Claire's blog

PCS Union plan for a National Climate and Biodiversity Service

John Moloney, Assistant General Secretary, PCS:

PCS Union was closely involved with developing the original One Million Climate Jobs campaign. As climate disasters intensify, global emissions rise, and the gap widens between UK climate targets and effective polices to achieve them, the need is greater than ever for a comprehensive climate jobs plan to cut emissions across all sectors.  For PCS, we know this necessary transformation cannot be implemented effectively as the Civil Service is not designed to deliver a long term plan that requires the greatest degree of cross departmental working. That is why we have proposed the National Climate and Biodiversity Service, which would join together all net zero work in the UK Civil Service so that government operates as a coherent whole.

Faced with the government's backtracking, driven in part by misguided electoral calculations (as part of their war on woke and the alleged war on the motorist), we must redouble our efforts. Both in the trade unions and in the climate change movement we need to work together convince workers and the public that the government is wrong, but also to take the necessary actions to get this government and any future ones to adopt the right polices.

The full text of the new pamphlet is below, you can also download it as a pdf

National Climate Change and Biodiversity Service: A PCS workers’ plan for an alternative civil service

The era of global warming has ended and “the era of global boiling has arrived”, the UN secretary general, António Guterres, has declared.

In those circumstances, the notion that it is business as usual for the Civil Service or society as a whole, clearly is not sustainable. There needs to be a radical overhaul of how the UK Civil Service works. This would only be one element in the solution – you still need political will and a plan – but without effective state mechanisms there is no hope in ensuring net zero.

April 21-24: Unite to Survive

We're supporting the Extinction Rebellion call-out for the 'BIG ONE' mobilisation, involving more than 200 groups and organisations gathering around Parliament 21-24 April

It's clear that the multiple crises we face are interlinked: irreversible climate breakdown, spiralling cost of living and poverty, and attacks on fundamental rights to protest and strike. So let's make sure this message is heard with plenty of trade union banners and placards on the action!

Friday 21 April

'People's pickets' outside government departments, with many different groups coming together to organise these. CACCTU will be at the "Department for Energy Security and Net Zero" (DESNZ), along with other groups including Fuel Poverty Action, Stop Rosebank, Just Stop Oil and Biofuelwatch and more. 

Activists will be there from 7am to allow engagement with workers as they arrive. The 'pickets' will continue throughout the day until 6pm, though key times are likely to be12 noon to 2pm when workers are coming and going, and activists coming for the day are most likely to be around.. At 3pm there will also be an 'opening ceremony' in Parliament Square.

PCS Union are supporting the action but will not be asking members to come out during core hours, only at lunchtime. Note that "People's Pickets" are to be inclusive and accessible, and won't block access to the buildings.

Some trade unionists will be planning to attend other picket sites with their local groups or specific campaigns. There is a map showing the locations of the different government departments.

Saturday 22 April

The trade union hub will be opposite the south end of the Houses of Parliament, just past 'Old Palace Yard' where the health, education and science hubs are based. CACCTU will be there along with XR TU and other trade union climate groups. We'll have speakers and discussion from 11-1pm, about how trade unions and climate activists can and must work together, the solutions we need, and those we don't.  Please come and join us if you can!

11am - Welcome! Trade unions and climate activism

Daniel Randall, RMT and XRTU

11.10 - The changes we need

Climate jobs - Suzanne Jeffery, CACCTU; Avoiding greenwash - Ellen Robottom, CACCTU; Offshore workers’ demands for a just energy transition  - Rosemary Harris, Platform; Cumbria coal mine and green jobs - Hazel Graham; plus open discussion

11.40 - Climate/green networks in trade unions

NEU Climate Change Network - Paul Atkin; Equity For a Green New Deal; Unite Grassroot Climate Justice Caucus - Clara Paillard; plus open discussion and networking

12.10 - Democracy - workers and climate

Workers Assemblies - Finlay Asher, Safe Landing; Green reps (tbc)

12.25 - Organising locally (speakers and open mic)

Carol Mills, Eastbourne Trades Council, plus other speakers

From 1pm CACCTU will be joining other trade union climate activists for a Trade Union bloc on the march for biodiversity – please bring your TU flags and banners.  

COP27 fails on cutting emissions, offers help to pay for loss and damage that will result

The main headline from COP27: after twenty-seven years of climate negotiations, progress on actually cutting emissions is as painfully slow as ever. Meanwhile the chance of staying under 1.5C of warming is rapidly disappearing, and the impacts of climate breakdown are devastating communities around the world.

The Egyptian government saw hosting the summit as an opportunity to enhance prestige, but the international attention also shone a spotlight on its human rights abuses, with a crackdown on protesters ahead of COP27. The most powerful voice at the summit was arguably a man who who was not even in Sharm el-Sheikh, but in prison. Alaa Abd El Fattah, a British-Egyptian pro-democracy activist and writer, who has been in prison for most of the past nine years, escalated his ongoing hunger strike to stop drinking water as COP27 began.

Due to the restrictions imposed on protest in the streets of Egypt , for the first time ever, climate activists marched within the Blue Zone (governed by UN rules). Their slogan, "We have not yet been defeated" echoed the the title of Alaa Abd El Fattah's book of essays, You Have Not Yet Been Defeated. Solidarity climate protests around the world called for the freeing of Alaa and the many other political prisoners in Egypt, that there could be no climate justice without human rights.

Loss and Damage fund finally established

COP27 did produce one big win for countries on the frontline of climate breakdown. After decades of blocking by rich nations, a loss and damage fund was agreed for countries most affected by climate change to cover devastating impacts like flooding and drought. In the run up to COP27, negotiations had been needed to even get loss and damage onto the agenda. This fund is a significant win for powerful advocacy by climate-vulnerable countries and the global climate justice movement, and one which was fought over all the way.

But the new loss and damage fund is, for now, empty. The track record of rich nations on climate finance is not encouraging. Thirteen years ago in Copenhagen, rich nations pledged to provide US$100 billion a year to less wealthy nations by 2020, to help them adapt to climate change and develop sustainably. That promise was broken, not just falling short on the total amount, but also in the substance of what has been provided, which has overwhelmingly been given as loans only, rather than grant funding.