ITUC Response to Paris Climate Summit Conclusions

The Paris deal recognizes the reality of the climate threat, but only takes us part of the way.

Source: ITUC 

Climate change is already destroying lives and livelihoods with more than 2.6 million people displaced by extreme weather events and changing seasons. This will only get worse.

The Paris decisions acknowledge the challenges and move global action forward, but while the Summit conclusions refer to the target of a 1.5-degree limit, the capacity to leverage ambition on the scale required to stabilise the planet is still a question for the future.

90% of the world’s people want action on climate. Unions, civil society, responsible business and investors stood together asking for an ambitious long term goal of limiting temperature rises to 1.5 degrees, with a strong review mechanism to make it possible. Developing economies asked for the promised finance to assist with mitigation and adaptation. All governments were asked to respect human rights and a just transition for working people and their communities.

The Paris scorecard is compromised by countries which put the protection of their immediate national interests ahead of a sustainable planet and a common future.

The ITUC laid down 3 top lines for the Summit.

1. To raise ambition and realize the job potential of climate action
While governments committed to stay well below a 2 degrees trajectory and referenced 1.5 degrees as an ideal pathway, the realization of that commitment requires greater ambition before 2020 and a review of each national target (and not just a collective assessment) before the agreement comes into force in 2020 – MISSING

2. To deliver on climate finance and support the most vulnerable
$100billion a year is on the table, with a commitment within that to balance adaptation and emission reductions but out of the Paris Agreement. This is a small price to pay for saving the human race – WEAK

3. To commit to securing a just transition for workers and their communities
We face the biggest and most rapid industrial transformation in history. While a just transition for workers and the respect of human rights have been included in the preamble too many Governments refused to commit to it in the operational sections – A FIRST STEP ON WHICH WE WILL BUILD

Sharan burrow says ’”The race to stabilise the climate has begun but tragically, too many governments still lack ambition for the survival of their people

But trade unions know that the road was never to Paris, but through Paris and our resolve to manage a just transition in the face of the largest and most rapid industrial transformation in human history is stronger than ever.”

Arising from the COP, unions will demand of their governments and employers the dialogue that will see a national plan for decarbonisation, clean energy and jobs – a plan that includes commitments to ensure a just transition for all.

Climate justice requires us to leave no-one behind in what is now a race against time.