Rising to the climate challenge can create positive change in other ways, including producing opportunities for meaningful employment in a low carbon economy. Paul Allen invites you to join him at two upcoming events exploring what a just transition to a zero carbon future could look like.
Trade unions have risen to a range of challenges over the decades, but with the rise of new employment practices such as the gig economy, the potential changes from Brexit and ever increasing automation, this is one of their busiest periods. Despite these challenges, a great many unions are now engaging with climate solutions.
A new report by Catherine Hookes of Lund University in Sweden offers an overview of the climate action policies of 17 major UK trade unions. This important work helps us understand both the diversity of different approaches and the progress that has been made to date.
Like any other sector, there have been challenging conversations – unions whose members work in carbon intensive industries have found dealing with climate a challenging task, but their engagement in this narrative is vital.
Increasingly, there seems to be recognition that the clean energy transition offers the possibility of significant growth in employment. For example, if backed by the right policy framework, we could see growth in both off-shore and on-shore renewable energy, which could provide a lifeline to revitalise the UK fabrication and engineering industries, creating meaningful, reliable employment.
So I was excited to be invited to share our Zero Carbon Britain research at two events this month, in London and Carlisle, aimed at opening new conversations around climate jobs.
Jobs & Climate: Planning for a Future that Doesn’t Cost the Earth
10th March – NUT Conference Centre, Hamilton House, Mabledon Place, London WCH 9BD
Organised by the Campaign against Climate Change Trade Union Group, this event aims to challenge the false narrative of ‘good jobs versus the environment’. Instead, it explores the urgent need for action that puts the needs of the planet, decent jobs and social justice at the top of the political agenda. The conference will be an opportunity to hear from trade unionists, scientists, environmental activists and others about the issues, and to learn from grassroots action on climate solutions.
Climate Jobs: Just Transition to a Low Carbon Future
23rd March – The Assembly Room, Old Town Hall Green Market, Carlisle, CA3 8JH
BiFab is a Scottish marine engineering company, currently producing turbine platforms for the big off-shore windfarm in the Moray Firth. In November, the company was about to go into liquidation. Workers occupied three factory sites, against the wishes of its owners, to complete the order for the platforms. As a result, 1,450 jobs were saved and the renewable energy order will now be completed.
This event explores the issues around this action and looks at how, by campaigning for ‘green jobs’, we can ensure the UK retains the skills, infrastructure and capacity to capture the co-benefits from the zero carbon transition we know we must make. The presenters will include Jonathan Neale, editor of the latest One Million Climate Jobs report.