Three quarters of world’s people want governments to act on climate change

The following article was prepared by the ITUC Press Department.


Three quarters of world’s people want governments to act on climate change

New ITUC Climate Justice Frontline’s briefing sets out union plans for a climate deal in 2015.

19 March 2015

Overwhelming support for government action on climate change puts leaders in the spotlight to agree a climate deal in December 2015 that will give the world a fighting chance to limit temperature rises to 2 ºC.

Source: ITUC Press Department

The world’s people want their governments to deal with the pollution that is causing climate change. According to the ITUC Global Poll of the general public in fourteen countries, 73 per cent of people want governments to do more to limit pollution causing climate change.

Brazil, South Africa, Russian, Italy and India topped the leaderboard with 80 per cent or more of respondents insistent on action by their governments.

“We know the science is unequivocal. Without urgent and ambitious action we will face a temperature rise of 4ºC or more this century and irreversible changes in our climate.

Economists have spoken. The financial damage caused by global warming will cost the world far more than previously estimated,’’ said Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, ITUC.

Workers and their unions have a vital role to play to protect jobs in existing workplaces and industries by demanding industrial transformation, organizing new quality jobs in the emerging green economy and fighting for the Just Transition measures that ensure we leave no one behind.

In the months leading up to the Paris Climate summit in December, mobilisations in hundreds of countries will call on leaders to commit to a strong global agreement on climate change.

“Climate change is putting at risks thousands of jobs. There will be no jobs on a dead planet,” said Ms Burrow.

In the United States, hurricane Sandy left 150,000 workers displaced and employment was overall reduced by 11,000 workers in New Jersey alone in 2012.

Typhoon Hagupit, that hit the Philippines in December 2014 affected around 800,000 workers, with their source of livelihood damaged or displaced overnight.

2015 is an opportunity for the trade union movement to work on three tracks to secure jobs and our planet:

  • A strong global agreement on climate change negotiations in Paris which paves the way for a jobs and investment boom and for preventing climate catastrophe in our communities.
  • National contributions and commitments by governments from which we can negotiate more ambition.
  • Climate action in workplaces and industries with workers and unions through dialogue, consultation and collective bargaining.

“We have a right to a seat at the table as we act to stabilise the world’s climate by moving toward a zero carbon emissions future.

“This transformation must be supported by Just Transition measures. We have played our role in UN negotiations and fought and won commitments. Now these commitments must be made real and included in the Paris agreement in December 2015.

“This means that carbon dependent communities and workers must not be forced to bear the costs of change. We will fight for adequate funding of this transition, as well as for the poorest and most vulnerable of nations to be able to cope with the impacts of climate change,” said Sharan Burrow.

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