Sunday, 21 September 2014

London's Climate weekend brings out the Greens

A lovely September afternoon brought thousands on to London streets today to put pressure on governments to take action on climate change.  The demonstration coincided with others taking place in cities throughout the world.

The Green Party was particularly prominent alongside Friend sof the Earth and other environmental actvists. The demonstration included many family groups and was marked by a relaxed, friendly and very creative atmosphere.

For why we should be concerned about Climate Change read this: LINK

On Saturday, as a member of the Green Party Trade Union Group and Chair of Brent Campaign Against Climate Change, I attended the Campaign Against Climate Change Trade Union Group conference: For A Future That Doesn't Cost the Earth: The International Fight For Climate Jobs.

With the miracle that is Skype, we heard from Fernando Losada, Director of Environmental Health and Climate Justic at National Nurses United, speaking from New York.  He talked about the work of the climate justrice movement in shifting the stance of trade unions, where the American Federation of Labour often allied themselves with oil and fracking businesses in order to protect  or create jobs large infrastructue jobs..

The movement had challenged this and their arguments for socially useful jobs had been partially successful - AFL statements in favour of big energy projects had become less bold.  One of the big battles will be over the latest phase of the Keystone Pipeline LINK

Organising this weekend's demonstration had galvanised some local unions to take a positive position that contrasted with that of their union nationally, creating dialogue about the climate change issue. Some local unions had endorsed the march forcing their national leadership to also back it.

Kjersti Barsok, Vice President, Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (Oslo) concentrated on their national campaign to reduce oil use which had in the 2013 Oil Alliance united 100 organisations in its demands.  This was very much a 'climate solution from below' campaign and included a  national petition to reduce oil production at source. The campaign had made links with popular movements and with May Day rallies but also put forward demands to protect workers during transition.

Dipti Bhatnagar, Friends of the Earth Internmational and Justica Ambiental addressed the conference from Mozambique via Skype. She said that many national governments and the UN had been 'captured' by corporates. The battle  was to reclaim them: 'they mist listen to the people and not to the polluters'.

Phil Pearson, TUC Senior Policy Officer for Climate Change and Energy,  suggested that TTIP was in conflict with the  UN Commission on Climate Change's argument for growth compatible with reducing climate change.  However the latter's  10 point plan was purely voluntary whereas as TTIP states combatting climate change should not restrict economic growth.

He argued that climate change measures need to be regulated on the basis of the rights of citizens but there are currently no legal machanisms in this regard. But there are regulations in place in the interests of trade,

The conference saw the launch of the new edition of  the pamphlet  One Million Climate Jobs.  Written by a group of trade unionists, environmental activists and experts it sets out in great detail  the nature of the problem and sector by sector the jobs that could be created, Practical, rather than  polemical, it is a useful tool for trade unionists working in their union to get the issue of climate change taken seriously.


Trevor said...

my opinion despite expressing It many Times continues to be that whenever anyone is governed by politicians that are willing to give their consent to people who wish to make a living but chose to do so in a careless selfish way that encourages the public to start a habit that damages their health
and causes many to die from painful diseases
you can be absolutely certain that the government will also give their consent to other people who likewise want to make a living but their Ideas spoil and damage the natural environment
which causes more problems in society.
after 47 years I cannot help noticing how easy humans are to manipulate and exploit.
you always get these people that find ways to entice them.
whether its through gambling or smoking or drug misuse etc.
but also the laughable hypocritical way that the country is supposedly governed is also noticeable.
in that the government tell us that we can't use heroin or cocaine or cannabis
which I don't oppose.
but they then say it's OK to smoke...but is it?
something that is one of the foremost cause of death cannot be acceptable.
For example the politicians are currently gearing up for their conferences in which we are told by the labour shadow chancellor that they won't let us down.
but the fact is they have.
they came in promising us that things could only get better!!!!
but did it?
also the democracy that they are so proud of of
was it democratic to misuse the expenses system?
was that a good example of serving the public?
did the public vote to have their tax misused?
some of the MP's that were found guilty were brought to Justice which is right
but once again that scandal exposed a serious flaw in this so called democracy in that the public are expected to obey the law otherwise we have to face the consequences.
but the people that make the laws end up breaking them.
and then they are always talking about rule of law
but the system they have created is to a great extent lawless.
it's no wonder the world is in a mess.

Trevor said...

look around Martin
particularly at young people.
what do you notice?
they tend to be very fashion conscious.
they never forget to wear their "uniforms" whether that's training shoes and black leather Jackets
skinny Jeans and Baseball caps.
to me that is another example of how the business world has a strong influence on people
particularly young people.
but is fashion the most important thing in life?
if the earth is damaged what use is fashion let alone money?
for too far too long martin the system has been focused on profit
while seemingly ignoring the importance of the planet.
now that global warming can no longer be ignored
all of a sudden it has become the new thing being pushed
but what do you know?
it doesn't seem to be as popular as fashion.
that proves beyond reasonable doubt that the world's priorities are misplaced.
and again the government(s) are responsible for this
in that they always put profit first.
and they may argue that it is essential considering the debt it is in.
but that also reveals how careless and incompetent they are.
the situation is comparable to a huge stone rolling down a hill
and with time it gets bigger and harder to stop
and anyone that happens to be in its path gets hurt.
and then the people that created the "stone" gather up and talk about how to stop the stone.
but they won't stop it not matter how hard they try.
this will teach them a very important lesson...when you are given the responsibility of governing
a nation
you don't misuse it.
its not a license to do what you think is right.
I accept that we all make mistakes but when mistakes are made by government
the public suffer and that must stop.