The following motions have been passed at national conference (NEU, UCU, UCU Scotland, Unison). Other national unions are also supporting the COP26 Coalition (e.g. PCS union) Do let us know about other relevant policy so we can include it here, and help get it implemented on the ground.
National Education Union (NEU)
Combat climate breakdown in school and beyond
1. The COVID crisis has been one manifestation of environmental blowback.
2. Climate breakdown and mass extinction are accelerating.
3. The world needs a global green new deal with all countries co-operating to salvage human civilisation.
4. The COP in November 2021 will be a pivotal point.
5. The measures taken by the UK government are not adequate even to meet its existing targets but many local authorities have declared a climate emergency.
6. The refusal of the DFE to consider a curriculum review to make our education system adequate for the society we need and implement their legal obligation under Article 12 of the Paris Agreement is a betrayal of the children in our schools.
1. Review all national union activity and infrastructure to draw up a plan for complete eradication of greenhouse gas emissions and begin implementing it as rapidly as possible - with a report on progress at the 2022 conference.
2. Ensure that education in Just Transition is built into our reps training and call on Districts to incorporate it into local training.
3. Incorporate the huge range of creative work in developing climate themed education done by teachers and environmental campaigns into the Union's CPD programme.
4 Continue to campaign for a review of the curriculum in response to the climate crisis.
5. Take these points to the TUC to propose the rest of the trade union movement does the same.
6 Call for all schools, LAs and MATs to declare a climate emergency and to plan a path to zero greenhouse gas emissions by supporting the Let's Go Zero 2030 campaign and for LAs to establish local Task Forces, comprising representatives of all relevant parties including school staff and students, parents, FE colleges, universities, employers and trade unions; to coordinate provision and support for Just Transition in local economies and transition from school to training and work, with teacher unions represented in the local authority's climate emergency policy process.
7. Work with the school students movement, other unions and campaigns in informing and mobilising our members in support of actions up to and beyond the November COP in Glasgow.
8. Organise protests in the autumn, with others, at the DFE and the Treasury and locally calling for a review of the curriculum and for investment to create a million green jobs and apprenticeships.
9. Encourage members to show solidarity with calls for a global climate strike on November 5th.
10. Support the activities of the COP 26 coalition, including publicising and mobilising members for the global day of action on November 6th.
Composite: Climate change, COP26, zero carbon economy and job creation
The COP26 talks in Glasgow in November 2021 come at a crucial time. According to a recent report by the Environment Agency, climate change is hitting the 'worst case scenario'. This means hotter temperatures, more extreme weather conditions, drought, famine, ecosystem destruction, biodiversity loss and much more. And as always it will be communities in the Global South who feel the worst impacts.
While we welcome any action to deal with the climate crisis, we need to beware false solutions that focus on the market or billionaires to rescue us. That is why the mobilisations for the COP26 - in Glasgow and in local towns and cities - are crucial. And it is important that trade unions are at the heart of these mobilisations, calling for climate justice, a just transformation for workers and one million climate jobs.
We support these mobilisations and the work done by the COP26 coalition.
1. The IPCC 2018 Special Report has warned of the dire consequences of exceeding 1.5ºC global average warming.
2. To avoid this global carbon emissions must be halved by 2030.
3. We need to mobilise for a just transition which protects and improves workers' livelihoods, creates a more inclusive society and stops greenhouse gas emissions.
4. We face a global and UK crisis of unemployment; tackling the Covid-19 pandemic represents an ideal opportunity to invest in climate jobs.
5. The UK government continues to back false solutions like carbon markets and block the transformational changes which are necessary.
Congress recognises that the move to a zero-carbon economy has huge implications for the jobs of UCU members. Job creation and the measures needed to meet climate targets mean this should be a central focus for UCU strategy.
Congress calls on NEC to:
a. Support the COP26 coalition and encourage branches to join it.
b. Join and support the national mobilisations and protests that take place leading up to and during the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow in November 2021 by supporting branches taking climate solidarity action with students, unions, and campaign organisations
c. Review UCU activity and infrastructure and draw up a plan for the elimination of greenhouse gas emissions with a report on progress to the 2022 Congress
Climate Change and COP 26
the need for very urgent action on climate change
proposed deadlines for moving to zero carbon are welcome, but insufficient e.g. Scottish government deadline of 2045.
Congress believes that it is essential that really strong agreements are made at COP 26 and that there is sufficient follow-up to ensure they are met.
