This is a really useful guide to raising climate issues and climate action in your workplace – see also the draft motion on this blog:
Youth Strike For Climate are calling for support for their actions – there will be global climate strikes in September. Please raise this motion (adapt it for your circumstances if necessary) and raise it in your union branch, community group or political party branch. You can download and editable version here.
Climate emergency – model motion
This (branch/region/trades council/union/conference) notes the urgent need for action on the climate emergency, both in response to existing negative impacts such as extreme weather, fires, droughts, floods and loss of habitat and species; and to avoid the catastrophic and irreversible climate damage which people increasingly realise the world is on course for, after the 2018 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report.
We recognise that big business, the military and the richest individuals are responsible for the vast majority of climate change, yet the global working class and poor are disproportionately at risk. A just transition is essential, not only because it is right, but because it is the only way the movement against climate chaos will secure the mass support needed to win and avoid a rich minority protecting themselves at the expense of the planet and the vast majority of people.
We congratulate the school students striking around the world for real climate action. We resolve to:
- Publicly state our support and solidarity with the climate strikers
- Invite climate strikers to speak at our meeting
- Give practical support to the climate strikes, without adults taking it over. This will include asking schools to commit to imposing no sanctions against striking students, promoting the strikes on social media, encouraging members to attend, taking our flags or banner if agreed with the strikers, providing megaphones and stewards if requested
- Support the call for workers to join the climate strike in September and to maximise member involvement
- Work with other local labour movement and environmental organisations to arrange discussions locally and within workplaces about practically how workers and unions can join the climate strike or show solidarity
- Call on employers and local authorities to declare a climate emergency and involve workers and communities in planning, implementing and monitoring to rapidly achieve zero carbon emissions, including ending investments in fossil fuels
- Call on employers to recognise union green/environmental reps and give them work time for their activities
- Call on unions the STUC and TUC to back the climate strikes, call and build action
- Demand massive public investment in the jobs required to address climate emergency, including massive improvements in renewable energy, housing and public transport
- Send this motion to our local trades council, up through our union structure, to the local Labour Party and local SNP branch.
- Affiliate to Scot.E3 (Employment, Energy and Environment) http://www.scote3.wordpress.com
We will be meeting at 7pm at the Edinburgh Peace and Justice Centre on Wednesday 19th June. The draft agenda includes discussion and organising on:
Our contribution to the Edinburgh World Justice Festival (28th September – 19th October) which this year has a theme of Climate Action and Social Justice.
The Fife Ready for Renewal Meeting in Buckhaven on 20 June
Taking forward action and writing on: Climate Justice, Defence Divestment and links to Climate Action, Re-engineering the grid for a sustainable future, State Energy Company
These are open meetings and anyone who wants to get involved is welcome. If you want to add items to the agenda please use the contact form of email directly to firstname.lastname@example.org
We’ll be running a workshop at the XR Climate Campo at Holyrood on Monday evening (17th June), 7pm – it’s on ‘Climate jobs, just transition and building a movement with social justice at its heart’ – do come along if you can and in any case support the Climate Camp – on this week from this evening until Thursday.
EDF renewables have the contract for the new Neart na Gaoithe offshore wind farm. Although the turbines will be located around 15.5 km off the Fife coast the company plans to source much of the infrastructure for the site from South East Asia.
The project aims to generate 450MW of renewable energy (enough to power all of Edinburgh) – this makes the decision to manufacture the jackets that the turbines rest on in the far east and then ship them around the world all the more ludicrous. It will create huge additional carbon emissions – the STUC reckons this would be the equivalent of putting 35,000 additional petrol or diesel cars on the road.
