The conference "Jobs and Climate: Planning for a future which doesn't cost the earth" held on 10 March was a huge success. Over 200 people attended the event at the National Education Union Head Office.
The conference set out to challenge the false choice of good jobs versus the environment. Instead of settling for this, there is both an urgent need for action on climate change and a real opportunity for trade unionists to be at the forefront of campaigning for a transition. One which puts the needs of the planet, decent jobs and social justice at the top of the political agenda.
Links to videos below - more to be uploaded shortly
The theme of the opening session, introduced by Suzanne Jeffery, chair of the Campaign against Climate Change was ‘Jobs versus the environment: challenging a false choice’. Professor Joanna Haigh, a leading scientist at the Grantham Institute, outlined the urgency of action now to get to zero carbon by 2050. Sarah Woolley, whose union, the Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union, moved the climate change motion at the TUC, spoke about the need for unions to prioritise this issue. The BFAWU are calling on their health and safety reps to take this up and are producing a newsletter to support this role. Asad Rehman from War on Want, spoke about the importance of seeing this as more than just an environmental issue, and the need for a vision of the future that challenged a system that has caused the problem. Barry Gardiner, Labour Party Shadow Secretary for Trade and Climate Change, concluded. He emphasised that action should not be just a top down approach. Communities engaged in the fight against fracking illustrated this and he gave a pledge that one of his first priorities in any incoming Labour Government would be to introduce a ban on shale gas extraction.