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Unions and Climate Change: Toward Global Public Goods

By Sean Sweeney, Richard Kozul-Wright, Rosa Pavanelli, Josua Mata, and David Gobé - Socialist Project, January 16, 2022

A Corporate-led Transition Can’t Deliver on Climate: Toward Global Public Goods

COP26 convened at a time when vastly different visions of climate transition compete for supremacy. Large corporations around the World Economic Forum (WEF) are promoting a “Great Reset” where “stakeholder” capitalism replaces “shareholder” capitalism and are calling for a “resilient energy transition” that “delivers inclusive growth and long-term prosperity.” Larry Fink of BlackRock backs the idea and says he has a public-private climate finance strategy to fund the transition, which on closer inspection asks taxpayers to assume the risks while bankers and speculators take the profits.

We’ve been here before. In 2012 the World Bank called for “inclusive growth” through ‘public-private partnerships’, but the world is more unequal and governments more indebted than ever before. The Great Reset is old wine in new green bottles, not a genuine effort to change course.

Meanwhile, the 6th Assessment Report of the IPCC has concluded that drastic measures must be pursued to avoid potentially catastrophic climate impacts. But Greenhouse Gases continue to rise and six years on, the voluntary ‘commitments’ made in Paris are not being met.

Calls for “more ambition” on the part of governments are not enough – more of the same will only accelerate these trajectories. Unions and their allies in social movements must fight instead for a major policy shift: one that builds an alternative to the neoliberal “green growth” model.

This event explores how “public-public partnerships” can cultivate the global cooperation and momentum necessary to secure long overdue structural transformation, address rising emissions, respond to “extreme weather events” and advance the dignity and rights of people everywhere.

Presentations by:

  • Sean Sweeney, TUED
  • Richard Kozul-Wright, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
  • Rosa Pavanelli, Public Services International (PSI)
  • Josua Mata, Sentro, Philippines
  • David Gobé, International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF)

Coordination: UNCTAD, Public Services International, Scottish Trade Union Congress, TUED. Recorded 9 November 2021.

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