity to transform our societies for the better. For these reasons, trade unions support ambitious action in developed countries, in line with IPCC recommendations and entailing far-reaching investments in green jobs and other just transition policies. We call on industrialised countries to lead the way and provide the necessary financial and technological support so that developing nations can engage fully on the path towards a more environmentally sustainable and socially just society."

"The very same activities that have been proposed to address the global financial crisis, such as fiscal stimulus packages and investment encouraged into strategic areas, could reap a double benefit if they are oriented toward investment in new technologies, in green jobs, and in helping the world cope with the changes that are already inevitable due to climate change," said UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer, the UN's top climate change official.

"However, this must happen in context of international cooperation and not in a piecemeal way. Therefore, we must use the time available in Poznan wisely to make significant progress on the way to designing an ambitious new international climate change deal," he added.An agreed outcome on strengthened international action on climate change is to be reached in Copenhagen at the end of 2009.

"A commitment towards equity and social dialogue, and an analysis of the impacts on labour markets and social protection schemes, all form essential elements that must be integrated when elaborating and implementing climate policies. Our ability to reach an ambitious and socially just climate framework for the post 2012 period depends on this. Millions of workers throughout the world, united within the international trade union movement, are ready to engage in this historic transformation process," concluded Ryder.


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