Claire's blog

New research shows trade unions getting to grips with climate change

Despite being faced with many immediate battles to fight, it is to the credit of many trade unions that they are also addressing the long term wellbeing of their members, and of future generations, by introducing policies to tackle climate change. A new report providing the first ever overview of the climate change policies of 17 major UK trade unions could help raise wider awareness of this important work.

The author, Catherine Hookes, is studying for a masters degree at Lund University, Sweden, and her research drew on a comprehensive web review of policies in these unions, going into more depth for many of the unions, interviewing key figures and activists. The research was facilitated by the Campaign against Climate Change.

For anyone within the trade union movement concerned about climate change (or for campaigners wishing to engage with trade unions on these issues) this report is of practical use in understanding the context, the diversity of different trade unions' approaches, and the progress that has been made in the campaign for a just transition to a low carbon economy.

Take action... UK media vs climate scientists

It has been harder and harder for certain tabloids and other sections of the UK media to push doubt and disinformation about the existence and seriousness of climate change. With the last three years each consecutively breaking records for the highest ever global temperatures the 'sceptics' are fighting a losing battle, and they know it.

But a journalist like the Daily Mail's David Rose is certainly not going to let Trump go unsupported in his war on climate science and clean energy. In a recent article, described by one expert as “so wrong it’s hard to know where to start” he launches an attack on one study. Rose claims, with breathtaking dishonesty, that this may undermine the entire scientific understanding of global warming, calling this "Climate Gate 2" and asking breathlessly:

"does this mean that truly dangerous global warming is less imminent, and that politicians’ repeated calls for immediate ‘urgent action’ to curb emissions are exaggerated?"

Er, no.

This article is only one example of the deliberate misinformation which has made it much easier for those wishing to cut "the green crap" (attrib. D. Cameron) to delay and divert vital policies to cut UK emissions. The main culprits are Rupert Murdoch's Times and Sun, Richard Desmond's Express, Lord Rothermere's Daily Mail and the Barclay brothers' Telegraph. The editorial policies of just five billionaire newspaper-owners have had a huge impact. In the absence of any serious regulation, the only meaningful leverage is through advertising revenue.

The campaign Advertising Action on Climate Project is calling on those in the business community who already understand the seriousness of the climate threat, and whose massive advertising budgets are the major source of revenue for these climate sceptic media corporations, to use this influence constructively by urgently engaging in dialogue with these media organisations’ editors and owners on the issue. The purpose of such a dialogue would be to seek assurances that, as a beginning, all climate crisis coverage would in future be science-based and that an end would be put to the flood of uncontested comment and editorial articles from non-scientific climate-sceptic lobbyists.

ImageTake action

Write to BT asking them to act (sample letter below)

Write to M&S asking them to act (sample letter below)

Briefing paper on climate misinformation in newspapers

Letter from climate scientists to The Times, April 2016

Ken Montague

We are deeply saddened at the death of our friend and great climate campaigner and socialist, Ken Montague, who passed away last Friday. 

Below are tributes from Suzanne Jeffery and Jonathan Neale.

Ken was secretary of the Campaign against Climate Change trade union group and a member of CACC steering group for many years. During that time Ken played an invaluable role in developing the work of the trade union group and especially the One Million Climate jobs report and campaign. 

Ken's work was unseen and often unsung but without it much of what the CACC trade union group have done in the last few years would not have happened. Ken's work allowed the trade union group to campaign increasingly effectively within the wider trade union movement, to develop a deeper understanding of the climate crisis, its relevance to the struggle of working people and to counter the false narrative that jobs and the environment are mutually exclusive. 

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