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Governments’ failure to live up to Paris Agreement promises puts planet stability at risk

By staff - International Trade Union Confederation, April 21, 2021

In total, 136 governments were due to submit enhanced National Determined Contributions (NDCs), but only 79 have done so. The ITUC has been publishing scorecards on each plan here.

Of the 79 NDCs submitted, the ITUC analysis found that

  • 20 NDCs (25%) have ambitious climate plans;
  • 10 NDCs (8%) have Just Transition plans; and
  • 16 NDCs (13%) use social dialogue.

The ten worst countries for climate ambition and Just Transition are Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Russia and South Korea.

Two of the biggest countries, the USA and China, could announce their latest plans this week.

Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, said: “Six years since the Paris Agreement was signed and the day before Earth Day, this isn’t good enough. The richest countries of the world should be taking the lead, not dragging behind.

“Only one in four countries have ambitious climate plans, and nearly nine out of ten countries are denying working people and communities a say in their own future by not using social dialogue.

“Climate change is the biggest threat to all of us and we need NDCs from all governments now, with strong Just Transition plans and social dialogue at their centre. For workers this means climate-friendly jobs that transition from fading employment sectors to new, growing industries. Working people deserve nothing less.”

  • The countries that show the most ambitious climate plans: Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Kenya, Moldova, Rwanda and Suriname.
  • The countries with credible Just Transition plans: Argentina, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, European Union (EU), Germany, Kenya, Netherlands, Norway, Spain and Suriname.
  • The countries using social dialogue: Argentina, Costa Rica, Denmark, EU, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Netherlands, Norway, Panama, Poland, Spain and the UK.

The EU is taking an important step with its recovery package that includes a Just Transition Fund to direct $21 billion to fossil fuel and carbon-intensive regions most impacted by the energy transition.

Kenya explicitly refers to Just Transition in its NDCs submission, and the government is consulting workers’ unions about its plans.

Costa Rica’s NDC submission includes a Just Transition plan and a commitment to tripart social dialogue between the government, working people and employers.

“These countries show what is possible. Mentioning the words ‘Just Transition’ is not enough. Credible plans need to involve dialogue with unions and stakeholders. Our unions are ready to sit down and work together in Just Transition plans.

“Just Transition is the bridge to a fossil-free economy. If we are going to transition every industry, and we must, in line with achieving net-zero emissions, then we need to make that transition just. That requires unions to be at the table to develop an agreed plan that gives workers a secure future.

“There is no excuse for not delivering NDCs that meet our three criteria: ambitious climate plans, Just Transition plans and social dialogue. We will continue to expose governments that are not pulling their weight and push them to do better in this race against time,” added Sharan Burrow.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author.

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