Congress agrees to
encourage branches to work with students to organise teach-outs at the time of COP 26
encourage branches to put pressure on institutions to do serious work on managing their emissions, including have carbon zero targets and a programme of activities to meet them.
UCU Scotland executive to participate in the COP 26 working groups and encourage members do so.
encourage members to include climate justice and sustainability in their teaching practice, branches to negotiate policies to support this and executive to produce resources to support this
Relevant part of M25 - "Securing an Equal and Sustainable Post Pandemic Settlement"
4) Economic policies that create a greener and more sustainable economy. Such policies must achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2030 and work hand in hand with the goal of securing decent green jobs with fair pay and a just transition for all across the regions and nations of the UK. To avoid catastrophic climate change, an international response is needed, including increased foreign aid and public investment to tackle climate and ecological emergencies around the world and to ensure a fair deal for workers in the Global South. The policy priority must be to solve the climate emergency through an immediate and widespread programme of green investment including the re-purposing of existing industries to provide sustainable employment, ending the dependency on fossil fuels and unsustainable animal-based agriculture and the investment in public sector housing and public transport. In this regard conference notes the importance of COP 26 in Glasgow in November and encourages branches to actively participate in demonstrations and related events, in line with UK governments' guidelines in place at the time.
M59 as amended by M59.1 "Tackling Climate Change and COP 26"
"Conference notes that the next meeting of the United Nations Conference of the Parties on Climate Change (COP 26) is scheduled to take place in Glasgow in November 2021.
Conference notes that we are already experiencing climate change and that public bodies are already dealing with the consequences, having to divert budgets to respond to severe weather events, investing in stronger flood defences and deal with the impact on health of higher temperatures and polluted air.
There can be no going to back to the normal that views economic policy and environmental action as separate things. Covid 19 was and is an emergency requiring instant action, Conference accepts that there are related lessons for the immediate bold, far ranging actions needed to tackle climate change. Any real recovery from the pandemic must involve the creation of a green and sustainable economy.
Conference accepts that to address this crisis will include significant reductions in the use of carbon fossil fuels and that current government targets are not sufficiently ambitious.
Conference recognises the success of the Green UNISON Week in the run up to the global climate strike in September 2019. This demonstrated UNISON's leading role and commitment to tackling climate change and built on our campaigns for pension funds to divest from fossil fuels and to promote noncarbon alternatives to transform our gas supply.
As both a public sector and energy union Conference recognises the critical role UNISON has in taking a lead within the trade union movement in pushing forward this agenda. We recognise that the public sector is a significant user of carbon and that thousands of members are employed in the carbon fossil fuel sector. We recognise the urgent need for the de-carbonisation of the public sector and energy industry. However this transformation needs to be one that protects both jobs and services. We further recognise the urgent need for public sector pension schemes to divest from fossil fuels and unsustainable animalbased agriculture. This is the basis of the Just Transition campaigns in which UNISON has taken a leading role in alongside other unions and environmental groups.
Conference also recognises that Just Transition must include those people in the global south who have benefitted least from the exploitation of fossil fuels in the last 200 years but who are the first victims of global warming, and now in many places suffering the worst effects of the global pandemic. Governments of the industrialised world must provide support, resources and technology to the global south to ameliorate the immediate impacts of rising sea-levels, loss of arable land and failure of water supplies in rivers and lakes.
Conference calls on the National Executive Council to:
1) Conduct a full review of our own use of carbon at national, regional and branch level, by the organisation, staff and lay members, and issue guidance to enable all levels of the union to contribute to UNISON becoming carbon neutral at the earliest opportunity;
2) Mobilise for a significant UNISON engagement at COP 26 to ensure the needs of workers and public services are central to the outcomes. This includes encouraging members to participate in preparations for and in activities in Glasgow during COP 26;
3) Work with international trade union partners to assist in ensuring that the international trade union movement, particularly from the global south, are represented at COP 26;
4) Demand that the UK government adopts policies that will allow the UK to be leading by example at COP26. These policies would include, banning fracking, investing in research and infra-structure to move away from fossil fuels in electricity generation, gas supply and transport, ending subsidies for unsustainable animal-based agriculture and invests in a programme to insulate all homes and public buildings and enact a legal framework to ensure all new buildings are constructed to the highest zero-carbon standards;
5) Continue to support the creation of a UK Just Transition Commission to develop the new industries and jobs needed in a zero carbon economy;
6) Call on the government to invest in public bodies and environmental protection agencies to enable them to meet the immediate impacts of global warming and climate change and improve public sector resilience in the face of this emergency.