From Trade Unions for Energy Democracy:
During 2015 and 2016, a number of significant public and political figures have made statements suggesting that the world is “moving away from fossil fuels,” and that the battle against greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) and climate change is therefore being won. Such statements are frequently accompanied by assurances that the transition to renewable energy and a low-carbon economy is both “inevitable” and already well underway, and that economic growth will soon be “decoupled” from dangerously high annual emissions levels. This optimism has also been accepted by a section of the environmental movement, and even by some unions.
Renewables and Reality
If the “green growth” optimists are correct, the political implications for trade unions and social movements are profound. For unions, it would mean focusing aggressively on the need to protect the livelihoods of the tens of millions of workers around the world who currently work in fossil fuels and rallying around the principle of “just transition” encoded in the preface to the Paris Agreement. But it would also mean that the need to wage a determined and protracted political struggle against fossil fuel expansion and “extractivism” would immediately become less urgent. In this scenario, trade union efforts would rightly focus on working to shape the next energy system as it rises from the ashes of the old. Continue reading Is the World Really Moving Away from Fossil Fuels?
via TUED Bulletin 53
By Sean Sweeney
The Paris Climate Agreement came into effect November 4th, 2016. More than 90 countries have ratified the deal, which is enough to turn it into international law.
Unions all over the world are trying to anticipate the agreement’s likely impacts and navigate its provisions to advance the interests of working people. Towards that end, a cross section of international labor will be in Marrakech from November 7th-19th calling for a “just transition strategy,” and to press for more ambitious targets and adequate climate financing for the global South. Continue reading Not Just Transition, But Transformation: the Paris Climate Agreement
This post was originally featured at New Labor Forum.
By Sean Sweeney
If anyone were looking for further evidence that the AFL-CIO remains unprepared to accept the science of climate change, and unwilling to join with the effort being made by all of the major labor federations of the world to address the crisis, the fight over the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) provides only the most recent case in point. Taking direction from the newly minted North American Building Trades Unions (NABTU) and the American Petroleum Institute (API), the federation stood against the Standing Rock Sioux and other tribal nations. Continue reading Standing Rock-Solid with the Frackers
A new TUED Working Paper draws attention to the alarming implications for human health caused by pollution and by climate change, both of which are being made worse by the growing use of coal, oil, and gas.
Authored by Svati Shah and Sean Sweeney, An Illness to One is the Concern of All presents the main findings of recent landmark reports in a way that unions can use to more effectively advocate both for their members and the broader public.
Read more, and download here.
The New Labor Forum has launched a bi-weekly newsletter on current topics in labor, curated by the some of the most insightful scholars and activists in the labor world today. Check out some highlights from the latest edition below.
As of this writing, the the Presidential Primary season is in effect over; we know that Hillary Clinton will be the nominee and that she will face Donald Trump in the general. But the fascination with the Bernie Sanders campaign continues, as detailed by Bob Master, Political Director for Region 1 of the Communication Workers of America, writing about the lessons the labor movement can learn.
To discuss the future prospects of the movement inspired by the Sanders campaign, thousands of unionists and progressives will gather in Chicago this weekend at The People’s Summit. The Murphy Institute’s Sean Sweeney will be speaking on energy democracy and climate justice, and New Labor Forum’s Charles Lenchner will be moderating a panel on the future of democratic socialism.
Other progressives, most notably Senator Elizabeth Warren, are now attempting to make the case for Hillary Clinton to Sanders supporters. We include here such an argument by The Nation’s David Cole in defense of Clinton’s incrementalism.
Finally, Nicholas Confessore of the New York Times offers a detailed analysis of what Sanders hopes to achieve by staying in the race.
- Bernie Sanders, Labor, Ideology and the Future of American Politics by Bob Master
- The People’s Summit by Charles Lenchner
- The Progressive Case for Hillary Clinton’s Incrementalism by David Cole
- Isn’t the Primary Over? Why Bernie Sanders Won’t Quit, by Nicholas Confessore
Photo by Gage Skidmore via flickr (CC-BY-SA)