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One Million Climate Jobs: Moving South Africa Forward on a Low-Carbon, Wage-Led, and Sustainable Path

By Brian Ashley, et. al. - One Million Climate Jobs - December 2016

The One Million Climate Jobs Campaign is an alliance of labour, social movements and popular organisations in South Africa that is campaigning for the creation of a million climate jobs as part of a collective approach to the crisis of unemployment and climate change. The Campaign was launched in 2011 and since then has been mobilising thousands of South Africans around real solutions to slowing down climate change, protecting the natural environment, improving the quality of life for all and moving towards a sustainable development path. Climate change will exacerbate inequality and poverty because it reduces access to food, water, energy and housing. Thus it is vital that social justice struggles around these issues incorporate struggles around climate change.

This booklet is a follow-up, six years later, to the first booklet that was produced in 2011. It is based on well- researched solutions for how South Africa can immediately begin a just transition, away from the Minerals-Energy Complex that continues to dominate the South African capitalist economy, to a low carbon economy in which the basic needs of communities are met in an equitable, sustainable and affordable way.

It recognizes that in these six years there have been many developments – for instance, renewable energy is now firmly established as part of the energy mix (although still a minor part); retrofitting buildings, and the development of environmentally friendly construction methods, is being developed, and the Rapid Bus Transit system is being slowly implemented in some municipalities.

But most of these solutions are being pursued within the logic of the market. It is not possible, we would argue, within these market parameters, to respond adequately to the enormous challenges facing us – what is needed is a publicly-driven solution for the shift to a sustainable, low-carbon future. The research that this booklet is based on begins to set out what such a transition could look like. We hope that it will be an important contribution to the ongoing work of building a political movement to struggle around these issues.

Download (PDF).

A Global High Shift Scenario: Impacts and Potential for More Public Transport, Walking, and Cycling With Lower Car Use

By Michael A. Replogle, Institute for Transportation and Development Policy and Lewis M. Fulton, University of California, Davis - Publication, September 2016

This report is the first study to examine how major changes in urban transport investments worldwide would affect urban passenger transport emissions as well as mobility by different income groups. It starts with the most recent United Nations urban population forecasts and the most recent model framework and forecasts used by the International Energy Agency (IEA) for global mobility modeling. The study extends these with new research on the extent of various urban passenger transport systems in cities across the world, as well as new estimates of the extent of mobility by non-motorized transport and low power e-bikes.

The study considers two main future scenarios: a baseline urban scenario calibrated to the IEA 2012 Energy Technology Perspectives 4° Scenario and a newly developed alternative scenario called “High Shift” (HS), with far greater urban passenger travel by clean public transport and non-motorized modes than in the Baseline and a decrease in the rates of road construction, parking garages and other ways in which car ownership is encouraged.

The study concludes that this High Shift scenario could save over $100 trillion in public and private capital and operating costs of urban transportation between now and 2050 and eliminate about 1.7 gigatons of carbon dioxide (CO2) annually – a 40 percent reduction of urban passenger transport emissions -- by 2050. This suggests one of the more afford-able ways to cut global warming pollution is to design cities to give people clean options for using public transportation, walking and cycling. In recent years transportation, driven by rapid growth in car use, has been the fastest growing source of CO2 in the world.

Transportation in urban areas accounted for about 2.3 gigatons of CO2 in 2010, almost one quarter of carbon emissions from all parts of the transportation sector. Rapid urbanization—especially in fast developing countries like China and India—will cause these emissions to nearly double worldwide by 2050 without changes in policy and investments.

Read the report (PDF).

Interview - The Politics of Going Green

Chris Williams and Robert Pollin interviewed by Jessica Desvarieux - The Real News Network, July 30, 2014

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’s.