Simply on the basis of its carbon footprint, the argument for dropping the EDF plan and building the jackets at the BiFab yards in Fife is incontestable. But in the context of a climate emergency it also raises other fundamental issues about how Scotland plays its part in the transition to a zero carbon economy. Mary Church, Head of Campaigns at Friends of the Earth Scotland puts the case very well:
We urgently need to build the clean energy economy in Scotland to do our fair share of tackling the climate emergency. But the new clean economy must be created in a way that ensures the benefits and costs are shared fairly, both internationally and here in Scotland.
Crucially, it also means losing the opportunity to create decent manufacturing work in Fife, that could help kick start the badly need Just Transition for workers and communities currently dependent on high carbon industries here in Scotland.
The skills of the BiFab workers are critical to a Just Transition. Fundamentally this is about social justice and about the contribution that Scotland can make to the global response to the climate crisis. We have abundant resources for sustainable energy production and workers with the skills required to build the new sustainable economy. However, if we are serious about dealing with a climate emergency it is essential to develop policy and institutions that enable public control and accountability.
The STUC together with Unite the Union and the GMB have launched a campaign, ‘Fife – ready for renewal’ to bring the work to Fife. And Nicola Sturgeon is backing appeals to EDF to move production to the BiFab yards. This is really welcome. But taking the climate emergency seriously surely requires going beyond call to the ‘social conscience’ of the big energy companies. There is a pressing need to develop a publicly owned energy company. Such a company could invest in production through new offshore wind, wave and tidal, take control of the grid and update it with new subsea connections and a smart distribution system and end the dependency on the market.
Mike Downham attended the Forum which was part of a week of discussion sponsored by Common Space and was held at the Kinning Park Complex in Glasgow. Here’s his reflection on the meeting which has also been published as a latter on Common Space.
Some meetings about changing society defy themselves by their structure. You know the sort of thing – too many speakers, speaking for too long, protected by a top table, with time only for a few questions (not comments) from the floor, to which each of the speakers gives pontifical answers. Then suddenly there’s a rush to close the meeting, and we all go home frustrated and disempowered.
Not so last night’s Common Space Forum. Rather more than half the time given to the 50 or so participants, the majority of whom took the opportunity to speak with impressive commitment and from a wide range of experience. The three ‘speakers’ reduced to respondents, asked well-prepared questions by a facilitator. Their answers strikingly non-sectarian, based on their respective experiences as Friends of the Earth activist, Extinction Rebellion activist, and Professor of ‘tools of persuasion’. The whole show felt like a re-run for a new and fair society.
Between us, for sure, there’s no problem about articulating both the nature of the emergency and a vision of where we need to get to. The issue is the bridge in between. But I went away optimistic and a lot clearer about bridges we can build together:
- Make specific demands to the Scottish Government about what we want – for example a publicly owned, democratically accountable Scottish State Energy Company; the closure of North Sea oil and gas extraction; a just transition for workers and communities.
- Make specific demands to the Scottish Government about what we absolutely don’t want – for example the Growth Commission’s economic plan; distant targets; fracking.
- Don’t take no for an answer.
- Acknowledge the importance in the mass movement of emotional response to the climate emergency, especially anger and fear (we got into a whole new dimension here, largely missing before the XR)
- Know that we can do it
There was much talk about having so little time. The persuasion prof recommended we focus on Government ministers – not enough time to persuade the masses – but later somewhat contradicted himself by saying that people are quick to come behind issues of fairness. Surely we need to do both – hold ministers to account, right now, and continue to work in whatever ways available to us to build the mass movement, readying it to take the lead if ministers fail us.
The hall at Kinning Park Centre is large – plenty of room for an elephant. The elephant last night, sitting just behind us – you could smell him – was class. For all the talk of fairness, and of poverty, especially fuel poverty, there was no explicit class analysis. And yet what got us into this emergency was generations of exploitation of a huge number of people by a small number of people. We need to acknowledge this and keep our eye on it in everything we do, if we’re to understand what we’re up against. And because the people feeling the most pain will in the end be decisive in our fight for a fairer world.
Image by Takver, Flickr, CC BY SA 2.0