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Climate change: IPCC report confirms that just transition and green jobs are central to success

By staff - International Trade Union Confederation, May 4, 2022

ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow said: “This report lays out a stark reality: global greenhouse gas emissions need to peak before 2025, and we have to cut emissions by 43% by 2030 to give us a chance to limit global warming to 1.5°C.

“That’s a lot, but the report says that solar and wind energy have the potential to deliver over one-third of this target.

“It’s unavoidable: the world needs rapid, deep and immediate investments in jobs to build this infrastructure and deliver the cuts to emissions we need.

“At the same time, the report is clear that we have to leave the oil and gas in the ground to survive. We need fossil fuel infrastructure and subsidies to be repurposed.

“This requires just transition: a plan to convert these jobs in fossil fuels to jobs in clean energy. Every country, every industry, every company, and every investor must have a plan developed, in partnership with working people and their communities, and must implement it rapidly.

Our report with the World Resources Institute and the New Climate Economy showed that this shift makes economic and social sense too. Investing in solar power creates 1.5 times as many jobs as investing the same amount of money in fossil fuels.

“The IPPC has sounded a call to action for jobs in renewables. Investors, companies and governments need to make this a reality now. We know that for every ten jobs in renewable energy, there are another five to ten in manufacturing supply chains and, if these are good jobs with just wages, 30 to 35 jobs in the broader community.”

The IPPC report makes clear the transformational potential of just transition, saying it can “build social trust, and deepen and widen support for transformative changes”. It goes on to say: “This is already taking place in many countries and regions, as national just transition commissions or task forces, and related national policies, have been established in several countries. A multitude of actors, networks, and movements are engaged.”

Sharan Burrow added: “We need unions at the table everywhere to build these plans and to guarantee income support for secure pensions, reskilling and re-deployment.”

Unions Making a Green New Deal from Below: Part 1

By Jeremy Brecher - Labor Network for Sustainability, May 2022

While Washington struggles over job and climate programs, unions around the country are making their own climate-protecting, justice-promoting jobs programs.

While unions have been divided on the Green New Deal as a national policy platform, many national and local unions have initiated projects that embody the principles and goals of the Green New Deal in their own industries and locations. Indeed, some unions have been implementing the principles of the Green New Deal since long before the Green New Deal hit the headlines, developing projects that help protect the climate while creating good jobs and reducing racial, economic, and social injustice.

Even some of the unions that have been most dubious about climate protection policies are getting on the clean energy jobs bandwagon. The United Mine Workers announced in March that it will partner with energy startup SPARKZ to build an electric battery factory in West Virginia in 2022 that will employ 350 workers. The UMWA will recruit and train dislocated miners to be the factory’s first production workers. According to UMWA International Secretary-Treasurer Brian Sanson, “We need good, union jobs in the coalfields no matter what industry they are in. This is a start toward putting the tens of thousands of already-dislocated coal miners to work in decent jobs in the communities where they live.”[1]

Webinar: Investing in Workers for a World Beyond Fossil Fuels

Electric Bus Makers Pave the Way to Union Jobs for Disadvantaged Workers

By Lary Buhl - Capital and Main, April 27, 2022

Last year Armando (who requested that his last name not be used) was working as an addiction counselor when a parole officer came to his office with a flyer announcing a new nine-week training course in electric bus manufacturing technology. The company promised not to discriminate against the formerly incarcerated, among whom are some of his clients. “I wanted to see the class so I could explain it to my clients and maybe recommend it, and make sure they understood the opportunity,” Armando told Capital & Main. “And then I thought, ‘Man, this is a good company with good pay and benefits, and it’s in a growing field.’”

Armando signed up for the class himself, and after completing it last October, he was offered a position as a battery technician at Proterra at over $20 an hour, an entry level salary higher than he was earning as a counselor, with a potential to increase quickly. True to its word, the company didn’t discriminate against him because of his past drug addiction. Armando, 52, who has been clean for five years, did have to compete with job candidates who didn’t have dings on their record and had experience in manufacturing. Now, after only six months, Armando’s eyeing a supervisory position. He’s also been helping the company screen candidates and mentoring those taking the pilot course.

“I want [students] to understand that you can’t be late or get high or do anything stupid on the job,” Armando said. “There’s expensive equipment, and you could kill yourself if you’re careless. Some of these students never had real jobs, and I like people to get a second chance. But you have to take the nine-week course seriously.” The gratitude Armando feels toward the company that gave him a chance has made him work even harder, he said.

The program at Proterra is the fruit of a community benefit agreement (CBA) between the company, United Steelworkers Local 675, L.A.-based nonprofit Jobs to Move America, and a coalition of community organizations that established standards for training, supporting and hiring job candidates from nontraditional backgrounds. They give them a chance at skilled union jobs in the growing field of green manufacturing.

On the way to net-zero mobility: what does this mean for European automobile jobs?

Illinois prioritizes equitable access to green jobs on its path to 100% clean energy

By Laura Aka - Working Nation, April 8, 2022

WorkingNation’s Green Jobs Now series is looking at green jobs opportunities and the skills needed to get those jobs across the country with a series of state-by-state reports. Next: Illinois.

“We can’t outrun or hide from climate change. There is no time to lose. Illinois is taking action in the fight to stop and even reverse the damage that’s been done to our climate.” With those words, Gov. JB Pritzker signed the state’s ambitious Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA) last fall.

CEJA aims to get the state to 100% clean energy by 2050. Not only does it address climate change, it also includes significant workforce development components, including an emphasis on building a more diverse workforce with equitable access to the skills needed to get green jobs.

“Illinois is a force for good, for an environmental future we can be proud of. With economic growth and jobs woven into its fabric, this new law is the most significant step Illinois has taken in a generation toward a reliable, renewable, affordable, and clean energy future in a generation,” the governor added.

“It used to be called the Rust Belt. [Illinois] is moving on an industrial scale from the past to the future by way of a green transition,” says Paula DiPerna, a consultant to WorkingNation on the green economy and a special advisor to CDP, a nonprofit that works with its members to manage their environmental impacts.

“The science of climate change has now become almost universally disseminated,” notes DiPerna who says green jobs are more noticeable. “Once you start thinking about it, you suddenly see it everywhere.”

Aiming for the Sky: A Just Transition for the Aviation Industry

Shifting Narratives and Practices to Achieve Gender Just Climate Transitions

Richmond Progressive Alliance Listening Project, Episode 9: We Deserve Nothing Less

Leeds Bradford abandons its expansion plans: where does that leave us?

By staff - Greener Jobs Alliance, March 11, 2022

Tahir Latif is Secretary of the Greener Jobs Alliance. The opinions expressed here are his own, and not necessarily those of all GJA members. In the spirit of this newly created blog space, we invite alternative views and responses, which can be sent to gjacoms@gmail.com .

The news that Leeds Bradford airport has opted to abandon its expansion plans is hugely welcomed by climate activists everywhere and a testament to the extraordinary efforts of the grassroots organisation, GALBA. Backed by the local trades council, GALBA has been meticulous in rooting its opposition to the expansion in the needs of the community and workforce.

Instead of expansion, LBA is choosing to ‘develop’ its existing terminal. Regardless of what this will actually mean, the decision raises important questions about both the short- and long-term future of the aviation industry and its workers.

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