Biography

Chris Williams is a long-time environmental activist and author of Ecology and Socialism: Solutions to Capitalist Ecological Crisis. He is chair of the science department at Packer Collegiate Institute and adjunct professor at Pace University, in the Department of Chemistry and Physical Science. His writings have appeared in numerous publications, including TruthOut, Z Magazine, Green Left Weekly, Alternet, CommonDreams, ClimateAndCapitalism, ClimateStoryTellers, The Indypendent, Dissident Voice, International Socialist Review, Socialist Worker, and ZNet. He reported from Fukushima in 2011 and was a Lannan writer-in-residence in Marfa, Texas over the summer of 2012, where he began work on his second book. He was awarded the Lannan 2013-4 Cultural Freedom Fellowship to continue this work. He has just returned from four months in Vietnam, Morocco and Bolivia, examining the impact of economic development and climate change in relation to energy, food and water issues.

Robert Pollin is professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He is the founding co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI). His research centers on macroeconomics, conditions for low-wage workers in the US and globally, the analysis of financial markets, and the economics of building a clean-energy economy in the US. His latest book is Back to Full Employment. Other books include A Measure of Fairness: The Economics of Living Wages and Minimum Wages in the United States and Contours of Descent: US Economic Fractures and the Landscape of Global Austerity.

Labor’s Route to a New Transportation System: How Federal Transportation Policy Can Create Good Jobs, First-Rate Mobility, and Environmentally Sustainable Communities

By staff - Cornell University Global Labor Institute, July 2011

Federal transportation policy is set every five to six years through the Surface Transportation Authorization Act. This policy largely shapes investment in our nation’s transportation system. Currently, only unions whose members are employed in the transport sector play a role in trying to influence federal transportation legislation, but the Reauthorization Act is hugely important to all union members and working people. The current legislation, Safe, Accountable, Flexible Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA -LU ) expires September 30, 2011. The reauthorization of federal transportation policy presents an important opportunity for union leaders and members to advocate for key policy reforms that will create good union jobs, defend and expand the role of the public sector in transportation, provide safe and affordable mobility to working families and reduce the transport sector’s contribution to air pollution and climate change.

The state of the U.S. transportation system determines working families’ access to affordable, high-quality mobility and, in turn, their ability to meet essential needs such as getting to work, school, medical services, recreation and more. The maintenance and operation of private vehicles consumes a growing portion of working families’ household budgets and puts owning and operating a vehicle completely out of reach for some. The impact of rising gas prices on working families’ mobility exacerbates the fact that only 50% of Americans have access to public transit. (need citation) Furthermore, in response to budget shortfalls, local governments have increased fares, laid off workers, reduced transit services and offered up public transit systems to privatization.

Read the text (PDF).

Coming Now to a Job Near You! Why Climate Change Matters for California Workers

By Jeremy Brecher, Brendan Smith, and Lisa Hoyos - Labor Network for Sustainability, September 2020

California is at the forefront of driving the expansion of the clean energy economy. California’s groundbreaking climate law, the Global Warming Solutions Act — AB 32 — is the most comprehensive climate legislation enacted anywhere in the US. But this law is at risk from political interests, backed by oil company resources, which are trying to overturn it.

AB 32 opponents are using a job-loss argument, creating a false divide between job creation and climate protection. They’ve done this is spite of the fact that green jobs have grown by 5% during a recessionary period where net jobs in our state fell. California already has 500,000 green jobs. We’ve got 12,000 clean energy businesses and we hold 40% of the US patents in solar, wind and advanced battery technology. Sixty percent of all clean energy venture capital is invested here (the runner-up state, Massachusetts, has 10%), with a large spike coming in the years after the passage of AB 32.

Climate change is a global problem. The AB 32 opponents who are working to stop the implementation of California’s climate law argue that our state shouldn’t try to address this problem on its own. However, California is the world’s eighth largest economy, and what we do here carries global significance, both politically and economically. We passed AB 32 in 2006. Four years later, at the national level, it is proving difficult or impossible to pass comprehensive climate policy. If California fails to build on our leadership in this arena, we will be playing into the hands of those, such as the US Chamber of Commerce, who are spending millions of dollars to thwart national action on climate change.

While the foot-dragging on climate protection continues at the national level, everyday’s news brings new evidence of the varied and devastating impacts of climate change happening around the world and within the borders of our own country.

Read the text (PDF).

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The Fine Print I:

Disclaimer: The views expressed on this site are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) unless otherwise indicated and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s, nor should it be assumed that any of these authors automatically support the IWW or endorse any of its positions.

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The Fine Print II:

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